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Brochure : Darracq 20/28 1907


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A not so excellent Excelsior photo?

excelcior cyclecar_470

Matthieu Cuppens from Belgium found this intriguing picture of an unidentified Grand Sport. He wonders if we are looking at an Excelsior racing car. This primarily based on the general appearance and the radiator shape. And of colurse, as Matthieu is from Belgium, and the photo is from Belgium , Matthieu is hoping it is a Belgian made car. Too bad the photo is of such poor quality. Not really simple to see a lot of detail. The best visible part outside the radiator is the steering linkage right behind the frontwheel. Any memories...?
Sunday, 24 January 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

What is it? Quiz #412

Quiz #412

We were pleased to find these pictures which give such clear detail, but we had to ask our friends what it was. Now we know, but do you? The car was made in France in 1920 and although we don't know how many were made, production was still active in 1923. The unique design incorporates fresh French thinking - rear V twin engine with radiator alongside with connections to each cylinder. We will leave you to explore the pictures and decide whether the engine and rear axle really are one fixed unit, and tell us what you think of the front suspension? Start with the name of the car, then the more information the better. Check the rules by clicking 'Read More'.

Saturday, 23 January 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

The Slim Lady 'Fatman' Mystery (upd.: Stutz, Cadillac or French?)

the slim_lady_fatman_mystery-470

When we received this lovely picture from the nice people at Retromobile we all tried to answer the questions it contained. Are the overalls cotton or linen? We don't care - what's the car!? And how about the steering wheel? We have visited the steering wheel design before, HERE, and quick research shows various designs were available for the driver with a waistline to match his appetite. These days, it is not politically correct to say the *F* word, but the manufacturers called it the 'Fatman' steering wheel and they sold like hot cakes! They folded in such a way as to ease access to the driving seat. Actually, the Neville company called it the 'More Room Steering Wheel' and took out a patent in 1915.

Did our slim lady slide in through a door or climb over the side? Let's see what we know. It's a high quality tourer with leather upholstery, perhaps no weather protection, and a passenger-operated spotlight for reading signs on night rallies. We think  it's American, and right hand drive (however the RHD could lead us to Delage or similar as well). Lincoln offered these steering wheels to their customers, so did Ford and Buick. You will know better than us, so please tell us what you think about the car - perhaps a well-known racing car? It's a pity we don't have more pictures from the photo shoot because we bet she has a pretty smile and all we have is this blank expression. Never mind - get along to Retromobile in Paris and enjoy the smile in the exhibition of Jacques-Henri Lartigue's photographs. It is his mistress Renée Perle, holding the windscreen instead of the steering wheel.

Update: the french fatman steering wheel as mentioned by Detlef Kayser

(Text Robin Batchelor, picture courtesy Retromobile)

Friday, 22 January 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Tourist Trophy Trio

Tourist Trophy Trio

The Ulster Tourist Trophy race may not have quite the same romantic cachet as motor sport events held in Le Mans or Monaco, but for local enthusiast Simon Thomas the now little-remembered races held between 1928 and 1936 have long held a special fascination. For years, Simon was content to indulge his interest by collecting programmes and memorabilia from the races, but always hoped to one day own a genuine TT car himself. The dream came true in 2001 when he acquired a Fiat 508S Balilla. When bought, its exact history was sketchy, but using his unique base of knowledge and reference library, he was able to narrow it down as the car driven in both 1935 and '36 Ulster TTs by F.H. French-Davis. The car was duly restored back to TT specification.

In 2010 Simon added a second TT car to his collection, this time a 1934 Jensen-bodied Ford V8, one of three similar cars that took part in that year's event. Again, Simon's own research led to the discovery of the car's true identity – it was the car entered by Stanley Wright and carried race number 5, and is pictured half-hidden behind car number 6 in the period photograph here. This car has also been returned to TT specification. Also in 2010, Simon completed his Tourist Trophy Trio with the acquisition of a 1931 Austin Seven Super Sports. This car had led a chequered life, ending up in Canada by the turn of the 21st Century. Now returned to Ulster, and looking much as it did when it competed in the '30s, Simon Thomas is justifiably proud of it and the other vehicles in his unique collection of TT cars.

For a better look at the collection, pick up the February edition of The Automobile, which takes an in-depth look at all three of these historically significant competition cars.

Thursday, 21 January 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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