Curbside Outtake: 1926 Humber 14/40 Saloon – Waiting For A Sunny Day

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Smartphones with cameras are a brilliant invention, and done properly with a good user interface are quite absorbing, as many people have undoubtedly noticed. They are also a persistent cause of frustration. 

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In anything less than ideal conditions, especially lighting, the results can be disappointing. Hence, these photos of a 1926 Humber 14/40 saloon are fewer in number than I’d hoped. They were taken in Bury St Edmunds in eastern England late on Sunday afternoon, as the light was beginning to fade, but unlike a London bus, you have to catch a CC like this when you can, not when you necessarily want to.

Seeing any Humber on the road is now an event, and as this is a pre-Rootes Humber, and the only pre-Rootes Humber I can remember seeing on the road, diverting for photography was a no-brainer. Indeed, official numbers suggest there may be as few as 150 pre-Rootes Humbers remaining in the UK.

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Humber had started as a bicycle manufacturer in Nottingham, the second city behind Coventry for cycle manufacturing in Britain. Car production started in with three wheeler based on a French Bollee in 1896, and a true Humber four wheel car in 1899. By the 1920s, Humber was established as a builder of more expensive and lower volume cars than Morris or Austin, or its next door neighbour Hillman, and by 1929 was facing a bleak future. That’s when the Rootes brothers got involved, ultimately linking Humber with the higher volume Hillman range.

The 14/40 was one of the last pre-Rootes Humbers, build from 1926 to 1929, and its production finished ahead of the Rootes takeover and merger with Hillman. Size wise, this car sat a 116inch wheelbase with an overall length of around 165 inches. Power came from a 2050cc 4 cylinder engine with around 40 bhp. It weighed in at 3025lb and would achieve around 60 mph. That striking split and angled front screen is an unusual, or at least to me unfamiliar, format, other than VW Type 2.

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So, as my photos didn’t all work, here’s another from a sunny day. England has those as well.