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(un)Solved Mysteries

D'Ieteren's Aster mystery.... (UPDATE: which Aster, which years)

Philippe Boval sent us some nice shots of the recent 1905-2005 Circuit des Ardennes (Belgium) commemoration; the first road race which was done in a 'circuit' in stead of a straight line town to town. One of the most eye catching cars was this 1917 Aster racing car driven by Roland D'Ieteren. He found the car as a wreck in Argentina and had it restored down there.
Now the year 1917 in combination with the name Aster made us frown. We know of a pre 1914 French Aster and of a post 1920 UK built, but not of anything in between. So we asked Mr. Boval for more details on the car. The answer came swiftly from Philippe Casse / Roland D'Ieteren: "The cast iron block shows the inscription 'Aster-Wembley', it is a 4 cylinder 16 litre. The official Argentinean documents say it was licensed in 1917 for the first time. Yet the engine design suggests a production date of about ten years earlier. (edit.: far before the UK built Asters as mentioned in Georgano...???). The engine performs best when revving at stable low numbers. Possibly it started life as stationary or ship engine. Not strange as Argentinean racing drivers used all kinds of machinery during WW I when Argentinean was neutral. The massive racer is producing more question-marks then answers. Anybody who can fill in one or two blanks? \n This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it '> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it More photos of the Circuit des Ardennes at: this gallery (ValckeClassics)

UPDATE: e-mails from mark Dawber made us clear that there is ample misunderstanding about the years in which Aster was producing. Georgano is giving different figures in diferent editions. And then of course various sources mix up the French and UK built Asters.


#1 2012-07-27 11:37
The Ateliers de Construction Mecanique l'Aster page at Wikipedia includes a link to this page, but the table of engine data suggests that the engine might be an
80 h.p. Four cylinder, Water cooled, side
poppet valves, 14,959cc, Type 410 S. ... unless it was the 70hp aero engine. Unfortunately the article is obviously 'still under construction' so there is nothing definitive.

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