Possibly the world's largest collection of Humber automobiles is going to auction in the U.K. in October, 16 models of the now-defunct brand including a few famously owned by royalty. Wait, what's Humber, you ask? Only the first company to build cars in the U.K., way back in 1896 near Coventry, which lasted up until 1967 when it was bought out by Chrysler. Along the way, Humber was famous for the quality, comfort and performance of its cars, and they were favorites of the rich and famous. This group is currently owned by Allen Marshall, a retired potato merchant (who knew that could be so lucrative?) who is selling all 16 as one lot. "I don't really want to let them go, they're so special to me," says Marshall. "It's taken me decades to build up the best collection of Humber vehicles in the world. They're unmatched anywhere. "But I'm in my 60s now and I won't be here forever." One of the cars, a 1952 Super-Snipe MKIII, still has fingernail scratches on the door pulls from its previous owner, the Queen Mother. There's a 1932 Snipe 80 used by Edward VIII and Wallace Simpson to prowl the streets of London, while a 1967 Imperial was used in the film The Big Sleep with Robert Mitchum. The Super Snipe might be the best remembered of Humber, and of which there are several examples heading to auction. Lasting from 1938 to 1967 with nine different generations, it was famous for its performance and reliability: even General Bernard Montgomery had two specially equipped Super Snipes in his fight against Rommel in the Second World War! The Pulman, also part of the auction, was the limousine, and carried royalty and prime ministers alike. Winston Churchill personally owned five of them, and King George VI was so impressed with his 1935 Pulman that he ordered 47 to be sent to British embassies around the world. The Imperial was a slightly downscale version of the Pulman, though still a big, luxurious sedan. The Hawk was also popular, a large sedan built from 1945 to 1967. Hansons Auctioneers is hosting the sale. It was originally planned to end April 17 but has been extended to April 24, and as of today bidding for the entire lot stands at £180,000. *Images courtesy of Hansons Auctioneers
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