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This ultra rare seven seater Handley Knight was built in 1920 and first registered in 1921. The aluminium coach built tourer is powered by a 4 cylinder, 4 litre sleeve valve engine with three speed gearbox. Using the popular and well tried four cylinder Knight sleeve valve engine, James Handley, who had previously worked with companies such as Willys Overland and Marion Handley, decided to build 'America's finest Knight motored car'. The first experimental car was constructed in 1920 and October was the start of production. This unique, rare car is said to be the very last remaining and fully road legal example in the World. There is one other known Handley Knight Tourer on permanent exhibition at the Gilmore Motor Museum in Michigan, USA and an incomplete example said to be with a collector in New York.
The Handley Knight factory only manufactured cars for two years before being bought out by the Checker Car Company. It is understood this car was first owned by founder's son, James Handley Junior and used for promoting these wonderful hand built cars. In later years, the car was owned by the Harrah collection, the National Motor Museum in Nevada.
The Handley comes with the most exceptional, comprehensive history file going back over 80 years. Several files of information are with the car which include photographs of the Handley back in the 1920's, 1930's and 1940's. A photographic restoration file is also with the car detailing various stages of the rebuild. The file also contains an original sales brochure, copy workshop manual and driving manual. From the history, we know the Handley Knight was shipped from the State of New Jersey to the UK in the early 1960's and we have the original brown 'buff' logbook which confirms the car was in Southampton through the early to late 1960'. On arrival in the UK, the Handley was given the rather fitting HK 1921 registration mark which remains with the car today. We understand the Handley was taken off the road during the 1970's and sold for restoration in 1989. The car was then subject of a three year restoration which included a full body strip down and engine rebuild. Throughout the 1990's and in more recent years the Handley has been in regular use whether it be for rallies or transporting guests from the long term owners Hotel to a local Midlands train station.
The Handley comes with full weather equipment including side screens and new hood. The car has a real presence with such a large and imposing body with lovely patina and very presentable aged paintwork. The interior is fabulous with smart woodwork including dashboard and dials, excellent carpets and wonderful aged leather. The engine bay presents very well and wheels, tyres and tools are all in very good order.
On the road the Handley is outstanding with lots of power. The engine performs superbly and is very strong holding good oil pressure. Since selling to the last owner in 2010 the Handley has had some serious expenditure that includes a new hood, complete re-wire of all the electrics, all instruments and switches restored including Boyce temperature meter, new battery, new carpets, re-cored radiator, cleaned fuel tank, re-conditioned fan, wheels bearings removed, cleaned and repacked, new under seat steel box, new battery box, starter motor dismanted and serviced, new throttle and advance/retard linkage fabricated and the windscreen surround restored.
The Handley makes an ideal vintage long distance tourer and is a very rare piece of motoring history.