Lanchester motor car 'No 2', 1897.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This highly influential two-seater motor car was built by English automobile pioneer Frederick William Lanchester (1868-1946) in 1897. It is the oldest Lanchester car in existence, was the first 'silent' car, and was probably the first to have a magneto ignition. The engine has two horizontally opposed cylinders that develop eight horse power (hp) when running at 700 revolutions per minute (rpm). The frame of the car is tubular, pivoted about the rear axle and connected with the front axle by cantilever springs.