George Formby’s bespoke car which he used during the Second World War tipped to fetch £35,000

A Second World War staff car that was driven across Europe and North Africa by George Formby while he entertained the troops is tipped to sell for £35,000.

The 1939 Mercury Eight Series 99A Estate was used by the famous entertainer during his time in the Entertainments National Service Association.

The body was established just after the outbreak of the war to provide entertainment for the British armed forces.

Formby drove it during a 53-day tour of the Mediterranean in the summer of 1943 after befriending its creator, racing driver Sir Michael Campbell.

A Second World War staff car that was driven across Europe and North Africa by George Formby while he entertained the troops is tipped to sell for £35,000

A Second World War staff car that was driven across Europe and North Africa by George Formby while he entertained the troops is tipped to sell for £35,000

A Second World War staff car that was driven across Europe and North Africa by George Formby while he entertained the troops is tipped to sell for £35,000

The 1939 Mercury Eight Series 99A Estate was used by the famous entertainer during his time in the Entertainments National Service Association

The 1939 Mercury Eight Series 99A Estate was used by the famous entertainer during his time in the Entertainments National Service Association

The 1939 Mercury Eight Series 99A Estate was used by the famous entertainer during his time in the Entertainments National Service Association

The motor was updated for driving in the desert with larger tyres and partially painted-out windows to lessen the sun’s glare.

The singer and comedian familiarised himself with the Series 99A and drove around Singleton, West Sussex, for weeks before embarking on the tour.

The Cleaning Windows star drove it in Italy, Sicily, Malta, Gibraltar, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon and Palestine.

As well as providing accommodation for Formby and his wife Beryl, the Mercury was equipped with a lean-to tent for his pianist and valet to shelter in.

By the time the ukulele-strumming star returned to England in October, he had entertained 750,000 troops, traversed a minefield, dined with Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery and been named the Eighth Army’s mascot.

A serial Rolls-Royce and Bentley owner, Formby sold the estate to Earl Peel of Hyning Hall, Lancaster, in 1946.

The body was established just after the outbreak of the war to provide entertainment for the British armed forces

The body was established just after the outbreak of the war to provide entertainment for the British armed forces

The body was established just after the outbreak of the war to provide entertainment for the British armed forces

Formby drove it during a 53-day tour of the Mediterranean in the summer of 1943 after befriending its creator, racing driver Sir Michael Campbell

Formby drove it during a 53-day tour of the Mediterranean in the summer of 1943 after befriending its creator, racing driver Sir Michael Campbell

Formby drove it during a 53-day tour of the Mediterranean in the summer of 1943 after befriending its creator, racing driver Sir Michael Campbell

It remained in his ownership for the rest of his life and primarily served as transport for grouse shooting parties.

Since his death, the five door car has had a string of owners and collectors who have continued to care for it just as Formby did.

The Mercury is powered by a V8 engine and is set to go under the hammer with auctioneers H&H Classics of Warrington, Cheshire.

The motor was updated for driving in the desert with larger tyres and partially painted-out windows to lessen the sun's glare

The motor was updated for driving in the desert with larger tyres and partially painted-out windows to lessen the sun's glare

The motor was updated for driving in the desert with larger tyres and partially painted-out windows to lessen the sun’s glare

The singer and comedian familiarised himself with the Series 99A and drove around Singleton, West Sussex, for weeks before embarking on the tour

The singer and comedian familiarised himself with the Series 99A and drove around Singleton, West Sussex, for weeks before embarking on the tour

The singer and comedian familiarised himself with the Series 99A and drove around Singleton, West Sussex, for weeks before embarking on the tour

They have given it an estimate of between £25,000 and £25,000 and are expecting a huge level of interest.

A spokesman for the auction house said: ‘There can be few cars with such a rich back story.

‘Unique in so many ways, this historic Mercury is surely worthy of a return to its former glory and a place in a museum or major collection.

‘It is being offfered for sale with history file including copy correspondence from Sir Malcolm Campbell himself, as well as a wealth of George Formby related literature.’

The sale takes place on April 14.

Who was George Formby? 

George Formby (1904-1961) was an English actor, singer-songwriter and comedian

George Formby (1904-1961) was an English actor, singer-songwriter and comedian.

He became globally famous for his films in the 1930s and 1940s and was best known for his uplifting songs in which he often played the ukulele or banjolele. 

Formby’s success saw him become the UK’s highest-paid entertainer.

After an early career as a jockey, Formby began performing in music halls and married musician Beryl Ingham, who helped to transform his act into the success it became.

During the Second World War, Formby worked for the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA), delighting both civilians and troops. 

In 1946, he performed in front of an estimated three million people.

Formby last appeared on TV in December 1960.

Beryl died two weeks later before Formby surprised the nation by announcing his engagement to school teacher Pat Howson just seven weeks after her funeral.

However, the singer himself passed away three weeks later at the age of 56. 

His top hits included Cleaning Windows, Leaning on a Lamp Post and Auntie Maggie’s Remedy.

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