|Marca||EXCELSIOR||Tipo di auto||Cabrio/Roadster||Guida||Destra|
|Tipo di auto||Cabrio/Roadster||Trazione||Posteriore|
|Tipo di auto||Cabrio/Roadster|
Delivered new to his Excellency the ambassador of Romania of Great Britain 1927 Automobiles Excelsior Albert 1er Chassis Court Cabriolet.
Chassis no. 2.433 Engine no. 2.163
Built for only a few years during the late 1920s/early 1930s, the Excelsior Albert I was a high quality Belgian Made car ranking alongside those of Rolls-Royce and Hispano Suiza. The Excelsior company had been founded in 1903 in Brussels by a young engineer, Arthur de Coninck, as an agency for the French-made Aster engines, which Coninck also used to complete a handful of rather primitive automobiles. Coninck then built models using larger Aster engines before undertaking the manufacture of his own power units and transmissions from 1907. Purchase of the defunct Belgica company’s factory at Zaventem near Brussels enabled Excelsior to expand, and in 1910 the firm introduced its first six-cylinder model, an advanced design that caused a sensation.
Excelsior’s six-cylinder cars were considered among the best of that era, which was confirmed by their successes in competition. One of Excelsior’s racing sixes, a monster of 9.1 liters, finished 6th in the 1912 French Grand Prix while another set a 50-mile World Speed Record at Brooklands. In 1914 an Excelsior led the Indianapolis 500 with two laps to go, finally finishing in 5th place. By now Excelsior was established as a quality manufacturer in both domestic and export markets, though production remained on a relatively small scale, with only some 250 cars leaving the factory in 1913.
Despite having its factory stripped by the occupying German forces in WWI, Excelsior was able to offer a new car in 1919, the Adex, a six-cylinder model featuring four-wheel brakes and, for 1923, an overhead-camshaft engine of 5.3 liters. Not more than 100 of these expensive and exclusive cars were made annually, and the sports version competed successfully in the long-distance events of the day, including Le Mans. The Belgian royal family had been Excelsior customers for many years and in 1926 the firm introduced an improved version of the Adex, the ‘Albert I’, named after the Belgian king. In 1926 an Albert I won the Grand Prix de Lille and the Klausenrennen hill climb (5-8 litres category) while in 1927 a pair finished 1st and 2nd at the Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours. Reporting on an Albert I in its September 1927 edition, Motor Sport magazine found it undoubtedly of high class and unostentatious, ‘yet capable of a performance equal to anything except a racing car. In 1929 the company was taken over by Matthieu Van Roggen’s Imperia together with Métallurgique and Nagant. Cars continued to be made in small numbers under the Imperia-Excelsior name for the next few years before the once-great Excelsior marque was dropped.
This Albert I on the short-wheelbase chassis was ordered new by the Romanian ambassador to Great Britain on the advice of the Queen of Romania, herself an Excelsior owner. The car was imported into the UK by Hayward Automobile Ltd of King Street, London SW1 and carries sporting two-seat cabriolet coachwork by Snutsel & Fils, rue Stevin 59, Brussels. The body is of aluminum construction with exception of the wings. In the event, the ambassador was unable to take delivery and the Excelsior ended up being exported to South Africa where it belonged to three prominent collectors: Mr E. Penny of Johannesburg, founder-member of the Sports Car Club of South Africa; Mr A. Taylor of Rivonia; and Mr Julian Simpson of Johannesburg. In 2004 the Excelsior was shipped back to Belgium and restored over the course of the succeeding eight years and was completed in 2013.
After restoration the car won several prices. It was 1st In class winner at the Zoute Grand Prix Concours d’Élégance in 2014, Antwerp Concours D’Elegance Best of Show 2015, Brussels Interclassics Awards Best of Show 2016, Retro Classic Germany Sonderpreis 2016, Antwerp Classic Salon Best of Show 2015, Autoweek Classic I C Maastricht Best Pre-War until 1945 1ste prize 2016, and is eligible for a variety of the most prestigious historic events such as the Le Mans Classic, Spa Classic, Klausenrennen, Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance, etc. Presented in beautiful condition, this rare and elegant Belgian thoroughbred is offered with Belgian registration papers, technical inspection and various documents relating to the Excelsior company’s history. Value and Survey report and photographs of the restoration available.