Selwyn Edge

Selwyn Edge

29/3/1868 - 12/2/1940

Selwyn Francis Edge was an Australian businessman and racing car driver who was born in Sydney in 1868. He died in England in 1940. In his teens he left Australia and moved to London where he grew famous as a bicycle racer. He worked as manager of the Dunlop offices in London and in 1896 bought his first car, a De Dion-Bouton. In 1899 he went into partnership with pioneering motorist Charles Jarrott and Herbert Duncan to found De Dion-Bouton British and Colonial Ltd as importers of cars. He had become friends with Montague Napier, both were keen cyclists, and in 1898 asked Napier to carry out some improvements to his Panhard et Levassor car. In 1899 along with Harvey du Cros he formed the Motor Vehicle Company Ltd to sell cars made by Napier & Son of Lambeth, London with bodies by Mulliners of Northampton running one in the 1900 1000 mile trial, a reliability test around England and Scotland. He started to use Napiers as his racing cars and in 1901 entered the Gordon Bennett Cup but was disqualified for using foreign made tyres. He tried again in 1902 with his cousin Cecil as riding mechanic and won but was disqualified again in the 1903 race for receiving assisatnce when onlookers helped to throw buckets of water over the wheels to cool the tyres. In 1907 before the first race was even run, Brooklands was the venue for a dramatic speed record attempt. A few days after the ceremonial opening of the Motor Course in June 1907 Edge used the Track for establishing a 24 hour record. With hundreds of roadside lanterns to mark the inner edge of the Track and bright flares to illuminate the rim Edge drove his green six-cylinder Napier for the whole 24 hours covering 1,581 miles at an average speed of almost 66 miles an hour. Supported by two other Napiers on the run, Edge established a record which stood for 17 years. He also was intersted in motor boat racing and entered the 1904 Harmsworth trophy race in a boat called Napier I steered by Mr. Campbell Muir which won. He was a member of the MCC. He sold his company, S.F. Edge Ltd to Napier in 1912 and included an agreement not to be involved in motor manufacturing for seven years. When this expired in 1919 he started to build up a shareholding in AC Cars gaining full control in 1922. He sold his interest in AC in 1929 and took no further business interest in the motor industry.

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