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Last weekend, the InterClassics show was held in Maastricht. It was the first big European car show of 2017 and what a great way to kick off the season! At the PreWarCar.com-PostWarClassic.com stand, we were happy to catch up with old friends, meet new ones and see some of the most amazing cars that were on show: from the extremely impressive Facel Vegas to Ferrari's through the years. What we at PreWarCar.com were most interested in was to see the amount of cars built before 1940 on show.
Our own stand had 2 cars: a small 1925 Amilcar and a huge Bentley Royale Custom. Completely different cars but both having their own elegance and power. The Bentley with the 2 eight inline engines was the real showtopper but the Amilcar will also feature in the pictures of the many many visitors that have shown up.
In total, we have seen 36 pre-war cars and we were happily suprised to see some of them. They vary from a small Austin to a very luxurious Isotta Fraschini. We saw Bugatti, BMW, Invicta, Bentley, Fiat and many others….
Please enjoy our photos:
A famous Humber racer in retirement
Today we introduce you to just two names amongst the interesting long list in RMSotheby's sale to be held in Arizona on 19-20 January.
One was born just before WW2 and after successfully going into hiding for the duration, emerged to escape and enjoy an exciting life. The other was born in 1924 and never left home.
Let's start with the car having lots of stamps in its passport. In 1939, Rolf Horn was proprietor of of Gebrüder Horn in Berlin, one of the city’s most exclusive art and interior décor boutiques and with success came wealth, so Rolf bought himself a Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster.
However, he soon realised that luxuries such as automobiles with high fuel consumption would be impossible so the car was put into storage and vanished from sight.
Discovered in what was now Soviet-controlled East Berlin in 1949, the car was on blocks just as Rolf Horn left it with low mileage. It was driven by Soviet diplomats until 1953, when the Soviet-produced ZIL automobiles became available, and eventually made its way to Russia. These historic images not only emphasize the intact condition of the car, but the visible registration numbers place it in Moscow by the late 1950s.
Muscovite enthusiast Arthur Leshtin acquired the car ( amongst many others) using it for a period in which he repainted it white and even took his wife on a tour through Crimea in it. After repainting the car in its original black, he sold it in 1964, after which the new owner used it as a regular mode of transportation in Moscow for three years before driving it across the border into his native Sweden. A daring show of bravado thus preserving a very valuable piece of Mercedes-Benz history for future generations.
The car has had a nut-and-bolt restoration which will help explain the mouth-watering price we suspect will be bid at the auction.
Now we come to Cinderella, a 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Landaulet which records show was never delivered to her first customer, and after being used as a demonstration model for occasional wealthy customers and in which chauffeurs would learn their trade, Isotta Fraschini soon put the nearly new automobile into storage at a warehouse, away from the factory, thus saving it from destruction when the Works was obliterated during World War II.
In 1993, the Isotta Fraschini name was revived by a partnership between Audi and coachbuilders Fissore. They eventually sold the name to Finmeccanica, an Italian defence, aerospace, and security company, and in the course of that deal, this car was discovered, still in the warehouse, which had remained in company ownership and largely forgotten. The current owner purchased the car directly from Finmeccanica and shipped it to the United States, 92 years after it was built.
A true 'time-warp' just as it left the factory in 1924, except for the tyres which were replaced, leaving two originals fitted to the spare wheels.
Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy RMSotheby's
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