The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ new headquarters in Great Peter Street, London is hosting a display to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Robert Bosch, which began life as the ‘Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering’. The choices of both the vehicles on display and the venue have particular significance for Bosch.
The cars, an 1899 Daimler and a 2011 Jaguar XJ 3.0-litre diesel, represent the earliest and latest models to feature Bosch components and technologies. The SMMT venue is also significant in that Robert Bosch and Frederick Simms – the first president of the Society – formed an association to produce automotive magnetos, the first of which was fitted to the Daimler.
The 1899 Daimler Phaeton 12hp, fitted with a Bosch magneto, was built under license by Frederick Simms – one of motoring’s founding fathers – in Coventry. The Daimler is an exhibit from the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu and was considered, on its day, to be very advanced technically with candle-powered headlamps, pneumatic tyres on the front wheels and solid rubber tyres on the rear.
The car on display was purchased by Lord Montagu’s father, and the then Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII, had one of his first rides in this car. It was also the first all-British entry in the classic Paris to Ostend road race in which it finished a commendable 3rd in the Tourist Class. The car has a maximum speed of 30 mph and cost £775 to buy at the time.
The second car on display at the SMMT is the latest Jaguar XJ 3.0-litre diesel long wheelbase saloon, which is very much at the leading-edge of automotive technology. The Jaguar, manufactured in Birmingham, features a number of Bosch components and technologies, including the diesel engine management system, electronic stability program (ESP®), elements of the infotainment systems and a range of other sensors.