A Theodore Lafitte cyclecar made in Paris
Burdick’s Chocolate & Walpole Creamery Model T Tour




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GN Madness; What could possibly go wrong!!!!

GN Madness; What could possibly go wrong!!!!

Once I realised spending my inheritance on paying off some of the mortgage would save us zero money. Combined with the fact there was a GN coming up for sale in France, I could tell there was trouble ahead. As much as I tried to resist, GN madness prevailed! I negotiated the price to almost affordable and then a deal was struck!
So far so good I thought, then there was the election.... threatening the exchange rate going to parity a world of pain ensued! As a deposit had been paid, there was no time to go see her (by now she was called Geraldine) so it was buy unseen or bust!!! I had to accept I had to be brave (or some may say stupid), so I paid while I could still afford her!!!
A quick call to Cotswold Carriers and delivery was sorted from Concept Restoration in Orval France. Delivery has been arranged just in time for Prescott with her insured on her French paperwork.
Currently I still have no idea how to start her or the order to select the gears....though a kind gentleman from the Longstone Tyres family is letting me visit for a crash course prior to her arrival.
Domino and I are now proud owners of a GN. What could possibly go wrong!!!!

Words and photos: Pete Docker

This weekend (August 5 and 6), the famous Prescott Hill climb takes place. The undoubted ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Vintage Sports-Car Club year, takes its traditional slot on the first weekend in August, with 250 Pre-war Racing and Sports-Cars taking on the challenge of the traditional 880 yard course – first established by the VSCC in 1938. For more information, visit their website.
If you are going to the event, please send us your photos: >Click here<

Tuesday, 01 August 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Summertime at the German Lower Rhine Region

Since 2006, in the first weekend of August, you can spot a conspicious amount of classic cars on the road, and they all have one thing in common: they are heading towards the old water castle "Schloss Dyck" near Mönchengladbach. If you have not been there, you just wouldn´t believe the number of cars displayed. In 2006, the Classic-Days started with "only" 500 cars. One year later, you already could count 4700 classics (cars, not visitors!) and this year there will be roundabout 7000 cars, distributed on the wide area around the castle. But it´s not only the amount of cars, that makes the Classic Days such a fantastic event; it´s the stunning mixture of low cost daily drivers up to inestimable over the top classics.

I just remember my first visit at the Classic Days, that must have been about seven or eight years ago. My good friend Uwe drove us with his series-one Land-Rover swb. Our friend Tom on the passenger seat and my brother and me in the rear. There was a small traffic jam in front of the entrance and we enjoyed the look on a Lamborghini Countach behind us. And then we reached the reed-labyrinth, jumped off the Landy and looked around. I had never seen something like this before and just as my heart slowly calmed down, I heard a deep roar, followed by a bloodcurdling scream. And for a slit second, I saw an unbelievable fast white shadow through the reed, that of course was a Blower-Mercedes at full throttle. And every time, I think of Dyck, I remember this first seconds after jumping off Uwes Landy. It´s really beyond belief, what we have seen at Dyck over the last years. We saw the Silver Arrows of Auto-Union and Daimler-Benz, the Bugatti-Royale Esders (the original car, today with the Binder body and some years before, the Schlumpf-reproduction), the Opel RAK-2, we saw bodys by Saoutchik, Erdmann & Rossi, Figoni & Falaschi, dozends of Bentleys, Rolls-Royce, Mercedes Blowers, Delahaye, Delage, Alfa Romeo, Locomobile, Voisin, Alvis, Lagonda and more and more and more... But will we see this year? I think, this year, there will be one highlight, it will be difficult to top in the next years: Duncan Pittaway will bring his "Beast of Turin", the mighty Fiat S76 and I really worry about the old window glasses of the castle, as I was lucky to see (and hear) the Beast in action in Paris last year.

