20-21 January 2011


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Lot 116

1952 Tojeiro MG Barchetta Sports Racer

Sold for $143,000

1,467 cc OHV MG XPAG engine, two SU carburetors, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension by coil springs and wishbones, live rear axle with transverse leaf spring and radius rods, four-wheel hydraulic drums brakes. Wheelbase: 88"

- From the Bill Jacobs Collection
- One of the first race cars built by John Tojeiro, who designed the AC Ace
- Complete provenance, including 1950s English racing history and photographs
- Superb restoration, odometer indicates 10,427 miles
- Extensively raced and rallied in recent years

In the early 1950s, Cliff Davies commissioned John Tojeiro to build him a car with a two-liter, Bristol six-cylinder engine. Tojeiro, the established designer and builder of sports racing “specials,” obliged with a car registered as “LOY 500,” which was bodied by Panelcraft to look like a Ferrari 166MM Barchetta. The Bristol engine was developed from the BMW 328 and developed 128 horsepower, while the whole thing weighed only 1,180 pounds.

Soon after, Tojeiro built an MG-powered Barchetta, LOY 501, and one – perhaps two – more cars. One of these is believed to be the car on offer today, the MG-powered LOW 77, the other was Vin Davison’s LER 371, which was being built with a Lea-Francis engine. About the same time, Tojeiro was working for Ernie Bailey at Buckland Bodyworks, which was supplying bodies for A.C. Bailey suggested that A.C. might be interested in Tojeiro’s design.

Tojeiro borrowed Cliff Davies’ Bristol-powered LOY 500 and drove down to the A.C. works at Thames Ditton. A.C. wanted a car they could display at the upcoming 1953 Earls Court motor show, but there weren’t any available, until Tojeiro talked Davison into lending them LER 371. A.C. fitted Davison’s car with one of its own engines, painted it blue, re-licensed it as TPL 792 and introduced it as the A.C. Ace roadster. The model attracted Carroll Shelby’s interest, and the rest, as they say, is history.

LOW 77, on the other hand, was sold to Reg Bicknell, who had been racing a motorcycle-powered Formula 3 Revis. But he never really clicked with the car, and after a mediocre 1953 season, he sold it to Ormsby Izzard-Davies. In the hands of Izzard-Davies’ driver Alan Moore, 1954 was much more satisfactory, and the car performed well at Crystal Palace and Silverstone. The 1950s racing pictures of LOW 77 are almost all of Moore and even include photos by Klementaski.

But by 1955, the world was moving on, and the new Lotuses and Coopers were faster than LOW 77 and the other MG-powered cars, so Izzard-Davies sold LOW 77 at the end of the 1954 season. It was advertised in Motorsport Magazine for $850 – a considerable sum in those days – with the ringing endorsement that it had “always finished every race.”

LOW 77 changed hands eight times in the next 30 years, mostly around Eastern England. John Stock bought it next and kept it 10 years, then C. Tufnell, Adrian Biggs, Michael Young, Robert Bowman and Paul Delderfield. Richard Roberts kept it almost 10 years before selling it to Chris Mann, who sold it to C.L. Sieffert in Longmont, Colorado. Once across the pond, LOW 77 was enthusiastically rallied in the Colorado Grand and the Copperstate 1000 and driven by Augie Pabst in the Steamboat Springs vintage races. It had such fun that subsequent owner Richard Rome spent almost $11,000 to bring it back to first-class condition. Among later photos are pictures of delighted owner Bill Jacobs, from whose estate the car is offered today.

LOW 77 comes with volumes of provenance and many photos in action, all compiled in a thick history binder. It is a sheer delight to drive and a gorgeously presented Tojeiro design, ready for a number of historic rallying events.


Please note that this lot is being sold on "Bill of Sale Only"

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more