London to Brighton in a Napier

I just received an email from a friend (regarding my post about A.W. Erickson and his Napiers). He attached the photo shown here of him riding in the 1903 100hp Napier - The Napier Company's entry in the 1904 Gordon Bennett Race - seen driving the car in this year's London to Brighton event is Mr. Louwman (this car resides in the Louwman Museum in the Netherlands). He stated that it's the most impressive pre-1920 machine he's ever been in. That's quite a statement from a person who's driven some fantastic early cars, including marques such as Stutz, Mercer, Packard, and Pierce-Arrow.

1903 Napier Gordon Bennett Racer at the 2012 London to Brighton
1903 Napier Gordon Bennett Racer when owned by George Waterman
At the Elimination Trials held on the Isle of Man to select the British team for the 1904 Gordon Bennett Cup race, this car was crashed (breaking the front axle). Sometime after, the car is thought to have been imported into the United Stated by H. M. Bater, a mechanic who was in the employ of The Napier Motor Company of America of Jamaica Plain, MA (a suburb of Boston). Established by Napier in 1904, components were built in England and shipped to the United States to be assembled under license. H.M. Bater apparently sold the car to A.W. Erickson (most likely prior to 1912). George Waterman, the noted early collector, would find this racer (and a 1906 Touring car) in the Erickson family carriage house in 1950 - he purchasing both cars.

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