Also impressing, the Auto-Union C-Type "Bergrennwagen" with its twin tired rear axle, that will be driven by five times LeMans-winner Frank Biela. And Frank Biela will not be the only hero on the track. Famous drivers, like Jochen Mass, Ellen Lohr, Karl Wendlinger, Roland Asch and of course Walter Röhrl together with his long time co-pilot Christian Geistdörfer will be seen on the track. And as a personal highlight, there will be a reunion with Heidi Hetzer and her beloved (and sometimes also cursed) "Hudo", the Hudson eight, in which Heidi travelled around the world. And there is one more car, I want to mention: The reproduction of the 1888 "Flockenwagen", the first electric car in Germany (and maybe in the world!?). The original car was built by Andreas Flocken, an agricultural engineer, in Coburg/Upper Franconia. But nothing more, than some drawings and some newspaper-articles about the car remained. So Mr. Franz Haag, an automobile-appraiser from Bavaria built a reproduction of the car in 2010 and we will be able to see this amazing vehicle, silently driving on the small roads around the castle. And as it is the 12th year of the Classic Days, there will be a bunch of 12-Cyl. PreWar-Cars displayed. OK, this are some good reasons to visit the Classic Days, but I can promise, that there will be MUCH more to see. It´s just fantastic to see the "highlights" around the castle, but there is also the "Miscanthus-Feld", a big labyrinth of reed, that is used as a parking lot for club-presentations and for visitors with classic cars. But if you think, that you will only see the "bread and butter" cars, you are totally wrong. OK, there are not that many prewar-cars on the Miscanthus-Feld, but have you ever seen three Iso Grifo 7Litri in a line? And the line also featured one small block Grifo, a Rivolta and a Lele. You stroll around, pass some daily driving Volkswagen Beetles, some 70s Mercedes/Opel/Ford and between them, you spot a Sbarro or an Isdera or a 30s Rolls-Royce, or... And that is another amazing fact: On every visit at Dyck, I saw at least one or two cars, I´ve never seen before. And that not on the area around the castle. No, I´m talking about the public parking on the Miscanthus-Feld! So I think, there are a lot of reasons to visit the Classic Days. And please don´t miss the chance to see Duncan´s Beast in action! But don´t get too close! The Beast will not bite, but it will spit fire!
Text & Photos: Hubertus Hansmann

Monday, 31 July 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

The Launch and Decline of the V-8; part 2

The Launch and Decline of the V-8; part 2
Last week, we published part 1 of this article about the launch and decline of the V8 engine. Today the final part. Enjoy.

De Dion Bouton was the first company to manufacture and market a V-8 motor car for consumer use. The first V-8 was available from July 1909, boasting a power output of 35hp, only marginally better than that of the bigger four-cylinder models available, but with a wheelbase of 3.5m, by some margin the largest production chassis to date, the installation of substantial coachwork was certainly possible. Between 1909 and 1914 Type Approval was sought for 12 V-8 variants, resulting in a wide choice of models being produced.  In 1914 alone there were six V-8 options for customers to choose from, with power outputs ranging from 24hp to 100hp, although some of the Types were only physically distinguished by the option of bevel or worm final drive. 
The launch of the V8 engine was met with both considerable press interest following its launch at the Turin Motor Show and general scepticism amongst other motor manufacturers. It is telling that no other French manufacturer followed the example of De Dion Bouton in launching their own V8. In a marketplace that was feeling the competitive price pressures, especially from the high-volume North American companies who were establishing a significant presence in Europe, the launch of a £1,000 car, was a courageous step to take. Whilst no other European manufacturers followed De Dion Bouton into this sector of the market, it nevertheless set the standard and it is generally acknowledged that Cadillac used the De Dion Bouton V8 as the basis for its own production, improving on some of its early shortcomings, in particular the modest power output. 
Following the declaration of hostilities in 1914 significant numbers of completed vehicles were shipped to the USA to maintain some commercial momentum for the company, and this is where most of the extant vehicles emanated from. Post-war there were 25hp and 18/20hp V8 options available for 1921/1922, and in 1923 the final V8, the 25/50hp Type IR, was launched.
Conducting research on the V-8s has its frustrations. Whilst the first V8 engine was launched to the press and the motoring public at the end of 1909, and was also featured in the factory-produced catalogues, issued at the end of September 1909, there is no evidence that any vehicle actually appeared in that year or even early in 1910. Very often the proliferation of contemporary magazine reviews and photographic references is a strong indication of both production and public interest in a particular model.  In this context, there are very few articles on the early De Dion Bouton V-8. It is impossible to determine the number of V-8 equipped chassis manufactured in Puteaux, but the production run for each Type was inevitably small given the luxury nature of the product and the associated price tag. It may be that no more than several hundred vehicles were produced over six years, based on the chassis numbers of the existing vehicles. Of these there are only six examples known worldwide at present: a 1912 Type DM and a 1914 Type EY reside in the Nethercutt Collection in California, there is a fine Type EF from 1913 in the UK, two examples are in Germany, and one in France.
Michael Edwards is preparing a volume on De Dion Bouton motor cars from 1905 – 1914, and would welcome any information on the whereabouts of any examples of these elusive V-8 vehicles, as well as the larger engined, 25/30hp four-cylinder vehicles from the period.

If you have any information on these cars, please send us an email and we will forward it to Michael: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sunday, 30 July 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

What is it? Quiz #450


This Saturday, the car we are looking for was the prototype for a small car for the masses. It was built in the mid 20s and featured a lot of modern technologies. On the photo, you can see at least half of the production (most likely even two-thirds). At least two open cars and one closed limousine were built. One open car still exists. Two more hints: The engine was built by a famous airship company and it could be cranked from inside of the car.

So we want you to tell us about the car shown here, about the man behind its construction and the technical features it carried. Give us your best shot plus any (trivial) information you may have at hand. As you know the details often determine the winner! As usual, take care not to use more than 100 words and send in your answer before Monday.

Good luck!


Saturday, 29 July 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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