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The World's Fastest (Indian) Cyclecar?

indian v-twin_powered_fwd_cycle_car_470
Keith McElroy spotted this sporty cyclecar at Steam & Traction rally at Lake Goldsmith, Victoria, Australia two years ago..! And the mschine is still haunting him. The engine is an aircooled Indian V-twin. Furthermore one can see it is a frontwheel drive. A rather intersting machine We suspect the car is a one-off, and we're sure there are a few friends out there who can tell Keith and all of us all about it. 
Monday, 01 September 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Gordon Bennett Balloon Race; follow the flight! (ed.Updated below)

Gordon Bennett Balloon Race

The Gordon Bennett Balloon Race has started last night from Vichy in France. 19 balloon crews took off with balloons filled with hydrogen and the winner will be the pilot who travels the furthest.

The best will stay in the air 70 hours or more open to the elements in a wicker basket. Balloons can only travel where the wind takes them and nobody knows where they will land, but conditions look as though they will travel east and may end up anywhere from Poland to Romania.

Gordon Bennett published The New York Herald in Paris and offered a magnificent trophy in 1906 to the winner and sat back waiting for  the stories to roll in which would sell his newspaper – just as the aeroplanes and motor cars had done in the similar Gordon Bennett Races.

You can watch the progress of the different teams on a live-tracking page HERE.  The picture shows Charles Rolls ascending from Paris in 1906 and he landed in northern England 26 hours later in third place.


The balloons have been flying for 30+ hours and leader ‘Swiss 2’ has travelled 870 km mostly at 15,000 feet breathing oxygen in freezing temperatures and are just crossing the coastline of Croatia. The other balloons elected to fly at lower altitudes and headed south east towards Marseille. Four have landed before the coast and the remaining eleven balloons are currently drifting across the sea towards Corsica and Sardinia.

Weather conditions, air traffic control and remaining sand ballast dictate their options but some may attempt landings in the unstable heat of the day on those islands. Not easy! Their retrieve drivers are waiting in Italy for instructions.

You can watch the balloons’ progress on the live tracking page and also get a taste of what the Gordon Bennett Balloon Race involves by seeing pictures of the launch HERE, a video of champion Vincent Leys ‘weighing off’ his balloon at the start HERE, and my commentary on the race HERE.

Saturday, 30 August 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

About quiz #377 : 1923 Newton (Ceirano) Brooklands

1923 newton_brooklands_470
Well this was one of those cars that you either know or never haVE heard about.  The car that was subject of  quiz 377 turned up at a most pleasant 'strawberries & bubbles' event at Bicester Heritage airfield

It is the 1100 cc  1923 Newton 200 miles Brooklands racer as developped by Noel Newton. You can read the various knowledgeable additions about the car from the comments of last week's competitors. We particularly liked the comments by Gerry Barrett. Why? As he explained about the name and second name of the car and as you know our 'What is it?" quiz is in fact about namegiving. Gerry added that the car was only to become the 1923 Newton - Ceirano when Newton with business partner Bennet became importers for Ceirano cars. This fits nicely with the the remarks of  Frazer Sloan  son of one of the former owners and Ceirano connoisseur Nick Sloan, who explained us that there are virtually  no Ceirano parts on the car.
Congratulations Gerry!   Next week a new chance. Or start chewing on this weekend's post-war quiz car..! 
Saturday, 30 August 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Hats off - goggles on.

Hats off - goggles on. ( friday lady )

We are lucky to live in this digital age and today we invite you to revisit an old friend we introduced back in 2012. Our picture shows Joan Newton Cuneo in 1911 at the wheel of her Pope Hummer (corr. 1911 Knox) with which she set the woman’s speed record of 111.5 MPH. This was after her previous successes had helped The American Automobile Association  ban women from entering their events .

Even before her motoring career, Cuneo had displayed her spirit when she helped start the Ladies Four- in-Hand Club for driving a coach and four – a pastime not for the faint hearted!  Men had their own Coaching Club open only to gentlemen.

The digital age has helped author Dr. Elsa A. Nystrom complete her painstaking research into today’s subject and publish the fruits of her four years’ labour in Mad for Speed - The Racing Life of Joan Newton Cuneo and it has also helped us receive a copy through the letterbox with an easy click of a mouse.

The book was published in 2013 and more pictures have emerged since our first story. This one is rare since it is the only ‘staged’ shot where Cuneo looks clean and posed as opposed to her usual business like images. You’ll like this one of her at the bench and here she is changing a tyre.

Surviving pictures often show our Friday lady wearing an elegant hat, but as Dr. Nystrom says in her comment on our original story,  “ The hat came off and the goggles went on when she put the pedal to the metal.”


Text Robin Batchelor, picture courtesy Pettee Memorial Library / Wilmington Historical Society.

Friday, 29 August 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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Post War Choice

1967 Volvo  P130 - 123 GT Rally
The tough Swede: rally prepared 1967 Volvo Amazone 123 GT...  Go >>