Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Percy Markham's Antique Auto Museum

I thought I'd finish what has been an exciting and interesting year with a post about my great-uncle Percy Markham.  Percy started collecting vintage cars in the early 1950s, initially just as an exercise to give his sons some mechanical experience. However, in those days vintage cars could be picked up for next to nothing and collection quickly grew. In the late 1960s Percy established the Antique Auto Museum in Wembley. It was a small private museum which was open to the public and includes two full-time mechanics who worked on the restorations. After a time Percy found the cost of maintaining the museum uneconomical and in the late 1970s he donated the collection to the WA Museum on the understanding that the cars would be displayed for the people of Western Australia. In the 1980s however, a particularly dishonest administration sold off a large portion of the collection, despite protests. Several of the individuals involved in that administration ended up in prison on corruption charges later.

I had heard about the museum but never saw it. I only ever saw the cars when they were in the Perth Museum. However, a witness to those times, Andrew Brownell, sent me these photos from the late 1960s.  He writes:
Hi Paul,
Back in the sixties I was a student of Architecture living with my parents in Mount Pleasant on the banks of the Canning River opposite Aquinas College. Needless to say as a student I had little money but somehow I met Percival Wynyard Markham and his wife who lived in Floreat Park. I do not remember how we met but chance had it and in discussion with 'Mr Markham' he offered me a Saturday job to keep his car collection clean and to drive occasionally for weddings. The attached shows most of the cars as they were in the Museum. As a result of meeting Percy in 1965 I joined the then very new Rolls-Royce Owners' Club, West Australian Branch and became the editor of the Newsletter and later editor of the National Magazine 'Praeclarum' and then many other positions in the Club at both State and Federal levels including that of Federal President.
I am not sure how you 'fit' into the Markham clan but I would be most pleased to hear. I have always enjoyed the Club and, of course the cars. I have had the pleasure of owning a total of 5 MkVI Bentleys, a 1921 Silver Ghost Tourer and a couple of 20/25's but also had the fortune to ride in and drive many more.
I hope that you find these of interest and would be pleased to assist you with identification of others if you need.
Sadly, Percy's son and fellow car enthusiast, John Markham, passed away a month before I received the email so I didn't get to see them. I'm sure he would have appreciated them. Nevertheless, I present here Andrew's photos to commemorate this lost era.

The 1913 Nazzaro

Detroit Electric

1908 Renault

Andrew and the Morris Cowley, Percy's first vintage car.

Stanley Steamer

Light the boiler!

The 1898 Star

Sizaire-Naudin (right)

1908 Star

The Rollers

1908 Minerva

One of the cars awaiting restoration at the rear of the museum

Rolls-Royce Club of WA day

Video presentation by Beata Dawson:

More links:
1. The Percy Markham Collection based on John Markham's records and the WA Museum postcards.
2. The Percy Markham Collection auction catalogue.
3. The surviving Percy Markham Collection at the WA Motor Museum.
4. John Markham's Nazzaro, which was part of the collection.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Celebration of the Motorcar 2014

Perth's prestige and exotic car event, Celebration of the Motorcar, was held on Sunday 16th of November 2014 in the beautiful grounds of the Cottesloe Civic Centre. The weather couldn't have been more perfect - 29c, clear blue skies and a gentle, cooling breeze blowing in from the Indian Ocean. Perfect car show weather!

I volunteered again as a marshal and helped out with the Rolls-Royce exhibit. I was able to get some good photos and speak with the owners before the crowds arrived.

Rolls-Royce Phantom

1935 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith 'Cleopatra.'  This was one of Percy Markham's cars.

1933 MG K3 factory racer. Peter Briggs was also selling a book about MG and the car's racing history. 

1935 Riley Sprite TT. This car finished fourth in the 1935 Le Mans 24 hour race.

THE original Le Mans 1924 Bentley

A replica of the original Jaguar SS prototype. It was built using many original parts to the original plans.

Jaguar XK140

The Mercedes section

Mercedes-Benz 280SL

1956 Mercedes-Benz 190SL - I think this was probably the nicest car in the show

1967 Maserati Quattroporte. A display celebrated the centenary of Maserati.

Lotus Elite


Aston-Martin DB6

Aston-Martin DB4

Two Porsche 356s

Porsche row

1963 Chrysler Imperial Crown Convertible, once owned by the Emir of Kuwait

1939 Cadillac V16 2-Passenger Coupe - one of only six manufactured

Shelly and Robert Wagner's 1958 Corvette

The orange car is number 50 of only 50 McLaren MP-12C's

The only McLaren 650S Spider in Australia

The Ferrari collection

The only Bristol 603 in Australia

One of only 15 Giocattolo supercars. These were Australian made customised Alfa-Romeo's with a mid-mounted Holden V8 engine. There were two on display.

Audi Quattro. Audi took a modified DKW Munga four-wheel drive chassis and installed a new, supercharged engine and bodywork and dominated the rally scene for years.

1972 SAAB 96. This is a four stroke V4 engined example.

My Tatra was in good company.

A happy Tatra owner.

Display at the entrance.

For more details and post show report:-