A ROLLS Royce once owned by legendary Wigan entertainer George Formby has been put up for sale.
But it will cost admirers a cool £59,000 to meet the asking price.
Records show that the vintage 1937 car, a special model of the classic 25/30, was bought by flash car fan Formby from Jack Barclay Ltd in 1938 - and may have remained in his possession until the early 1960s.
It is now owned by Austrian entrepreneur Christoph Auer-Welsbach, whose family bought the vehicle in 1994 following a five-year search.
Mr Auer-Welsbach said: “Our whole family was interested in this model of Rolls Royce, but especially my father. He has a penchant for such cars since my great grandfather, Carl Baron Auer von Welsbach, owned one of the first Mercedes Benz in 1908.
“We know that George Formby bought the vehicle in 1938 and that, in 1963, Mascot Motors Ltd sold it to a Mr Duessler in Snettisham, UK.
“We bought it directly from Balmoral Automobile, UK. Before that the vehicle had been in the US, owned by a Mr Stewart in Amarillo, Texas.
“At the moment it is being kept in our hometown, Klagenfurt am Wörthersee, in Carinthia, Austria.”
Mr Auer-Welsbach, a member of a famous Austrian family, describes the vehicle - a HP Sports Saloon with P2 “F” steering - as being in “excellent condition”.
But he admits that he and his family only became aware of its fascinating history as a result of their own research carried out during the purchase.
In the past 15 years the Rolls Royce has even been driven at several vintage car rallies, including the Silvretta and Alpen classics, and still boasts a top speed of 120km per hour.
Mr Auer-Welsbach added: “This car is bound to appeal to anyone who has a penchant for vintage cars or who is a George Formby fan. It has been restored to its original condition by a professional vintage car garage in Austria and Rolls Royce itself in the UK.
“Although the model itself might not be super-exclusive, its type and specifications are. It is in excellent condition, the history is 100 per cent complete and it has had very famous owners - features which make this car a real rarity.”