Coach building follows a long tradition tracing back over 2,000 years to the chariots of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. There was little change in the design of wheeled vehicles until the invention of the motor car but with engineers concentrating on improving its reliability the bodywork was produced by traditional coachbuilders using long established horse-drawn carriage body styles.
Widely regarded as one of the best bespoke coachbuilders, Hooper & Co. (Coachbuilders) Ltd. were founded as Adams and Hooper in 1805 in London’s Haymarket and obtained the first of its Royal Warrants by 1830. Coachbuilder to Queen Victoria and later her son King Edward VII, Hooper & Co branched out into building coachwork on car chassis and quickly gained a reputation for quality of workmanship and elegance of line.
Following World War I, during which the firm manufactured airplanes such as the Sopwith Camel, Hooper produced luxury car bodies on mainly Daimler, Rolls-Royce and Bentley chassis. This swatch book, which dates from the 1930s, illustrates not only the styles available but also provides samples of the various leathers and fabrics you could choose for the interior of your car. In later years Hooper’s became famous for their extravagant coachwork on the Daimlers commissioned by Sir Bernard and Lady Docker.
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