IT was February 1912 that Vauxhall managing director Percy Kidner entered the company’s Prince Henry vehicle in a 600-mile winter trial through rural Sweden in sub-zero temperatures.
Now a Selkirk enthusiast of the famous UK motoring company is set to drive a recreated model which has taken him 22 years to put together and follow the route taken by Kidner 100 years ago.
Alisdaire Lockhart said: “It will be a very special occasion.”
The Ettrick Terrace resident moved from Bedfordshire to Selkirk five years ago with wife Trish, whose uncle, Rowland Elliot, was a doctor in the town.
But he has had a lifelong interest in cars, in particular Vauxhalls, and also owns two other vintage vehicles made by the firm, the 1914 model picking up the quickest Edwardian car in an event at Silverstone race track in February.
But back in 1988 Alisdaire began piecing together his Prince Henry 1912 recreation, and after various parts being transported from Australia, the final product was eventually completed in 2010 .
Explaining the Prince Henry model’s history, Alisdaire added: “In 1910, Vauxhall made specialised models to compete in the Prince Henrich of Germany trial of that year.
“Three cars were sent across and took part in a series of tests.
“Following modifications on their return to the UK, it became the first 21-horsepower car to exceed 100 miles per hour.
“In 2010 there was a centenary of the Prince Henry Vauxhall and 11 out of 12 of the cars still in the UK were there.
“Because this year is a rather important centenary of Vauxhall entering the Swedish Winter Trial in 1912, I decided to take my car across.
“We are being hosted by the RAC of Sweden, who will host a reception for us and have allowed us to get the car photographed beside the original trophies from the 1912 trial.”
Alisdaire will accompany the Prince Henry, which he keeps in England, from Harwich to Sweden.
But he does not expect conditions to be as tough as 100 years ago.
Alisdaire told us: “It should take us five days. The car can still do around 50 or 60 miles per hour, but we won’t be pushing it too hard.
“They went from Stockholm to Gothenburg and back again, whereas we are going the opposite direction.
“They started off in the morning and drove until 5am the following day. They had to have a 12-hour break back then, so started again and drove through the night, often through woods in temperatures as low as minus 27.”