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The first Miss America: without paint!

Miss America
Who has more paint, the lady or the car? Although the lady looks pretty pure, since this is Margaret Gorman, the first Miss America ever, she must have used some make-up. Without make-up you cannot win a beauty contest, not then and not now. Here Margaret is posing together with a Birmingham Motors car. A car that has been built without using any paint. Instead of paint, Birmingham Motors used "DuPont Fabrikoid" for the exterior finish.

Miss America

Margaret Gorman, who was born in 1905, was chosen as "Miss District of Columbia", due to her athletic ability, past accomplishments, and outgoing personality. That year she won two other titles, "The Most Beautiful Bathing Girl in America" and "The Golden Mermaid trophy."

In 1922 she was crowned as "Miss America." Gorman was later quoted as saying: "I never cared to be Miss America. It wasn't my idea. I am so bored by it all. I really want to forget the whole thing." She lived all her life in D.C., became somewhat a socialite and enjoyed traveling. She died on October 1, 1995, age 90.

Birmingham Motors

Birmingham Motors was a automobile company from Jamestown, New York. They were in business only from 1921 through 1923.

The Birmingham offered a number of unusual features, including a type of swing axle suspension and exterior finishes of DuPont Fabrikoid instead of paint.

Since the start they were struggling to generate capital for factory investment. When the company's titular President, also the mayor of Jamestown, was involved with a political scandal, it was the end of the company. Only about 50 Birmingham autos were built; none are known to have survived to the 21st century.

Text: Marius Hille Ris Lambers []
Pictures: Library of Congress
Friday, 28 April 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

VSCC: on behalf of the family, we salute you

VSCC: on behalf of the family, we salute you



A big family gathering. That is what we noticed last weekend when we visited the Silverstone races. We came to see pre-war cars racing against each other, but saw much more than that!

A relaxed atmosphere (although there was some stress when cars didn’t work properly). Each visitor was given the opportunity to wonder around in the paddocks, where we could meet the drivers and mechanics. Everyone seemed to have a good time and enjoying themselves.

But of course, we also saw the vintage cars drifting over the circuit. Cars from all era were present in all possible price classes. From the small Austin 7 to the mighty Bugatti 35 Grand Prix car.

The VSCC and their members did a very good job entertaining us all last weekend.
Thank you very much for that!

Did you miss it? There are plenty other opportunities later this year!

Thursday, 27 April 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Prewar Workshop: Wheel bearings Part 2

Prewar Workshop

Last week’s article was about the broken wheelbearing. After a short wait the new part has arrived and it was an old stock article from my local bearing supplier. If anyone can date this Timken box, I would be curious to know how old it is!

The mounting of the bearing is a simple procedure that requires some attention in keeping everything clean and lubricating the bearings well.

The first thing to do is to clean all the surfaces in the hub. Clean out the old grease and degrease all the surfaces. Then apply grease INTO the new bearing. It’s very important to get the grease inside instead of on the surface. A handy way to do this is to use a grease gun with a long pointed tip (I’ve attached a picture in the album). Another way is to “massage” the grease into the bearing from the underside, until it starts coming out from the top of the rollers. I’ve also attached a picture of a properly lubricated bearing into the album.

After the outer bearing has been properly greased, you can mount it. Then in this case, as in most cases, there is a tapered spacer that touches both bearings on the larger diameter ring, so that if you mount it you can’t crush the cages of the bearing by too much force. Make sure this spacer is also greased as it gives an extra supply of grease in the bearing assembly.

Mount the inner bearing and in this case there is a large threaded lock ring that can be tightened fully, as the spacer holds the correct bearing distance between the inner and outer bearing.

When all is properly greased, mount the hub back on the axle stub and use the lock nut to tighten. This is a critical step, do not overtighten this nut because this will crush the bearing cage. Do not keep it too loose because the bearings will get play and will fail prematurely.

It’s a feeling that’s easily felt, when you tighten it with a normal wrench, constantly turn the brake drum until it stops feeling wobbly, continue to tighten it until it starts feeling tight (carefully) and then a little bit looser until the drum no longer turns tight but there is still no play or wobble in the bearings. You get the feeling for this quite easily, just make sure it’s never loose but just not too tight on the bearings that they feel like they are being crushed.

Then safely secure it with a splitpin and it is all done! Please visit the photo album for visual reference and some comments per picture here:

If anyone has any questions about the process, feel free to ask me via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Words by Jos van Genugten


Wednesday, 26 April 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Talking about streamline: 1933 Pierce Arrow Silver arrow

1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow



It was 1933, the year that Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in The White House, New York City was terrorized by a giant monkey (King Kong), the Great Depression and the Prohibition ended (I could not find any relation between those two) and Hitler became Reichskanzler. Those were also the days of....

Tuesday, 25 April 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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