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Hanging on to a 1908 GP Panhard – Levassor

1908 GP Panhard – Levassor. Riding Shot Gunn.

report by Tim Gunn:

In April 2012 I was asked to take an Edwardian ladies’ bicycle to a secret location in the depths of the Norfolk countryside for a photo-shoot. I often get requests to provide bicycles for such occasions; however, this time I had advance warning it was going to be special. I had no idea how special it would be.

Photographer, Nick Clements; the founder of Men’s File magazine had been asked by Fiskens to produce a set of period style images of a very special car. The location was to be a beautiful watermill in Norfolk which resembled the roads of northern France without having to go there.

I drove up to the location to be duly greeted by some familiar faces and a car which I had watched being driven with vigour for as long as I could remember. The 1908 GP Panhard-Levassor; the well known Edwardian beast was to find a new custodian and it was only fitting for the machine to be photographed in a way it had become accustomed to during its life. Nick Clements has a unique eye for photographing period scenes and particularly those of Henri Lartigue; the famous French photographer whose stretched images of Edwardian racing at speed are iconic. The idea for part of the day was to create similar images for the Panhard.

So well sorted is the Panhard, that after a pre-starting procedure and a flick of the starting handle, the Panhard bursts into live, the throttle is blipped and 12.8 Litres of torque rock the car from side to side. Mick had apparently already found a location about 2 miles away to take some images, but Mick’s photographer needed to be hanging out the boot of his car and that car needed a driver. After some discussion, Mick said he would drive it, but the Panhard needed a passenger and Mick suggested me.

At that point, I found myself in the passenger seat of a legendary car and sitting next to the equivalent to the present day Edwardian Michael Schumacher. Everyone was ready to go and we followed the photographer’s car along the single track lane. Before we get to the main road, I’m told to make sure I’m hanging on. By then we have light drizzle and this is the point when I discover why my driver still keeps breaking the hill record at Prescott Speed Hill Climb.

Down with the throttle and the previously suggested advice of 'hanging on' is taken up; the light drizzle now feels like needles and when we get to our destination, I feel like I've just jumped out of a plane. The shear grunt and acceleration of the machine is nothing you can describe in words, only that it is like being scared witless and totally confident at the same time.

Photographs taken, it is time for some lunch and over a ham sandwich and packet of ironically name crisps, my driver proudly shows me his new wrist watch in the style of a rev counter. But Nick was keen to get on with creating the Lartigue style images and had brought with him an entire wardrobe of period style clothing and a makeup artist. I had bought with me a pair of original long leather Edwardian driving coats and we rapidly found ourselves being kitted out as period racing driver and riding mechanic.

Not one for going slow, the first couple runs past Nick in the Panhard; were apparently too fast, and Nick could not catch us. Like a boy being told to go the naughty step, my Edwardian driver tells me he doesn’t do fashion stuff, but we then spend the afternoon driving slowly past Nick to the get the images and FAST in between. As the afternoon went on, it gradually became more difficult to ‘hang on’ and I began to appreciate those drivers and more so; the riding mechanics in the day who sat at speed on gravel roads for up to 9 hours on these pioneer racing beasts.

The resulting images from the day are a masterpeice, but the star of the day was the machine which brought us all together. The 1908 Grand Prix Panhard-Lavasser.  

( special thanks to: Fiskens - Mick Walsh - Nick Clements - Mark Walker – James Mitchell and Julian Balme)

Tuesday, 15 July 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Purposely disabled Peugeot 401 Camionette ?

Peugeot 401 Camionette farm truck

Peter Hill recently purchased this wonderful looking truck.

"Everything appears to be there but the vehicle looks like it has been deliberately disabled at some time in it's life. The fuel pipe has 2" removed, the HT lead is missing and the battery carrier has been deliberately pushed up by a jack so you cannot fit a battery. Is it possible that this was common practise at some time in the past, to avoid taxes?
Information and parts seem to be non existant through the web, does anyone know where I might find more information on these 1935 vehicles?"

editor: dear Peter, Never say never when you're at PreWarCar. You will read an amazing story about reunited parts later this week. So our advise, try a Wanted Peugeot 401 parts advert. Don't blame us when you get inundated with  parts. Especially as it is today the French independence day '14 juillet' the French may do their extra best for you.
Monday, 14 July 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

High-end Model T touring!

T ford_world_tour__in_canyon_del_pato

Report  from Peru:
The Canyon del Plato  is a canyon that little by little becomes less inhabited and cultivated, but where at a given moment only cacti grow. We follow the river Santo and fully enjoy the ride as we circle through an impressive color palette of mountain landscapes. The road is 'paved' with pebbles which is less pleasant for the T Ford. Gradually the valley gets more narrow and the walls of the mountains more perpendicular. Through a car wide tunnel we experience difficulties with oncoming traffic; who's going backwards? With the depth gazing next to you, this is sometimes a risky adventure.

The Canyon del Plato (the canyon of tunnels) does justice to its name as we have to cross thirty tunnels. Suddenly our T begins to sputter between two tunnels. The heat, the dust and the steepness is too much for her. On the last revs Dirk is able to park it in a tunnel, away from the burning sun. The Caveman! Two spark plugs do't do what they're paid for. Cables and plugs are swapped, the pickup unit is checked but nothing seems to help. We take the whole unit out and the mystery reveals itself, some copper dust has gathered between the lips. A double-dutch sneeze from Dirk (suffering from a cold) does the job ! We can move on!

Along the way we camp one more time in the wild and take a dip in the supercool river. After another two days of gently climbing we see the first snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Blanca and is the T Ford at a height of 3 kilometers in Huarez. We made it! so far. 
T... to be continued

Sunday, 13 July 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

What is it? Quiz #374

What is it? Quiz #374

This stubby looking European vehicle is not completely honest about its virtues. Its outer looks send you in a wrong direction. In other words, what you see is not what you get. It was available in the depicted four-door configuration, but also as a two-door. It had a thoroughly modern propulsion system and more than that the company is still in business today. So, over to you. Give us the Marque, the Year and the Model of the car depicted and add any trivial knowledge relevant to this car. Not only to make your editor happy, also to give yourself an edge to other competitors who may come with the same basic facts as you do. In order to have a chance of winning the infamous PreWarCar T-shirt, be sure to check The Rules under 'Read More'. Results will be published next Saturday, July 19.
Saturday, 12 July 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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1951 Riley RMD
British craftsmanship in Californian colours: 1951 Riley RMD dhc...  Go >>