- A unique collection of veteran motor vehicles
1905 Star 70/90 hp Gordon Bennett
10108 cc

 Gordon Bennett English eliminating trial, May 30, 1905 - F. Goodwin's Star (2) and Earp's Napier (7) on the Startline at Ramsay, Isle of Man

Star at speed 1905

Star Motor Company

Like many motorcar makers the origins of the Star Motor Company of Wolverhampton lay in the cycle industry. The driving force behind the Company was Edward Lisle who was managing director of Star from the time it sold its first motorcars in 1899 until he retired in 1920.

The original Star car was a direct copy of a Benz Velo and the press often referred to it as a Star-Benz, but the firm's advertising stated that the cars were "entirely of British manufacture". Similarly, Star motor tricycles were "built on the De Dion principle". By October 1899 car production was reported as running at one car per week. A 10 hp model with a vertical front engine and shaft drive was introduced in 1901 and the following year larger two and four-cylinder cars with side-chain drive were marketed. Whilst the engineering quality of Stars brought praise; that their design was based on the idea of others, Panhard-Levassor in particular, did not go unmentioned. As the Mercedes concept gained in ascendancy this was reflected in the design of Star cars. This derivative approach was by no means peculiar to Star, it was what most car makers did, but Star never seem to have created a single innovation. By a somewhat ironic twist Star had registered its star trademark and successfully prevented Mercedes from using any form of star on the radiators of its own products sold in Britain.

Bt 1914 Star was in the top six of British car makers, turning out about 1000 cars per annum. Directly related companies added to this total. During the pre-Great War period a range of cheaper Stars were sold under the names Little Star, Starling and Stuart, whilst in 1909 the original Star Cycle Co, that had remained in business, was reformed as the Briton Motor Co to make the two-cylinder Starling and a four-cylinder model, both of these being sold using the Briton name.

Wartime production was concentrated on lorries but the armistice brought little comfort to Star. It did not have the inclination to go into mass-production, even if its premises that were scattered throughout Wolverhampton had not made this a near impossibility. So Star continued to make cars of almost bespoke quality for the middle classes who turned increasingly to buying similar but cheaper products from the likes of Messrs Austin and Morris. Star car production ended in 1932.

De Dion Bouton
Georges Richard
Benz | Darracq | De Dion Bouton | Delahaye | Georges Richard | Gladiator | Mercedes | MMC | Mors
Motobloc | Napier | Panhard-Levassor | Peugeot | Renault | Star

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