1899 Mors Petit Duc

The Collection’s exhibit

The Shuttleworth Mors, with the distinctive F7 number plate, was the first privately taxed car in Essex, registered in January 1904 (when it became law to register motor vehicles) to the Rev. RVO Graves the vicar of Tolleshunt d’Arcy, the previous six numbers in the sequence having been allotted to Essex County Council.

The car was purchased in Paris in September 1899 for the equivalent of £262.10s and imported to England the following month by Frank Wellington, a well-known motor engineer, salesman and racing driver of the time. The Rev. Graves, who was vicar at Tolleshunt d’Arcy for 55 years and died in 1942, age 84, sold the car in 1928 to a Mr Drake of nearby Maldon.


It is said that Mr Drake bought the Mors for its engine, which he needed to power his saw bench. Whether this ever happened we don’t know, but we do know that Richard Shuttleworth purchased the car in 1930. Old information also says the car ran on the 1900 London to Brighton Run, but there was no Run in that year and checks have been unable to substantiate it taking part in any of the many similar car events of that period.

This is an original, and now extremely rare, model with folding ‘dickey’ seat at the rear and handlebar steering, and was the first front-engine car from one-time electrical engineer Emile Mors. The ‘Petit Duc’ has three forward and three reverse gears, with a cone clutch and chain drive to the rear wheels.


Manufacturer: Société d’Electricité et d’Automobiles Mors, Paris
Model: Two seat tourer with rear ‘dickey’ seat
Engine: 850cc, two-cylinder, 4hp with air-cooled barrels and water-cooled heads
Top Speed: 20 mph

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