Intriguing collection of mainly Italian cars and bikes up for auction

Andrew Bremner Collection - for sale at auction by Brightwells on 26/09/18
Part of the Andrew Bremner Collection of more than 50 cars and motorcycles

Curiosity, coupled with enthusiasm and wine, is chiefly to blame for the Andrew Bremner Collection of predominantly obscure cars and motorcycles, which is coming up for auction.

Eclectic doesn’t really begin to describe the collection of more than 50 cars and motorbikes, following no exact set pattern – encompassing everything from Maserati motorbikes, Lamborghini tractors, Welsh motorbikes and Citroen 2CVs to Russian military invalid cars.

They are being sold by Brightwells at its Classic and Vintage auction in Leominster on September 26. Many of the motorcycles are being offered without reserve.

Andrew (Drew to family and friends) Bremner was brought up surrounded by cars and bikes. He and his brothers Geoff and Ed continually bought tinkered and fettled with machinery, in order to visit girlfriends, or go to the pub.

His son, Myles, explained: “But it was at the age of 21 that my father’s Italian love affair really began, by borrowing money, from his boss, to buy himself a birthday present of an Alfa Giulietta Sprint – a most pretty car which remained in our family for the next 50 years.” 

This 160cc Maserati T4 was produced in 1954. It is estimated to sell for £9,000 to £11,000

Enthused by the reintroduction of the Italian Motogiro event in 2001 (the motorbike version of the Mille Miglia for pre-1960 machines of less than 175cc in capacity), Bremner focused on small producers turning out the type of small-capacity bikes with which Italian industry struggled to restablish itself after the war.

This period marked the birth of now-giant Ducati, as well as famous names such as MV Agusta, Moto Guzzi and Benelli, as well as many other now long-gone marques such as Bianchi, Moto Morini and Gerosa.

There is even a Maserati in the collection. Bremner painstakingly restored all of them by himself.

Bremner's Moto Morini 175 Turismo, also from 1954, is estimated at £2,500-£3,500

A 150cc Gilera for restoration came first, then a Bianchi Tonale on which Bremner competed in his first Motogiro - the first of nine, as it turned out.

After going to Italy for the Motogiro (or perhaps Spain for the annual Colombres rally) with a race bike or two in his van, he always seem to return with a two-wheeled curio hauled from a hedge or yanked from the back of a dusty workshop.

The collection grew with bigger Italian bikes such as the six-cylinder Benelli 900 Sei from the Eighties. In tandem with the Italian exotica came a 1954 HJH motorbike and Bown Springer moped, both from Wales. These were joined by two Monet-Goyons from France and a 1950 New Hudson autocycle, produced after the company had been bought by BSA.

The ever colourful Andrew Bremner takes a pillion ride on his 1953 125cc Gerosa Sport at a Salon Privé event

Myles Bremner said: “My father enjoyed the restoration as much as the finished article. Restoring meant investigating, locating, sourcing, acquiring and fitting. Long conversations with experts from around the world – a specialist here, an enthusiast there.”

When searching for cars, bikes and spare parts, glass of wine in hand, location was never a concern to Andrew Bremner. His 1925 Dodge Brothers Model 4 Roadster was bought not from Bishops Auckland as he had first thought but from Auckland in New Zealand.

As health and age challenged his motorcycling activities, Andrew increasingly turned to obscure cars, and participation in classic events and rallies. A 1967 NSU Sport Prinz used for the Liège-Brescia-Liège microcar rally; the Dodge and the 1925 Model T Racer, both regulars at Kop Hill and other quintessentially English hillclimbs.

The collection grew ever more eclectic. A Maserati Spyder with a twin-turbo V6 looks positively prosaic next to Bremner's bright yellow 2CV and an ex-French police Renault 4 still with the blue light on the roof.

Then came the rarest of all, a Zaz SMZ Invalidka, an invlaid carriage given to disabled Russian ex-servicemen for a five-year loan, to be returned to the state for crushing. Andrew managed to smuggle one out of Lithuania (naturally picking up two further examples on the way).

Jim Henshaw, Brightwells' classic car consultant, said: “This is likely to be the sale of the year for lovers of Italian machinery and anything a little quirky. There really is something to interest all, from beautifully restored pieces, the work on which is some of the finest I have ever seen, to restoration projects in their raw state.”  

Full details of all the lots, including the Andrew Bremner Collection, at the Brightwells website.

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