ONE of the world's rarest cars, which spent part of its life as a hen house, was back on the streets of the North-East yesterday.

The 1920 Angus-Sanderson, built in Birtley, near Chester-le-Street, by Sir Wm Angus Sanderson and Co, was restored under the watchful eye of the maker's grandson, Ho Sanderson.

Mr Sanderson, of Eshott Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland, brought his car to Bonhams Auctioneers, in Newcastle, during a valuations day for vintage cars, bicycles and automobilia.

Mr Sanderson, whose grandfather built Europe's first motor car assembly line in Birtley, said: "I wanted to rescue my family's history and spent years hunting for a surviving example of this car.

"This model was found in an Australian farmyard four years ago, where it was being used as a hen house. The chassis was sound, but there was effectively no body left. The engine had to be rebuilt to original specifications."

Mr Sanderson chose North-East companies to rebuild the car, including JG Henderson, of Consett, Corbridge Coach Works and MacDonalds Car Repairs.

Mr Sanderson said he was awaiting a final valuation on the car which is used as a bridal car for weddings held at Eshott Hall.

He said: "Intrinsically, it is worth more to me than money can buy."

Motoring specialist Guy Haskell said: "A wonderful car - good solid Birtley engineering."

Among other cars at Bonhams yesterday were a 1958 Austin Westminster, with only one previous owner and 2,000 miles on the clock. It still had its original chrome and paintwork and only the tyres and silencer had been replaced.