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The response to the quiz #426 was heartwarming and most of you knew it was a Grégoire. Many of you could also tell in extenso about the Rally de Saint-Sébastien in which it took part. So congratulations to Thierry, Fedor, Hunault, Gerd, Olivier, Kevin, Craig, David and Frank for your correct identification of the Grégoire. However, winning is in the details and in this case the most correct and elaborate answer was given by Kevin Atkinson:
“Grégoire recognised the formula for the San Sebastian rally (September 1912) rewarded heavy loads and long distances so sent their vehicle to Posen in Poland (although others started as far afield as Russia). The car, complete with its caravan body was nicknamed La Menagerie Grégoire, and weighed around 3 tons- as a result the chassis was strengthened. The engine was 79mm x 150mm. Its load included the experienced rally driver Jean Porporato, Mr Picard (the Berlin agent for Grégoire) and his wife, plus 8 more people, chimney pots, flower pots and a bird cage. After a journey of some 1470 miles over 7 days (at 25mph!) they won the event with a score of 144.9 points- easily beating an Hispano-Suiza to second place (116.6 points). ...”
Two small remarks. First, two of you mentioned the Grégoire winning the Concours d'Elégance (also mentioned in Le Sport Universel Illustré!), but I do not believe that is true. The Concours for closed cars was won by Repusseau with his Delage. Second, the Grégoire won Class A for the non-russian drivers. Class B for Russian drivers, starting from St. Petersburg, was won by Aschoff on a Métallurgique, having scored more points than the Gégoire. However, due to a change of rules after the departure of the Russian participants, the jury decided that there wouldn't be an overall winner.
In our case we have, so congrats Kevin with your third win, which comes with our offer to become a jury member. We would like to invite you to come up with next week's quiz. The procedure for obtaining your T-shirt will probably be familiar to you!
We love the infectious smile on the face of today's lady and we suspect she may have parked beside the sea? She enjoys the breeze in her hair and the smell of the sea in the air. Perhaps she will buy an ice cream before throwing off her sandals and socks and going for a paddle.
Her pretty summer frock is long enough to get a bit wet, but she doesn't care - she's on holiday and the hot sun will soon dry it.
We have tried to accurately identify the car for you and have so far thought it's a late thirties Renault, but the sun is beating down, the warm summer breeze is blowing through the open office window, so we're off to buy an ice cream and hope you will tell us if we're right about the car?
Text Robin Batchelor, photo from archives.
An interesting car is coming up for sale in the Historics At Brooklands sale on Saturday August 20th. After we have been around old cars for a long enough period of time, we eventually begin to form an idea of what our dream car might look like.
The 'Ian Pitney Special' is just such a car. Ian Pitney's father started his restoration business in 1973 and Ian took over in 2002 making aluminium panels using traditional techniques - turning flat aluminium panels into perfect curves for the pre and post-war cars that pass through their workshop.
It was in 2013 that Ian had what he calls a 'shower moment' and decided he would put all this experience into 'something special' for himself. Using a 1934 Bentley 3½ litre chassis, the seating position was moved back a little in order to achieve that perfect profile, giving plenty of room for the large engine and thus producing a long bonnet to contrast the neat tail fashioned after the Monza Alfa. Wings give a nod to Delage design and the wide-bore outside exhaust produces that throaty roar enjoyed by the Bentley Boys back in the day.
The red leather bucket seats look well inside the beautiful black coachwork and the proper Bentley instruments and steering wheel finish off the cockpit perfectly.
The superb workmanship used throughout can be seen where the cockpit structure is drilled to minimise weight and Ian can be rightly proud of the finished product.
The other well-proportioned sports car we like is the 1922 AC 12/40 boat-tailed sports with Anzani engine - one of just two known examples known. Rare and desirable.
Two very different cars, but we could easily find space for both and enjoy the two different styles of sporting motoring.
Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy Historics At Brooklands.
There were much larger and much noisier engined cars, yet without a shade of doubt: at last weekend's glorious sunny VSCC Hill Climb weekend at Prescott the Buick engined Mitchell Board Racer was the most impressive new appearance.
The fields around Prescott were packed with campers, the pre-war parking packed with tourers and saloons who all came to enjoy the track and the orchard. This year saw a return to the three day format where friday drivers could tackle the 'long course' which was introduced in 1960 and extended the course to 1127 yards, but saturday and sunday was the traditional 880 yard course to ensure continuity with established record times.
It was just last year that James Baxter broke the fabled 40-second barrier for Pre-War cars and flew up the hill in his ERA R4A recording a time of 39.68 seconds, and his offer to walk the hill this year with fellow competitors proved popular and several drivers said his advice and observations helped them improve their times. Baxter was heard to say, "You really shouldn't trust me though, having lifted my own car up onto two wheels on Friday! Hey ho!"
The paddock was filled with cars - old favourites and newcomers like Steve Lister's Freikaiserwagen with its rear-mounted 1096 cc V Twin. The original car appeared at Prescott's first 'Open' meeting in 1938 and the new timing device worked perfectly - except for the Freikaiserwagen which was too low to break the timing beam and passed under it instead of through it. Following a few mods, it set the inaugural record of 47.62 seconds and ever since that first meeting, the 'Open' and 'Vintage' Hill Records have been the ultimate goal for the VSCC's finest drivers and machines.
Once the competitors paused for lunch, it was time to wander through the orchard car park and explore the extraodinary collection of visitors' Pre-War cars. We noticed a beautiful 1921 Bullnose Morris Sports with the mid-day sun reflecting off its polished aluminium bodywork and after meeting endless friends enjoying picnics, we were invited to join the BMW enthusiasts with a glass of champagne and toast the marque's first 100 years. The programme had a very good 4-page potted history.
Marshalls could be recognised by their orange overalls huddled in the shade enjoying a hard earned rest after working since dawn to ensure everything ran smoothly. A marvellous breed of volunteers without whom the event would not take place.
It was 1920s Brooklands that coined the phrase " The right crowd and no crowding" and it sums up the atmosphere at Prescott - a large gathering of like-minded folk out to enjoy their shared hobby. All ages and all walks of life who celebrate their love of motoring with friends and whether under canvas, or in more comfortable accomodation, this date is firmly written in their diaries at the start of every year and despite changing times, the Vintage Sports Car Club always manage to conjure up the right formula of safety, freedom and entertainment in this wonderful home of The Bugatti Owners' Club who had the best tip of the century from VSCC to purchase the land in 1937 and develop the venue into what we enjoy today.
Text/pictures Robin Batchelor and JB
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