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Wooed in a W.O.

1929 bentley_45_litre_vandenplas_robert_glover_470

If you were a young lady in 1957 England you would expect her choice of interesting young gentlemen to be driving old Austin Sevens or Bullnose Morris cars rather than a new Austin A 35 or Hillman Minx but Sylvia was attracted to a different class of boyfriend – one who drove a 1929 Bentley 4½-Litre Tourer with “4 seater sports coachwork” as ordered by Bentley when the car was delivered new to Vanden Plas as a bare chassis at GBP 1035. 

Sylvia learned drive in this car in 1957 and in October of that year was married to the owner at Alveston Manor in picturesque Stratford-on-Avon in Warwickshire. Every year the adventurous young couple would tour Europe in their trusty Bentley. With a GB sticker on the rear wing, luggage strapped to the spare wheel on the back, they would drive to Lydd Airport in Kent and load the car onto a Bristol freighter operated by Silver City Airways.

Once in Calais, they would head south …. “always camping and roughing it next to the car”. Sylvia always kept the car looking spick and span and it’s testament to how well she and her husband looked after the Bentley so subsequent owners could also maintain the habit and present it in the fabulous original condition we see it today.

Robert Glover invited Sylvia down to his showroom at Bicester Heritage to re-acquaint her with the old Bentley and the sprightly 83 year old grinned from ear to ear as she was taken for a high speed run around their test track where she was reminded of the superb performance and, in her words, “wonderful exhaust note”. She returned home with her head full of happy memories of proper motoring and I hope whoever is the next owner of this car will be as lucky as the girl who was wooed in a W.O.

(Text Robin Batchelor,  pictures courtesy Robert Glover and Simon Clay photos)

Friday, 07 November 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

One day all this will be yours

Aero Minx streamlined saloon

You may remember Tim Green's Aero Minx project? Due to the project he was a magnet for all Aero Minx material as you can imagine. Tim writes: "This photo was sent to me by Mel Bray. It is of his late Father with his beloved Aero Minx Streamlined Saloon early in WWII. Mr Bray compiled a page in his photo album entitled 'I leave all this' before going off to war. The page included snaps of his Mum and Dad, his sister, his dog Soot and his car! Mel says that his dad must have been very fortunate or gone to some lengths to acquire the car as he was very young and the dashing little motor would probably have been somewhat beyond his purse. Even more remarkable was that on his death only a few years ago he was found to be carrying this picture in his wallet still!"

(Tim Green, Aero Minx Register)

Thursday, 06 November 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Across the Channel with Clément-Bayard

Across the Channel with Clément-Bayard.

On Saturday 8 November an auction will be held in Lyons at the sumptuous Hôtel des Ventes des Brotteaux by Aguttes Auction House. The opening lots starting at 2.30pm consist of automobilia with a very nice collection of Dinky Toys, a good book collection of Ferrari interest, badges, pins,mascots, prints and posters and ending with an exceptional collection of childrens’ pedal cars. But before the cars start at 16.30pm, look at the 2-wheel offers. A wonderful Peugeot V-Twin Paris-Nice motorcycle from C 1913 is offered complete with sidecar all in ‘barn-find’ condition and retaining much original paint. Acquired by the grandfather of the current owner on the eve of the first world war, this bike has always been kept in the family property in Touraine. It is belt-driven via a 3-speed English Armstrong hub gear and will reward its next owner with race-bred provenance and pre-WWl authenticity.

Amongst the cars is a 1932 Delage D8 Landaulet Coupe Chauffeur Carrosserie Binder (Binder being the coachbuilder Henri Binder who also built the coachwork gracing the extraordinary Bugatti Royale Type 41 in the Schlumpf Collection) A contemporary motoring magazine tells us Delage means ”Hard work, diligence, constant search for perfection”. Not so much an example of engineering as a principle. Beneath the bonnet of this unique model is the 4 litre straight eight engine designed by chief engineer Maurice Gaultier and its low revving growl echoes seductively around the Connolly hide hood and roof.

Adolphe Clément-Bayard was a French entrepreneur. An orphan who became a blacksmith and a Compagnon du Tour de France, he went on to race and manufacture bicycles, pneumatic tyres, motorcycles, automobiles, aeroplanes and airships. This auction offers three of his cars, the earliest being a 1904 AC2 Double Phaeton which came from the Clément-Bayard family and still enjoys its glorious patina in original condition. This exceptional car participated in the inauguration of Eurotunnel rally in May 1994, selected to represent the year 1904 by the Automobile Club de France and the Royal Automobile Club in London, and you can guess who built the first airship to cross the channel! (In 1910).

The 1911 Clément Bayard CB 11 has been in the hands of the Clément-Bayard family from new and was used around the estate as a farm hack and to run local errands. It will need some work to get it running, but such a vehicle deserves to be preserved and used. The 1913 Clément Bayard 4M Cabriolet is smaller and lighter than its predecessors with a 1359cc engine cooled by water running through the radiator positioned behind the engine for protection, like the Renault AX and EK which found the Clément-Bayard serious competition for their market.

MG enthusiasts will be excited by the opportunity to acquire a 1934 supercharged J2 which comes with a full history folder of work done. Phoenix crank and Cosworth pistons verify the description ‘full race’ given to the 747cc engine and the marque specialist who completed the ground-up restoration will include a spare Volumex supercharger kit. Stiff competition for the MG J2 in the day was the Singer ‘Le Mans’ and this 1939 example has been beautifully restored after importation from Uruguay in 1995. Its 4-speed close ratio gearbox, hydraulic brakes and wire wheels hint at a very capable competition car.

(Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy Aguttes Auction House)
Wednesday, 05 November 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A French Special Mystery

paul kuster_mathis_special_470

Paul Kuster found this rather special Special a few months ago in France and since than has been researching the identity and history of the car with the help of Yves Rebet. So far he has found a lot already. The car was constructed in 1948 by Guy Henault who was 19 years old back then. Correct, Guy is now 85... The car was made making use of solely pre-war parts. Paul Kuster identified a Mathis frontaxle, but is not yet sure about the chassis. He learned the car had a Mathis or Citroen engine, which was lost at some point after which the car made use of a post-war Simca unit. The car had at least 6 owners over the years but most probably several more. The question is if the car is known by one or more of our french readers? Paul would like to know which exact chassis was involved. And also if contemporary photos are known showing the car parked, on the road, or possibly on a circuit.

Tuesday, 04 November 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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