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What is it? Quiz #456


This weeks quiz is about a company that built very unusual and modern cars. The ideas of its inventor „were always right, but far ahead of their time“. He showed prototypes on many shows from 1926 till 1956 but unfortunately he didn´t sell a single car. The first prototype was a streamlined mid-engined car with many modern features, but in 1930 he changed the concept and built the prototype, we are searching for. The car had an integral pontoon body, still kind of streamlined and independent suspension for all four wheels. It had a front engine and also featured front-wheel drive. After the war, a similar, but a modernized prototype was introduced. Still with integral body and independent suspension, but powered by a small V8-engine. Sadly only one of the cars, the last concept, built in 1956 still exists.

You know this unusual car from 1930? Don´t hesitate and leave your answer in a comment before Monday and use no more than 100 words to collect some more points for our six-month challenge!

Saturday, 21 October 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A 1936 Continental tour by Lady Hamilton

A 1936 Continental tour by Lady Hamilton
This picture looks rather formal and professionally posed – and it is.  It is part of a promotional article that nowadays we would call “advertorial”, and is subtly putting forward the qualities of Humber cars – and the quality of the people who buy and use them.
The article is from the Modern Motoring magazine of January 1936.  This looks at first glance to be a perfectly innocent general motoring and lifestyle magazine – until you realise that virtually every advertisement, article and report is about Hillman, Talbot, Humber, Karrier, Commer and their suppliers.  You have to dig really deep to find the admission that this is a Rootes Group publication.  Cheeky!
But this still leaves us with a charming report from Lady Claude Hamilton, the lady in the picture, of her Continental tour.  She travelled 2,500 miles in five weeks in her 1936 Humber Snipe.  Using a cargo boat from Folkestone to Boulogne, she travelled through France, Switzerland, Italy, back into Switzerland and then back through France, via Dijon and, of course, Paris.
As we might expect from an article to promote the excellence of the Humber, no real problems occurred, except for low oil pressure in Italy – which Lady Hamilton, with no Italian, tried to communicate to four or five mechanics by blowing out her cheeks and pointing to the ground.  Some tried to blow up the tyres, and others looked under the bonnet.  Finally, she indicated the oil filler and showed them the oil gauge.  This did the trick, and oil was added.  All was well once more.
Lady Hamilton was a privileged member of the landed gentry, but she was no delicate, fragile flower.  She had been driving since “the lowest possible age”, and had been badly hurt in the First World War “when cranking a huge lorry.”  She was perfectly happy to stay in a B&B in a seedy back street in Folkestone when all hotels were full.  She stressed that she deplored class distinction of any kind.  However, rather quaintly, she added “…I should so much like to see greater co-operation by pedestrians.”  Things haven’t changed much.
A common problem with images from this time was the rather dull nature of published black and white photographs.  But magazines of the 1930’s had a trick up their sleeves: the colour illustration on the cover.  This issue of Modern Motoring was no exception, and gives a far more exciting illustration entitled “Across the Ages” – featuring the 1936 Talbot 3½ Litre Speed Saloon compared with an early horse-drawn mail coach; we have added it here.  We can only imagine Lady Hamilton in a similar illustration, driving her Humber over the Simplon Pass to Lausanne in 1936.

Words and pictures by Peter Moss
Friday, 20 October 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Bicester Alvis Shows Real Heritage

Bicester Alvis Shows Real Heritage

It’s a big year for both the Alvis marque and the Bicester Heritage site. 2017 marks fifty years since the British car brand went into liquidation, while significant investment has been announced to secure a bright future for the pre-war scene at the English Heritage site. It seems apt then that the two are meeting on the 25th of October for the Brightwells auction.

The sweeping lines of the 1937 4.3-litre Alvis Sports Saloon by Charlesworth steal the show when browsing through the auction catalogue, with only 166 examples crafted during the 1936 to 1940 production run.  This vehicle is one of around 90 surviving examples.

The history of the Alvis is fully recorded in the paperwork nestled within the massive accompanying history file, documenting the activity of all ten previous owners including a twenty-year stretch in America. While the first 65 years may appear patchy, the repatriation credentials show the Alvis returned to the UK in 1988. Ian Wright took custody in 1992, who carried out restoration work for the next twenty years.

Besides receiving a major DIY overhaul, Highstone Restorations pumped £1,658.09 worth of work into the rare Alvis with new radiator fans, repainted wheels and a suspension re-build. The engine was restored throughout 2001/2002. Earley Engineering then gave the car a second life during 2014 with a monumental £18,797 bill for restoration work. The engine is yet to be run in. Estimated to fetch between £60,000 and £70,000, the new owner will find themselves with a seldom-seen, top quality Alvis near completion which won’t take much TLC to finish and return to the road. Although perhaps not until the roads are clear of salt…

OHowever, this isn’t the only Alvis to be put under the hammer, as alongside the Charlesworth is a striking 1932 12/50 Ducksback – estimated to sell anywhere between £42 - £45,000. Recorded as a Replica Ducksback in the Alvis ‘Bible’, this delicious pre-war racer was bought as an unfinished project back in 1991 and given a comprehensive rebuild which was covered in the Alvis Register magazine. Famous for tackling the Irish Gordon Bennett FIVA Rally with enough gusto to put most modern cars to shame, nothing offers quite the same pleasure upon the open road to wear the Alvis badge.

The Brightwells Auction takes place on October 25th at the Bicester Heritage site. Viewing takes place on Tuesday the 24th during 9am and 7pm, alongside the morning of the sale. 

Words: Gillian Carmoodie
photos: Brightwells

Thursday, 19 October 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A motorshow down under

A motorshow down under
Best in Show of this year’s Motorclassica, The Australian International Concours d’Elegance & Classic Motor Show held at the heritage listed Royal Exhibiton Building in Melbourne, Australia was a worthy recipient. Radio Presenter David Berthon’s 1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost London to Edinburgh Continental torpedo tourer with coachwork by Peel of Brisbane taking the honours, at the eighth running of the Southern Hemisphere’s leading event of its kind.
Initially fitted with a Connaught Torpedo Tourer body, at the outbreak of WW1 this Ghost was requisitioned by the military. Following the war it was auctioned by the Ministry of Munitions and purchased by a doctor from Sydney. The car arrived in Australia in 1928 and was later used as tow-truck before being abandoned in a backyard! Subsequently rediscovered in 1966 it was fitted with the current body from a 1913 sporting Sunbeam.
This year Motorclassica attracted a record crowd over the three days as it honoured 70 years of Ferrari, 100 years of Holden bodybuilding, and 110 years of Lancia. The wonderful Lancia display, organised by Marc Bondini, included a 1923 Lambda four-door torpedo, 1924 Trikappa race-about, 1927 Lambda roadster, 1930 Dilambda tourer, 1934 Lancia Augusta Berlina and a 1937 Aprilia.
Having won the Vintage & Veteran Class the stunning Silver Ghost was clearly the most elegant car on display and after 15 years in the restoration, a worthy winner.  However, special mention must go to the amazing 1914 Delage Type S Grand Prix 2-seater, the only one surviving. It has just undergone the amazing process of having a perfect 3D digital print of its original block made to original 100% detail and arrived and departed under its own steam.

Words and photos by James Nicholls

Wednesday, 18 October 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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1925 Nash 6 cyl. Touring
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