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Spotting pre-war cars at InterClassics show

InterClassics Maastricht_2017_PreWarCar.com_PostWarClassic_stand
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 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 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:
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Thursday, 19 January 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A famous Humber racer in retirement

A famous Humber racer in retirement

A famous Humber racer in retirement

An interesting series appeared in the Autocar of 1910 and 1911 under the heading: Famous cars in retirement. Cars and especially racing cars often received a second life because of their outstanding performances: maybe not enough for the real work anymore, but still enough to impress in daily life. A nice example is this Beeston Humber, which raced with number 31 and with W.G. Tuck at wheel in the Tourist Trophy of 1908. The car didn't finish because of ignition problems. Already as a racer with its 'meat safe' bonnet and water reservoir behind it the car lacked the regular Humber looks, but after the make-over it had become completely unrecognizable. The Autocar commented on the new bonnet that it had 'a distinct individuality', but without a clue the modified car would have been an enigma for any identification specialist. Another interesting fact was that the current owner in 1910 was the designer of the forerunners of the 1907 Rover TT winner as well as of the 1908 Deasy TT racers. His name: Edmund W. Lewis.

Words and pictures: Ariejan Bos

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

Mystery Benz look-a-like

Mystery BENZ-lookalike
From around 1912 until the mid-1920s cars featuring v-shaped radiators were all the rage in Germany. In particular, the characteristic radiator masks introduced by Daimler and Benz before WW1 were copied by many manufacturers including Duerkopp and Opel in Germany, as well as by Puch and Steyr in Austria.

The attached car in the photo from my collection shows another of these Benz-lookalikes. However, it lacks the typical badge which was attached to the radiators of all cars from the manufacturers mentioned above. 

So what marque could that be? I am almost sure, it must be a German brand, given the angular shape of the wings, which was another common feature of quite a number of smaller cars made in Germany after WW1.

Of course, AGA springs to one's mind - but their cars had a disctinctive badge on both sides of the radiator, as well. The bonnet louvres looked different, too.

Perhaps one needs to consider the possibility that this a one-off, built by a talented (?) owner using parts from different vehicles. The wings appear to me made in a rather crude manner, whereas the rest of the body is of higher quality.

The carbide lamps would suggest this car was made before WW1, yet they could still be in use afterwards for some time.

Judging from the caps of the two little boys and from the overall condition of the car, this photo was probably taken in the mid-1920s.  

Words and pictures: Michael Schlenger 
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A war-time baby and Cinderella.

A war-time baby and Cinderella.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

Monday, 16 January 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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