1933 Squire Roadster
Chassis Number : X101 Horsepower : 130 Displacement : 4-cylinder, 1.49 L Wheelbase : 102"
As very young man, Adrian Squire dreamed of making the perfect sports car. Having inherited 30,000 ? (about $150,000.00) in 1932 he used his engineering experience at the MG car firm to establish a small manufacturing company in a garage near Remenham Hill, Henley on Thames in England. After less than five years, his company went out of business, but during that time he made seven remarkable cars, three with a two passenger sports body designed by van den Plas to his specifications.
Powered by a British Anzani four cylinder, double overhead cam supercharged engine (the supercharger was allegedly built by David Brown and sons), the resultant near 1,500 cc’s produced 130 horsepower at 5,000 RPM with two large SU carburetors delivering fuel through a beautifully finned aluminum inlet pipe with spring loaded pop-offs valves. Fuel economy was reported as high as 24 miles per gallon.
A four speed Wilson – ENV preselector gearbox made driving a pleasure though a bit of on-the-road training was required. Another interesting feature was the automatic central lubrication of the chassis from a reservoir on the firewall. A dynamotor, run directly from the crankshaft, which, after the engine starts, swaps polarity and becomes a generator. Gigantic light alloy brake drums with chrome steel liners were strong enough to break the chassis on a panic stop.
The car was a masterpiece of beautiful design complimented by technical advances which made it unparalleled in its day. In a road test, Phil Hill favorably compares this car to a 2.3 Alfa and Type 55 Bugatti.
Finding no market, he left the company in 1936 and went to work with his hero, WO Bentley, at the Bristol Aeroplane Company where he was killed during a German air raid. The remains of the Squire Company were taken over by Val Zethrin. He attempted to change the design and to find funding to start up production again, but this failed and the whole thing kind of dribbled away after many years.
There are two Van Den Plas body short chassis versions of the Squire left, ours, the prototype, and another which was discovered without much of an engine in Texas and purchased at auction. A masterful restoration and recreation of an engine resulted in a resurrection of an equally beautiful example.
Enter Charles Davison a sports car enthusiast from Birmingham, Michigan. He answered a 1951 advertisement in The Motor magazine and finally was able to purchase this car from England. After a memorable drive from the dock in New York to his home in Michigan, he began a four year restoration. It was during this time that the car had its most enthusiastic ownership. Davison’s family still comes to visit the car accompanied by a pictures which reveal how important she car was as not only as a beautiful sports car but as source of family enjoyment.
Subsequently, the car was sold to Charles H. McManus and then to Edward Sandgren whose passion for the car evolved from its image in the September 1955 Road and Track Salon. Restorer Charles Stitch refreshed the engine and it was driven for some time before it was purchased by the Harrah Automobile Collection and subsequently put in storage. Harrah did little with the car, apparently having it on schedule for his restoration team to put it right. After Harrah’s death the car somehow found its way into venture capital financier Tom Perkins’ collection who had Phil Reilly do his usual magnificent restoration.
The car was found to be in basically good condition, but required re-commissioning in order to make it ideal for the road and for the standards Perkins required. The original color, a robin’s egg blue, was put back. All of our data indicates that this was, in fact, the first paint hue. A magnificent example, when completed the over shiny restoration did not overshadow the beautiful lines and it was shown successfully at Pebble Beach and other places in Perkins’ hands.
I always lusted for this car and when I learned that Tom Perkins was divesting his collection, he and I conversed a bit and the car was mine. During this conversation I asked him why he was selling his collection and he indicated that he always wanted to live on a boat. “If you want Greek food why not dine in Greece.” He did, in fact, build the largest sailing boat of its kind ever, complete with every possible amenity including a computer room, swimming pool, massive sails which fold into their masts, a panopoly of original and unusual designs. If you want to read about this boat, the Maltese Falcon, the book Mine’s Bigger by Richard Kaplan is certainly enjoyable.