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The Sharpe Family Collection, Christies (1 July 2005)

Red with white roof

Engine: two cylinders, two stoke, 328cc, 18bhp at 5,000rpm; Gearbox: three speed manual; Suspension: front, independent coil springs, rear, coil springs; Brakes: drums all round. Right hand drive.

The Unicar was the progeny of collaboration between tractor-manufacturer Opperman and Lawrie Bond, of Bond minicar fame. The Borehamwood based engineering firm had commissioned Bond's help after witnessing the success of his own foray into the microcar world, and the result was the Unicar with its promise of "big car comfort with small car economy". Introduced in 1956, it used a traditionally-styled steel-reinforced glassfibre body, and was powered by a 328cc Excelsior engine mounted between the tiny rear seats. The rear axle configuration followed the Isetta's lead, with a track narrow enough not to need a differential. The engine was placed in front of this in a somewhat sporty configuration, but, being air cooled, it was not ideally placed for cooling purposes. The package acquired a rare appeal from 1958 onwards when it became available in kit form, neatly ducking the 33 purchase tax. Approximately two hundred Unicars were sold before the model fell foul of BMC's coup de grace, the Mini.

The Unicar here has been a popular feature of the museum for many years. Its fibreglass body is free from cracks and its paintwork is in good condition, however the interior shows more evidence of the car's usage. Having stood for many years, this example is in need of recommissioning, and a replacement V5 would need to be ordered. Despite this, it represents a rare opportunity to any collector or enthusiast to acquire one of the better-looking and more capable products of Britain's microcar era. It is sold without documentation.

Lot Details
Auction The Sharpe Family Collection
Christies, Essex
Lot Number701
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£2585
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration numberTBA
Chassis numberTBA
Engine numberTBA
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors