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The Gordon Briggs Collection of Vintage Cars and Motorcycles

18th May 2021.

An extraordinary private collection of vintage cars and motorcycles belonging to the late Gordon Briggs of Lancashire will be sold at Tennants Auctioneers as part of their Motor Cars, Motorcycles and Automobilia Sale on 5th June. The collection includes such gems as a SS Jaguar 100 Recreation (estimate: £120,000-150,000 plus buyer’s premium), a 1971 Jaguar E-Type (£120,000-150,000), a gold-plated Triumph t-100 (£10,000-15,000), and a 1963 Ford Cortina Super (£12,000-15,000).

Gordon Briggs (1929-2020) was a property investor, mill owner, classic car enthusiast and restorer, pilot and family man.  Briggs was born Haslingden, a small mill town in the borough of Rossendale, Lancashire. From humble beginnings, Briggs built a highly successful career sparked by a boyhood ambition to become a mill owner like those he saw driving around his hometown in smart cars.

As a young man Briggs turned his hand to a variety of jobs in mills and as a mechanic, and he served his two-year conscription in Aden before opening his first business – a car dismantlers - in 1951 with his wife Geraldine. Through hard work and with a keen eye for an investment, Briggs grew his business holdings in Rossendale and the surrounding regions, acquiring land, properties, mills and a variety of businesses from nightclubs and mechanics to an antiques shop.

Briggs' love of classic cars echoed throughout his life, and he owned an extraordinary array of vehicles from Bugattis and Bentleys to a 1950s Chrysler which had been used in numerous MGM films with the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Rock Hudson. However, he also had a passion for aviation; he owned several planes and held a pilot’s licence for most of his adult life. Indeed, he even bid on a Lancaster bomber when it came up for auction. Briggs’ legacy lives on in Grane Mill, Haslingden, which he restored. Gordon donated the chimney, engine house and part of the yard to English Heritage so that the future generations may enjoy his final gift to the town of his origin.

The top lot of the collection is an SS Jaguar 100 Recreation (estimate: £120,000-150,000), manufactured by SS Cars who went on to change their name to Jaguar in 1945. The name ‘Jaguar’ was first given to a new model of car made by SS in 1935 and was subsequently given to all new SS models. The SS Jaguar 100 was made between 1936 and 1939 and had a theoretical top speed of 100 mph, hence the name. Very rare and regarded as one of the most aesthetically pleasing cars of the era, examples are highly sought after at auction.

The Briggs collection comprises 15 cars, including a three-wheeled 1937 Morgan (£30,000-40,000), a 1920s Morris Cowley Tourer (£7,000-10,000), and a 1953 MG TD (£15,000-18,000), a group of twenty motorcycles such as a 1949 gold-plated Triumph t100 (£10,000-15,000) and various model of Norton and New Hudson bikes, and a selection of automobilia.

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