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A 1910 'Lobster' SZ Mystery

1910 unknown_car_with_dutch_registration-1_470
Well, well, that's not the car you would expect in strong reformed Holland of the early 20th century. It's one of the sporty one cylinder Sizaire Naudin of course (listen to that) and contrary to our expectations the Dutch had an official SZ importer in those years. Ed van de Beek spent his Easter holiday sorting out the photo files of his wife's family and stumbled upon this little gem. Details are unknown, apart from a few facts. First there is the driver who can be identified as a brother of Ed's grandfather-in-law. Then there's the registration; the number was issued in the province of Utrecht, "which coincides with the family history", says Ed. Furthermore there is a mysterious name written on the back, saying 'Lobster 1910'. We do not know of any Lobster cars other than this one, but can see why this car was named thus. Just have a look at the side of the car here. We wonder if our 'Lobster' is a one-off coachwork or if this variety is more or less wellknown in the small but worldwide Sizaire Naudin community.

Thursday, 23 April 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Reincarnation of a GP Lorraine Dietrich

A car is born.

If you had been at Silverstone last Saturday, you would have had to work your way through a crowd to get a close view of the car causing such a stir. Photographer Stuart Matthews had to wait 30 minutes before being able to take this picture. The focus of attention was a 1909 Lorraine Dietrich – the result of a heroic ten year rebuild by car restorer extraordinaire Richard Scaldwell.

Scaldwell told us that ‘his favourite car on the whole planet’ is the 1912 Grand Prix Lorraine Dietrich ‘Vieux Charles Trois’ and its history makes fascinating reading, but his car comes from the time immediately after de Dietrich had entered cars in the 1907/8 French Grand Prix and Arthur Duray won the 1906 Circuit de Ardennes. Duray was not only a racing driver but also built experimental racing cars (remember he featured recently in the story of the 1911 FIAT S76?). Scaldwell is from the same mould and his other tour de force is the 5 Litre 1919 V8 J.A.P GN.

Photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue was just 11 years old when he drew this picture of his hero Duray in 1907, with another picture here, and in 1905 captured this image of Duray and his mechanic Franville at the Circuit d’Auvergne.

Having discovered the bare bones of his ’09 De Dietrich, Scaldwell spent ten years searching for and making additional parts, and his methodical research was an essential element in achieving the magnificent result we see today. Geared to do 110 mph at 1500 rpm, the 16½ Litre OHV Colossus is entered for its debut competition at Chateau Impney Hill Climb where it will be up against The Beast of Turin with its 28 Litre OHC engine – also hardly run-in.

(Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy Richard Scaldwell, Dave Biggins, Stefan Marjoram and Stuart Matthews)

Wednesday, 22 April 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A Feuerbach Radiator Mystery (UPDATE: 1912/1913 Apollo)

mystery radiator_1_470

Bruce Woolley from South Africa: "I was wondering if any of your readers may be able to help with this mystery radiator. I'm hoping to find out from what car it is. I've made a close-up from the plate and took a picture from the top side. The mounting holes are 585 mm 23" and 640 mm 23" high."

Tuesday, 21 April 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A delightful Dilambda

A delightful Dilambda

Participants  of the 2013  100 Miles of Amsterdam rally may remember this beautifully mellow Lancia Dilambda from its valiant performance in the 2013 event. Although driver Guido Gast didn't manage to hustle the big tourer to the top of the results table, he did walk away with the coveted prize for Most Original Car – not surprising, as the Viotti-bodied beauty is untouched right down to the original paint. Only the seats have been re-trimmed, after the original leather was used to make shoes during the dark days of the second World War.

The Gast family are only the second owners of this fine motor car, Guido's father and uncle having purchased it in 1960 from its original owner, Mr Bootz, founder of the eponymous Dutch rum company. Bootz had, in fact, acquired the car by accident, after the Saoutchik-bodied Hispano he had ordered proved to be cursed with incurable wheel shimmy. The Lancia was offered by the concessionaire as an alternative, and it proved so capable that it stayed with him for a further 29 years.

The low ownership and beautiful patina make this one of the most charming prewar cars we've seen for some time, and luckily the Gast family aren't afraid to use it, so if you're lucky you may catch a glimpse of it yourself driving near Amsterdam this summer. In the meantime, you can read the full story of the Dilambda in the latest issue of The Automobile, which is out now.

Monday, 20 April 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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1952 Bentley Speed 8
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