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About Quiz #394: 1922 Rolland Pilain 8 cylinder

quiz 394_rolland_pilain_1923_eight_cylinder_gp
The silent movie from which we showed you two shots is L’Inhumaine, directed by Marcel L’Herbier and released in 1924. Quite a lot of famous names from the art scene of the 1920s contributed to this film (see Wikipedia for an extensive description). It had already been resetored in the 1970s but only recently the different scenes got back their colours (e.g. all the scenes with the racing car are in French racing blue). It was recently broadcasted by the French/German television channel Arte. Parts of this movie can be watched through Youtube.

There were only two participants in this quiz and both gave the right answer. Jean Claude Poisson wrote: “I think this car is a 2 liter 8 cylinder Rolland-Pilain of 1923. It is the second version of this car born in 1922.The first one had the exhaust pipe on the right side. It was designed by Grillot and its sole victory was at the St. Sebastian Grand Prix (Guyot). It was seventh at Monza and did not finish the Automobile Club de France GP at Tours.” Robbie Marenzi also mentioned the Rolland-Pilain 1923 GP racer and the name of the movie.

The engine of this racer had double overhead camshafts and, it is said, four carburettors. A road version, with only one carburettor, was offered for sale in the Rolland-Pilain catalogue as the Grand Sport Type A.22 but it is unlikely that many were sold (at least one survives, in the famous Malartre collection near Lyon, and was on exposition with PreWarCar during Vintage Revival Montlhery 2013). In the excellent book by Blanchet and Rouxel on the history of the make two possible reasons for the LHD are given: 1) Grillot, the engineer behind this car, had already designed the model C 23 which could be delivered in LHD version; 2) Guyot had been a racing driver in the US (Duesenberg) and in that country the racing direction on circuits was anticlockwise and hence racers had LHD. So Jean Claude’s suggestion may very well be to the point: “The LHD is perhaps inspired by American racing cars of the time.” Maybe it is for this LHD configuration that the two Rolland-Pilains finished first and second in San Sebastian where the racing direction was also anticlockwise (besides, there were not many serious rivals…).

Since Robbie is already jury member, the winner is Jean Claude. Congratulations! Please send us your T-shirt size and mail address and your prize will come your way.

(text Fons Alkemade)

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Jury Member Location Information

Bart Oosterling NL
Bas de Voogd / Rutger Booy NL team
Bob Swanson USA Sports Cars & Racing Cars
Carleton Hughes USA
Ced Pearce South-Africa Ford & Cord
Chris Paulsen USA Brass Era (pre-1916) cars
David Green NZ
Dick Trenk (deceased 2010) USA US cars
Dominique Barbault F French Cars
Don Edwards USA US Classics
Eduard Hattuma NL
Fons Alkemade NL French automobiles
Frans Vrijaldenhoven NL Dutch Automobile Historian
Fried Stol NL
Hans Compter NZ
Harry Schley Germany
Henk Visscher NL Firsts in Car Industry
Ian Hayhurst Canada pre-1916 autos / early Mopar
Ingo Jost Germany German Cars
James Helms USA
João Pedro Gazineu Brazil
John Barringer UK
John Robins UK
Jon Baker Australia
José A. Gómez Argentina
Josef Kubista CZ
Joseph P. McCormick USA
Kit Foster USA US cars 1920-1960, Stanley Steamers
Kjetil Langsaether Norway
Lars-Göran Lindgren S brass era cars
Luke Chennel USA
Marc Fellman Australia
Mark Dawber NZ
Mike Clark GB Vintage Cars.
Mike Tebbett UK cyclecars
Mike Turner USA
Nicolas Boissier France
Paul Linster L French & Britsh sports cars
Peter Ransom Australia
Richard Armstrong UK
Radu Comsa Romania
Raul Valkila Finland
Reg Harris Australia Citroën and English cars
Robb Stewart USA early racing and sports cars
Robbie Marenzi Argentina
Roger Fields USA
Rutger Booy / Bas de Voogd NL team
Stuart Penketh Thailand
Theo Castricum NL US cars
Tom Chaney USA
Verner Johnson DK