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Dear Prewar Editor:

Pre war car front axle
My Cadillac 'Racer'


The Magazine

Seeking info on this Fiat touring (update: 1914 type 505 ?)

seeking info on this fiat touring

We can't help it, we just love this kind of barnfresh photos.

Tim Ruth writes: "Can anyone help me identify the year on this fiat? I just got it, it was in a barn 60 yrs and ran 30 years ago (supposed). The wiring has been messed with, so I'm seeking wiring diagram. The Zenith updraft looks like it's missing something where theres an empty bracket, so any carb info is very welcome. I think there may be a compression release handle near the crank? Of course any pictures of one like this, I can't find one but there has to be one somewhere. Just wondering where to get info on the thing. There are 3 name plates but I can't find anything to mean anything. One has an 'E' with a number so I'm thinking E-series Touring. It has a 140 inch wheelbase, lots of brass, radiator, lights, windshield frame, caps and hubs. Any help is greatly appreciated, I want to get smart before I dig in. I think it's a 3 liter engine. Iit has 2 spark plugs in each cylinder; one on top, one inside. 35x5 wheels, gear shift handle and park brake look just like ones on Jay Lenos' 1917 Botofogo on YouTube. I've seen the fenders on another car but the body is different. The body is aluminim, fenders metal and wood running boards and floor boards. Thanks for anything!"
Monday, 30 November 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Not the usual suspects

A nice couple posing with their automobile in front of the local café. The picture was taken in The Netherlands, in the province of Zeeland, just check the local costume. But as always the question is... what car is this? Several Dutch experts have already given their suggestions, mentioning the usual suspects like Adler, Brennabor and Bellanger. Our Jurymember Ariejan suggested a 1915 Simson Typ D, but even he isn't sure. Perhaps identification may be more difficult as the car seems to have two different front wings. Or is that just our imagination? Therefore we ask you for your opinion. Someone, somehow, surely must recognize this car? Tell us!
Sunday, 29 November 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

About quiz #408 ~ Albert G1.

About quiz #408 ~ 1919 Albert.Last week, we showed you a rolling chassis in show condition and the car was an Albert.  The model is a G1 which had quarter elliptic front springs and cantilever rear springs as seen in last week's photo, and a radiator copied from Rolls Royce.
The push-rod overhead valve engine featured a drilled crankshaft with pressure lubricated mains and big ends with the camshaft running in a trough of oil.  Initial description included a foot- operated mechanical starting device, but - perhaps wisely - did not go into production.
The partners in the firm that promoted the car,  Adam, Grimalde & Co. , had limited experience of motor design or manufacture. The initial design had been commissioned from A.O.Lord and within four months of its November 1919 launch, Gwynnes Engineering were manufacturing all the mechanical parts of the Albert and in 1920, Gwynnes took over the firm and made a further 1450 cars  but by 1923 they renamed the cars Gwynn-Albert.
The pioneer aviator we mentioned was Harry Hawker and his sports Albert is pictured here and this rare survivor is  a 1922 G3 with a body copied from Hawker's car.
We thank the three readers who responded - James thought it was a Varley Woods which does look very similar with Rolls Royce look-a-like radiator and same cantilver rear springs - Stuart Penketh was convinced it was a 1919 A6A Farman , but we congratulate Peter Ransom on guessing Albert correctly  and since he is a jury member, we send a virtual cigar!

Saturday, 28 November 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Silent movie star with a stutter

Silent movie star with a stutter

Today we would like to introduce you to Marion Davies. Born in 1897 in Brooklyn as Marion Cecilia Douras but changed her surname to Davies when her sister spotted the name on a real estate sign. Even at a time when New York was a melting pot for immigrants, having a British surname greatly helped one's prospects. 

After making her screen debut in 1916 modelling dresses, she featured in her first film - The Runaway Romany - in 1917. She went on to make a small fortune as a film star, despite being nervous when sound was introduced because she had never overcome her childhood stutter. The car was made by Jack Landon who made 'midget' cars for films and feaures in a short chase scene in 1928 silent film romantic comedy 'The Cardboard Lover' in which she starred and was executive producer with her lover William Randolph Hearst. The colour scheme, shape and wheels remind us of an Auburn - she would look so much better in the real thing?

We found her climbing into a slightly smarter car when modelling hats for Hollywood's favourite hatter Lilly Daché (Davies was her first Hollywood celebrity customer). "Lilly had no idea who the pretty blonde was, nor the adoring older gentleman paying the bill, but Marion must have been pleased, for a steady stream of “name” customers soon found their way to Lilly’s shop. Delores Del Rio was another good customer (remember her?). We think this picture of her on a model A Ford is from the 1928 film. 'The Patsy' and in 1926, Davies played Beverly Calhoun in 'Beverly of Graustark' and poses here beside a shiny 1926 Cadillac 6400 Brougham. You can see her trying to make Clark Gable fall for her charms in this clip from 'Polly of the Circus'.

(Text Robin Batchelor, pictures from archive)

Friday, 27 November 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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Post War Choice

1948 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith
Pleasant looking Rolls-Royce project: 1948 Silver Wraith...  Go >>