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The bricklayer's fortune Mystery

1913-mystery picture
Jesse Walker sent an old family photo showing the family - named Harper -  of his 2nd great grandfather in Nottingham in 1913 (when cars were very rare..! ) with his wife in the background and his four children in the car. His great grandfather probably took the picture himself.

We think the low radiator and the sharp edged bonnetare most probably the best details to work with. But Jesse is not only curious what make of motorcar this can be.  "Any info at all on the car would be appreciated, such as how would someone buy a car like this? Where was it made, purchased, shipped? I've had a look at other cars from 1913 or before and they look absolutely nothing like this one."

We asked Jesse to give some more background to the photo. To our experience this always adds a lot to the story.

" It's my great grandmother's family, with surname Harper. She's the one on the far right (back left seat of the car). The family had built up quite some money from a simple background.  The father started as a bricklayer around 1880 when he was in his very early teens and steadily built up a construction empire doing all sorts of work (as can be seen on his sign in the background - "Builder & Contractor"). The son (the very dapper gent in the driving seat) had been to Nottingham Boys High School. He died in Belgium in 1918 aged 27, so the family money went to the three daughters.
The daughters lived long lives into the 1970s/1980s and never had to work a day in their lives. The story goes that they owned about 400-600 houses between themselves (a very conservative estimate in today's money would be about £100M if each house was worth £200K).. but there's nothing to show for it these days. All disappeared through mismanagement I'm told.
The father died in 1950 with an estate worth £58000, when the average UK annual salary was just over £100.. so yes, quite some means.

Well, we agree it is a high quality car. The details are to be produced by our knowlegeable audience.

Monday, 05 December 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail


egyption vintage_air_rally_car_plane-800
Our good friend Mahmoud Ezzeldin from Egypte reports about a recent wings & wheels event in the region. 

PreWar aviation_egypt_car_plane-800"This event was held to welcome the Vintage Air Rally as it passes through Egypt on its 'way'to Cape Town (what an adventure!). The Vintage Air Rally, is an oldtimer airplane event took off from Crete in Greece with some 20 participating Vintage Planes made between 1922 & 1939 , plus a few modern machines.

Classic cars came to the 6th October Airport on Sunday the 13th of November in the morning to welcome the vintage planes and get their photo taken of the classic cars and the vintage planes together on the actual airport's apron.

After welcoming the Vintage Air Rally, the pilots had a chance to ride in the classics from the 6th of October Airport to the Pyramids of Giza, where a press conference and cocktail reception was held.PreWar aviation_egypt-800

The Pyramids of Giza also witnessed a feat that had not occurred in 80 years. The landing of a Pre-War Biplane at the pyramids plateau. In cooperation with the Avation Club of Egypt & Vintage Wheels Egypt

(text and photos Mahmoud Ezeldin)  
Sunday, 04 December 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

About What Iz it? Quiz #434: 1911 Izzer 20HP

auburn cord_duesenberg_museum_1911_izzer_roadster_20hp_470
After seeing the title of last weeks quiz, one might think we were getting a bit sloppy but actually the first and most important clue to the solution was in the headline where we wrote "What IZ it? instead of the usual "What IS it? ". The picture that we used was a picture of the car owned by manufacturer Dr. Bissell taken around 1911. People who visited the museum must have seen this US built oddball: 
The car is a 1911 Izzer Roadster, photographed in the days after 'Hershey' when we visited the famous Auburn, Cord and Duesenburg museum.  The museum is housed in the original super art-deco factory showroom and factory buildings. Most friendly located near the old and lively center of Auburn. It's so nicely situated that we consider to open a PreWarCar-PostWarClassic branche office in a deserted petrolstation right opposite the museum. 

Regarding Dr. Bissell's car. We received only a couple of good answers. Unfortunately both from jury members.  Robbie Marenzi came up quick, short and correct with the name and location and Fried Stol who came up with the full story in a few words: 

'It’s an IZZER otherwise he probably would have called it a Whazzer. Dr. Bissell from Watseka, Illinois was a character who liked to play with words when he ordered one at the “Model Gas Engine Co.“ from Perú (Indiana) in 1911.
E.A. Meyers owner of the Co liked what he had created so he decided to make another two, one for his own and one for his managing director James Littleton, using parts from Great Western another Peru-built car. The Bissell car has a folding front seat, installed by the doctor, to have a spare seat for his daughter.'

So thank you very much members of the jury, unfortunately as jury members are not eligible for a prize we keep this week's PreWarCar T-shirt for a next winner. If you have a nice idea for a quiz/ puzzle yourself, please send this to us: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it More precise we are looking for good quiz cars in the period 1925-1935

(photos by editor)
Saturday, 03 December 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

'The Auto Girl' Mystery ( Update: + artist impression)

Auto girl_friday_lady-300
A studio shot like more than many were made in the early days of motoring. The young motorist seems ready to go. At least she has the right garment with her hat secured with a nice long silk(?) shawl that probably will be functional with speeds up to 15 mph. Further a long driving coat and a stout pair of chauffeur gloves. So far so good.

But now her car(click). Not too much to go on, except for the three spoke steering wheel, the handlebar details including handthrottle(?) and ignition setting? A bit lower one can distinguish a butterfly nut that may be part of an oiler. The simple wooden scuttle may be of little help, yet in the lowest left corner there is  this very small part of the bonnet to be seen.

The sum of all these small hints makes us think we're looking at a 1904/1908 car but that's just a gutfeel based on little more than having seen so many photos before. So we leave the issue with you and well, if we never find the solution, there is still her sweet and inquistive smile. But take our advise, DON'T google for The Auto Girl as the search will come up with let's say post-war pictures that will not enhance your night's rest. 

(collection Eldon Guay, Canada)

UPDATE: Per Westerberg just sends his artist impression of the studio set-up (Click here)
Friday, 02 December 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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