Star 12/25 Sports Special

So Lisle family purchased one of Benz 3.5hp dog carts. It is said a 17-year-old Joseph Lisle acquired the car in The Netherlands, driving it back to his families Wolverhampton factory. Others believe he purchased it from Benz’s London and dealership having it delivered. Either way, this was the foundation for the next chapter of The Star MC. Once in the factory, they stripped the Benz and blueprinted it. Production of the Star-Benz started the following year, following developing and tooling up the factory, along with purchasing licensing rights from Benz.

In 1902 the company was re-named Star Engineering Company. This new business expanded rapidly, seeing them provide many parts relating to the motoring industry, to other manufacturers as well as building their own cars. By 1921 Star Engineering Company was producing around 1000 cars a year, across six models and three body styles. Star Engineering, had built themselves a reputation for beautifully engineered, reliable motorcars with high quality finished. Unfortunately, this reputation came at a price and thus was extremely expensive compared to their competition, as a result in 1927 only 105 cars left the works.

The car we offer today is numbered 9514, produced 1924, possibly one of the only Star specials in the UK, being the brainchild of John Warburton, a founder member of the Star register. His admiration for the marque needs no further description.

The basis for his special was the 12/25 model running gear with shortened chassis, clothed with an attractive two-door sports tourer coachwork constructed in timber skinned in aluminium. The original 1945cc capacity side-valve engine bored out to 2175cc, giving providing a good turn of speed even through a single side draft Zenith carburettor, the transmission is a four-speed gearbox. This simple, robust engine has served John well since he finished the car some 15 years ago, and I’m sure would have continued to do so for many more years.

His untimely passing opens up a new chapter for John Warburton 12/25 Star Special.

The next custodian will have the pleasure of enjoying the car's exquisite engine-turned dashboard, featuring delightful silver faced, period instruments that sit like jewels upon it. The deep buttoned seats, correct pattern to the period and very comfortable, feature seat sliders, which help to acquire your perfect driving position. Once on the open road, there is a go-anywhere feel, as John and companions often did, we expect the next custodian to also do so. Once warmed, performance is better than most early vintage motor cars and a joy to drive, the gear lever and associated floor change, are again marvellous bits of engineering and a delight to use and look at.

Following the well-published passing of John at the start of 2020 we are honoured that the family has chosen to place his entire collection with Tom Hardman Limited, Company founder Thomas (as I was known to John), had the pleasure of been penned by John twice, firstly in the VSCC bulletin about the birth of the Austin 7 B&Q special in 2001, and again in the Automobile Magazine in the Marketplace feature a few years after forming Tom Hardman Limited.     

Viewing is by appointment only at our Foxfileds showroom a place John personally enjoyed visiting, with its mature tree-lined private estate roads along with open views across the rolling hills of the Ribble Valley famed for the setting of JRR Tolkien's trilogy written in 1937 whitest guests at Stonyhurst College.

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