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Unidentified wheel of aircraft. Bugatti? (UPDATE - see more details below)

unidentified wheel_of_aircraft_bugatti

A reader has sent us this picture of a wheel and he wonders if it came off an aircraft? Of course, it looks exactly like a Bugatti car wheel, but there are some slight differences. This picture of the wheel beside a car wheel shows how the 'blades' are not so wide and a also bit longer with less material around the centre hub. We cannot see splines in the centre bearing nor can we see any markings on the tyre which might give a clue.
This picture of the reverse side of the wheel does not show a brake drum as expected on a Bugatti car wheel, so what is it?
Over to you - did it come from an aircraft? Or a Bugatti car?

UPDATE:  The French owner has sent more pictures, and tells us the diameter of the wheel ( without tyre) is 525mm. The centre has no splines and is 55mm internal diameter. The tyre is made by Matador in Czechoslovakia size 800 X 150  =  6.00 X 19

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

Far-flung Röhr

Far-flung Röhr

 The first cars arrived in Egypt at the turn of the last century and mostly of French manufacture. By the end of the 1920s, The Royal Automobile Club of Egypt boasted hundreds of members and the country was undergoing rapid redevelopment to accommodate this non-traditional means of transportation. Still, an eight-cylinder Röhr Typ R would have been an exotic sight at the pyramids of Giza. Sadly we don't know the story behind the photograph above – is that an Egyptian registration number or is this a foreign visitor?

These advanced cars were the brainchild of Hans Gustav Röhr, an aviator and engineer who turned his hand to vehicle manufacture in the 1920s. With their silky-smooth eight-cylinder engine, wide track and independent front suspension, Röhrs were technologically advanced, attractive and durable but they never met with the success they deserved. To counteract poor sales, Röhr introduced a much smaller car to cater for the other end of the market. The Röhr Junior was a licence-built Tatra Typ 75 with German-designed bodywork. It was a case of too little, too late, and the firm ceased production of cars in 1935.

Today, for all its many attributes, the Röhr is almost forgotten and surviving cars are very, very rare. If you want to know more, pick up the latest copy of The Automobile magazine, where Werner Schollenberger tells the full story of the marque. If that piques your interest, why not look at the pre-war classifieds where you will find perhaps the only Röhr for sale in the world.
 

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

Renault for a soprano

Renault for a soprano.

If you were in Paris in 1909 you might have watched a performance of Rigoletto starring Dame Nellie Melba and Enrico Caruso and you might have seen Caruso leaving in his type AX Renault which impressed Melba so much she quickly paid Louis Renault a visit at his Paris villa, where he promised to deliver a new 4 cylinder 20HP Type BK Renault.

The first references to Dame Nellie's involvement with the ''horseless carriage'' were in 1892, when she would win first prize for the best-decorated car in the Battle of the Flowers Festival in Nice, an annual event she would attend after performances at the local opera. Her choice of 6-seater Roi de Belges coachwork allowed her to enjoy such passengers as Renoir, Ravel, Verdi, Caruso, Pavlova, Nijinski, Diagilef, Puccini and Toscanini and  her car formed part of wedding procession of George V and Mary on 22 March 1911.

Melba, who maintained homes in New York, London, Paris and Melbourne, also became one of the first female customers of Rolls-Royce, taking delivery in 1911 of a 40/50HP Silver Ghost limousine, a car she cherished and regularly shipped between Britain and Australia along with her chauffeur. 
Dame Nellie Melba was without doubt Australia's first international superstar and her exceptional car is offered for sale here.


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

1923 Gérin Aérodyne re-visited

1923 gerin_aerodyne_revisited_470

You may remember when Reg Winstone displayed his unique 1923 Gérin Aérodyne on our stand at 2012 Retromobile and was seen again this year on Bonham's stand where it found its new owner, Olivier. He sends us some pictures of the engine after stripping it down and investigation. "...We are making progress on the Gerin and every time we take something apart we are taken back by the engineering involved with the car. For example the piston top are domed (Hemi), the valves are domed, the springs are conical (Race cars in the US just started using this concept 20 years ago), check out the gear system for the cam shafts (no backlash possible) etc.."

It was built to Gérin's design by high performance experts Janvier Sabin of Montrouge  and in their workshop they were also working on the 10 litre twin cam straight eight for the Djelmo land speed record car. Jacques Gérin received his training in Voisin's aircraft factory where he was influenced by high quality engineering and fertile minds.

Olivier has prepared a video graphic for us of the 2-litre, 4 cylinder overhead valve engine with dual ignition (probably from aviation practice of belt and braces rather than combustion efficiency). The castings are notably clean for a one-off and even the rocker shafts run in roller bearings.  The whole engine and drive unit is designed to be removable/replaceable in eight minutes flat with only three spanners.

Joris: "Do you expect to have the engine running this week?" Olivier: "No it will not we are waiting for a head gasket, the engine will run later next week. We are remaking the missing transmission gears and hopefully by the end of summer the car will drive. I will keep you updated."

Read the detailed story of this unique car in The Automobile - October 2012, and watch Reg Winstone share his expert and informed opinion in this video.

(Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy Olivier Cerf and author)

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

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1954 Jaguar XK120 convertible
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