1936 & 1937 MGSA in NZ
Coupe - Francisco Pueche will be present at Rétromobile, stand nr. 1N102




The Magazine

Getting a mystery cab, in Egypt.

Identifying this car

Let's grab a cab! Normally this refers to a yellow cab in New-York or the famous black ones in London. But what does one take when one is in El Fayum, Egypt? John took this taxi when he was in El Fayum in August 1980. He decided to take a photograph of the car, which reminds him up to the present day of an unforgettable drive. "There was nothing to identify the marque and I believe the engine had been changed to a diesel. In several other small towns, we observed similar vintage vehicles. Does anybody have any idea what make/year this might be? Maximum speed was about 30 km/hr, and on the way back our driver, older than the car by at least 25 years, inexplicably took a shortcut through a field containing the only standing water for miles around, promptly getting stuck fast. We ended up taking a horse-drawn carriage back to our hotel!"

Who can identify this car/taxi and complete the story of this adventure for John?

Photograph by John.

Monday, 22 January 2018 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Fifty years ago: the start of a serious discussion on collecting, restoring and driving old cars

Fifty years ago: the start of a serious discussion on collecting, restoring and driving old cars

At the third Interclassics in Brussels, last November, I bought the catalogue of a very special car auction which was held in February 1994 in France. It was, in fact, the dispersion of the famous collection of, mainly, French cars once collected and partly driven by Serge Pozzoli. The man who sold me the catalogue was an older British dealer in automotive literature and during the short conversation we had, it appeared that he didn’t know who Pozzoli had been.

This struck me indeed. For me, Pozzoli is a name almost identical to collecting and caressing old, mainly prewar, French cars of the less known makes. For decades, Serge Pozzoli (1915-1992) was thé man who seemed to know everything about these cars and he wrote it all down in his own magazine, the ‘Fanatique de l’automobile’. He was also one of the most important collectors of classic cars, was involved with museums and with historic racing.

He was also active in uniting people who had the same love of old cars. So it comes as no surprise that in 1967 he was one of the founding fathers of what is called the FFVE, the French Federation of Historical Vehicles. Today about 1200 clubs are a member of the Federation and it is estimated that these clubs represent more than 230 thousand car owners and enthusiasts! Last October, all these people have been asked by the FFVE to fill in a survey from which it must become clear what kind of cars they collect and drive, how they use their cars, etc.

In the same year the FFVE was founded, 1967, also another important event took place. And it was organized more or less for the same purpose as the FFVE survey: what ideas have people on collecting old cars. Naturally, I would say, Serge Pozzoli was one of the participants of this First European Congress of Great Collectors of Historical Cars, held in October in Florence, Italy.
I had never heard of this conference until I discovered and bought the proceedings of it last year. It appeared that the Italians had quite accurately written down what had been said during the main sessions. There were about forty participants - from Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, England and Denmark - and the ‘lingua franca’ during the meeting seems to have been French.

In a couple of contributions to this Magazine, I would like to inform you about some of the issues that were discussed in Florence fifty years ago and I hope that some of you will react and give your opinion on these issues. I am very curious to know whether the points of view have changed (much) since 1967. And whether there are still clear differences between the English and the Continental attitudes.

The first issue I would like to address concerns the modification of old cars. On October 9, 1967 Mr. Philip Mann explained to the audience which alterations to cars were accepted by the Vintage Sports Car Club. One of these rules was that the owner of a car could change its wheelbase. From the proceedings, one can infer that a kind of shock must have gone through several of the attendants. One of these was Serge Pozzoli and I will try to translate part of his reaction during the discussion of Mr. Mann’s talk: “I know that [the English] are proficient but there are certain things that pass the limits. Changing the wheelbase of a car, what is that? If a car maker has provided two different wheelbases for a model, one for tourism and one for sports, and when a tourism car is modified into a sports car and at the very moment that one gives it the sports wheelbase, I understand but giving the car just any wheelbase, that seems to me absolutely énorme. And if you can also change the brake drums, by putting on bigger ones, what remains of the original car?”

Do you think the English are still more ‘tolerant’ with regard to modifications? What do you think of M. Pozzoli’s point of view?

Words and photographs by Fons Alkemade.

Sunday, 21 January 2018 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

About What is it? Quiz #461: Bugatti T57 Brown

About What is it? Quiz #461: Bugatti T57 Brown

Some might have recognized the car from our 'Weird Wednesday' feature from a few years ago, where the Bugatti T57 Brown was spotted at the Interclassics Show in Bruxelles. This car was in much better condition than the one that was spotted at a scrapyard near Tours around 1974. And yes, it was a feature at Postwarclassic.com but as most of you knew, it was actually a pre-war car. No less than 36 answers came in, most in time, a lot of them correct. Not all. To start with what it is not: It is not an Aston Martin by Ghia. Not is it an ugly Morgan, as Larry was thinking.

