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Brochure : Darracq 20/28 1907


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Should I add some vitamin to my 1936 Rytecraft scootacar?

1936 Rytecraft scootacar

Frederick from South Africa wonders which direction to take with his cycle car: "I purchased this cycle car a while ago, it is a mark one with the 98cc Villiers engine. I also have the mark two 250cc Villiers engine, should I restore it back to 98cc or to the 250cc mk 2 version and will it affect the value of this car?"

Editor: Well Fred, as they say a car is original only once. You are now on one of the many crossroads in the life of this little machine. If for 1936 both engines were known you will not be hurt a lot. But keep in mind you will loose the Mk I identity which in our view is a sad thing for this fine example of the super-nimble...

Wednesday, 10 February 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

The end of a Bentley Boy

The end of a Bentley Boy.

We were busy on our stand at Rétromobile in Paris when news reached us on friday of the death of Stanley Mann and during the five days of the truly international event, it took us by surprise how many people knew his name and were saddened to learn about the loss of this extraordinary man.
His upbringing near Cricklewood meant that he met the likes of Walter Hassan and WO Bentley himself, who told Mann around 1970 that 'he coudn't understand people still being interested.'
That started his life-long passion for the marque and after restoring a 3-litre, he gave up his initial career as a professional photographer and became a purveyor, racer and restorer of vintage Bentleys.
His adverts successfully saw the average age of owners fall from 55 to 35 as he wooed a new generation of enthusiast with deep pockets and a love of speed.  He founded Benjafield's Racing Club whose roots are in the tradition of the Bentley Boys, that hard living, partying, group of sportsmen, that made the vintage Bentley the most successful marque at Brooklands and made Le Mans special to the British public by winning it 5 times between 1924 and 1930. 
Stanley Mann's sense of humour, energy and hard work brought him success and with success comes fame - not all of it good. The law case about a Speed Six Bentley's provenance hit the national press and relentless determination shown by Mann meant he eventually won his case and the landmark findings had widespread implications in the car and antiques world.
This letter on his website shows his concern for the direction taken by our sport and how collectors, present and future, will view the trends. We were pleased to learn how Mann once sold a Bentley with a contract stipulating ...'that the saloon body must never be removed.'
He was a 'lovable rogue' from the same mould as the best known car dealers from the past, all with colourful careers, and of course there are plenty of stories that are best not put into print!
 His longtime friend and Bentley racer Philip Strickland was a co-founder of Benjafield's Racing Club and he shares this tribute to a great man who will be greatly missed.

(Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy Stanley Mann's website)
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

The Martians are coming! By Austin Ten

The Marslander Austin Ten

The Canary Islands are a privileged enclave located at the Atlantic Ocean, with the facilities of the European way of life combined with the tropical landscape.. and warm climate. Although it´s one of the regions of Spain, this archipielago has huge South American influences, being one of the most notables of the carnival celebrations. The most famous is the Carnival of Tenerife, at the moment a short of miniature of the Brazilian carnivals... But long time ago, the suggestive women with their little and intricate clothing had not yet come. In the main picture we can see a "moon car" -perhaps better described as a marslander- pictured during the 1974 celebrations. This strange device was based in a poor prewar car, specifically a first series (1932-33) Austin Ten. The car seems to be in original unrestored condition but fitted with a psychedelic paint scheme and a transparent dome. Inside this sort of "UFO" are located the occupants, one of whom seems to be the driver. It would appear that  in order to make the vehicle drivable the steering column and the pedals were extended and relocated through the roof. A complicated transformation hardly removable, isn´t it? Not in this case. Luckily, this old little vehicle has been recently restored -check the number plate- and apart from the wheels or headlights all seems to be correct. Certainly a rare case of recovery, as many of the old cars used in the carnival cavalcades end its life sadly at the scrapyards.

(Text and photos Francisco Carrión) 
Monday, 08 February 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Hamilton, New Zealand

Hamilton, New Zealand

Rick Nicolaas writes: "Found some photo's of my birth place Hamilton, New Zealand, around the '20 - '30s. Even at that time and on the other end of the world they had plenty of motor bikes and cars. Most cars were of English make. As a country of the commonwealth it didn't have import duties as other foreign cars manufacturers. Because of the climate many of these cars were preserved for a long time and kept running by the owners for longer than usually like in Europe."

(Text Rick Nicolaas; photos collection author)
Sunday, 07 February 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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