A VINTAGE car, once owned by the family of the co-founder of Rolls-Royce was sold at auction for more than £580,000.

The 1903 Panhard Levasor 16hp was owned by Lord Llangattock of Hendre, near Monmouth, who was the father of Charles Rolls.

The Panhard has been in the same family since 1935 and was sold at Bonhams annual London to Brighton Run sale on Friday for the first time in 78 years, to a private collector for £583,900, making it the second highest price at the sale.

It dates back to 1902, is capable of around 40mph and is known as the ‘Brighton car’ having taken part in the London to Brighton run since 1958, according to the family and acquired by their grandfather in 1935.

Charles Rolls was an aviation pioneer and co-founder of Rolls Royce. Although born in London, he was the first son of Lord and Lady Llangattock whose home was at The Hendre.

The car was thought to be the inspiration for the earliest Rolls-Royce. Experts believe the French vehicle, which had coachwork by Labourdette of Paris, played an important role in the creation of the world’s famous car maker.