Anders Svenfelt was the first to answer and gave the right car. He also told us that it was made of the new material fiberglass, Jason Palmer was the first to tell us that the car is currently at Autoworld Belgium. Horst Schultz was saying the car is at the moment at a Volkswagen Chassis, and not anymore on the T57. Ted Wilmarth was very accurate in his answer but his answer was based on the present and not based on the photo above. Gerd Klioba told us that the body saved 250 kg. He said the fate of the second car is unknown. Marco Gastaldi was the first to mention the different wheels (16"instead of the 18"). He also told us a bit more about the French sculptor James Jacques Brown: Born in 1918 in Paris, he received a law degree and became official at the Ministry of Finance1942-1945. Then he began an artistic career. 

We would like to invite Eric Duchenne for more photo of the car. Just as Luc Ryckaert, who promised us an article for prewarcar.com about the car, as he knows the current owner. And Henrik Schou-Nielssen, as he has copies of letters between the former owner.

The most complete answer came from Josef Boers but unfortunately, he used more than 100 words (just as Henrik did). The best answer, within the limit, came from Henk Visscher: "in the early 1950s, sculptor and Bugatti-owner Jacques Brown from Paris embraced polyester as a medium for modern art. In 1954 he was commissioned to equip a 1938 Bugatti T57 chassis with lightweight aerodynamic polyester bodywork. The result was shown at the 1955 Salon de l’Automobile. Two cars were made (T57-chassis #57645 and #57723), differing in the presence/absence of air inlets underneath the headlamps. The pictured car may be identified as #57645. Chassis and body have later been separated. The chassis now bears a replica Aérolithe body. Mounted on a VW-chassis, the polyester body can be admired in Autoworld, Brussels."

So congratulations Henk, you are closing the gap with the number one!

Top 5:
1. Gerd Klioba
2. Alan Spencer
3. Henk Visscher
4. Luc Ryckaert
5. Fritz Hegemann

Saturday, 20 January 2018 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

“Manchester Show – are you coming too?”

Are you coming to the show?

The lady stepping into her motor car seems to be suggesting that we would be welcome to join her. And such is the case. Our Friday Lady, according to the advertisement from which this image is taken, is inviting us to a show – but, although the motor car is a Hotchkiss, the show is not in France but in England: the Manchester Show that started on 17th February 1911. Her words make it clear: “Manchester Show – are you coming too?”

The car in question is a 16/20 h.p. Landaulette. Hotchkiss, hitherto manufacturers of large cars for the luxury market, moved into the high-quality light car field in 1909 with the 2.2-litre 12/16 h.p.; the following year the company was offering a five-car range in the United Kingdom – the four-cylinder cars were the 12/16, priced at £340 in chassis form, the 16/20 (£440) and the 20/30 (£565). And there were two sixes, the 20/30 (£600) and the massive 40/50 (£890). Hotchkiss cars were always made to the highest quality standards. Indeed, from the start of motor car production in 1903 their engines, including the crankshaft, wherever possible used ball bearings rather than plain. The ball bearing engines lasted until the 30CV type X of 1910.

Hotchkiss had elegant showrooms in both Paris and London – their London offices and showroom at Davies Street in the West End relishing in the highly up-market name of “London & Parisian Motor Company.”

The appearance of Hotchkiss at the 1911 Manchester Show, represented by their local agents Messrs. H. H. Timberlake of Wigan, is not surprising given the importance of Manchester as a centre of industrial prosperity and growth. But there is another, although perhaps tenuous connection: the Englishman Henry Ainsworth was born near Manchester and studied engineering at Manchester School of Technology. He went to work in the Hotchkiss drawing office in St Denis in 1904 and rose to the position of chief engineer – holding that position from 1910 to 1914. After a short period as an intelligence officer in the British Army in 1914, he set up a machine-gun factory for Hotchkiss in Coventry. In 1919 he converted the factory to engine manufacture and sold it to Morris in 1923. He then returned to France and was Hotchkiss General Manager until World War 2 and, with a break for further war service, he worked for Hotchkiss until his retirement in 1950.

Whatever may have been the Manchester connection, Hotchkiss was certainly promoting the 16/20 h.p. in our picture as a luxury motor car for the gentry of Manchester – as we can detect from the distinctly flowery text in the advertisement that is worth repeating in full: “Look closely into every detail of this luxurious landaulette. It merits your consideration; for it is replete with that true refinement which only a close study of car comfort and its practical application can give.” Well, Madam, if you put it like that, we’ll come with you!

Words by Peter Moss.
Friday, 19 January 2018 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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