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What happend to this Lancia Astura Pinin Farina?

lancia astura_in_the_netherlands_470

Tjerk Neijmeijer writes:
"Talking to a director of a company I'm involved with here in Bermuda where I live, he all of a sudden showed me this picture of his mother, their vehicle and his father who is standing in the window behind the hood. I think it is pretty clear what it is (in my opinion it is a 3rd series Lancia Astura with a Pinin Farina body), but besides getting confirmed what it is, I would like to know if any of your readers could shed light on the question if the car still exists? This picture was taken in 1952 in Diepenveen, next to Deventer in The Netherlands.

The owner of the vehicle was a dentist there and the license number is believed to be: L59274. The colour of the car was dark blue fenders and roof with grey sides. "Beautiful' I was told. The car was bought second hand shortly before this picture was taken from the original owner who's last name starts with 'H' and who's name is in these electrical boxes that have 'HHH' on them (at least in NL). The last H stands for Hengelo and the first H was for the original owner's last name. The vehicle was kept for a while when is was sold on to finance the purchase of a Bentley."

Thursday, 13 August 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Buying a Bugatti by the kilo... (corr.: Ray Jones)


Chris Leigh-Jones writes: "Charleston SC USA is not a large place but is home to one of the most notable but probably most unknown Bugatti enthusiasts. After the war, Ron (Ray!) Jones moved his family from the USA to France selling most he owned and buying everything he could from the original Bugatti factory. Anecdotally he told me the foreman would weigh the scrap by hand, guess the material and offer a price on that basis. I visited the family a few weeks back and came away with the enclosed photo. The body is replacement, all else is original, some 300 bhp and with history. The engine apparantly has a few small cracks but is pretty drivable and heck, what is a little steam from the exhaust to stop the fun!"

Wednesday, 12 August 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

The China adventure, Swiss preparations

4C Rallye, Report of a subscriber


OldHenry’s adventures in China, a preparation report from Eric Hubacher from Switzerland who will participate in the 2015 China Classic Car Challenge

Part 1, Registration and preparation of the car

Thanks to, my wife Inés and I can take part in the Classic Car Challenge China. First, we had to complete the registration process with many pictures of the car and documents to send to China. That was at the beginning of July followed by a long e-mail exchange about custom bonds and fright costs. The Chinese organizer was always a big help and cleared all uncertainties. On July 28, all details were settled and the logistics company informed me that shipping would start on July 30 in Langenbach near Munich.

Pic 1
Now I was in big hurry. I had to get the car ready very quickly. First I checked all points on my maintenance and security checklist. Next all the fittings had to be greased, the clutch and brake pedals readjusted and the motor oil changed.
After a long test run, I started to pack all necessary spare parts since the chance to find any Ford Model A spare parts in China would be very low. For the Chinese customs authority, it was important to prepare a list and pro forma invoice for all tools and spare parts including the weight of each part.

Pic 2
I stowed all these parts under the back seat of my car.

Pic 3

Part 2, Transfer to the logistics company

It was now too late to send my car with a covered transport vehicle to Langenbach, so I decided to drive it to .... (continued under Read More) 

Tuesday, 11 August 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Testing a Type 55 up to Prescott

To Prescott in a Bugatti...tbc

Battery isolator switch- ON. Check.
Blower oil supply 3 turns anti-clockwise . Check.
1 squirt KI-Gas. Check.
Ignition lever to retard position. Check.
I am concentrating on the starting procedure for a 1933 Type 55 Bugatti which has been thoughtfully typed out by Tim Dutton who maintains the car for the owner. It helps prepare you for a journey in a car which is rightly demanding of its driver.
Push the key in to engage the starter and the engine bursts into life with a tremendous sound of mechanical activity. Revolving and reciprocating parts, gears meshing and exhaust gases tumbling out behind you with a roar. A beast woken from its slumber is immediately ready for action.
Well not quite. ' Advance the ignition lever and allow to idle for 2-3 minutes before driving'. Check.
 Once the oil and water have warmed up I engage first gear (with the smallest characteristic crunch of Bugatti gearboxes) and move off with the sound of tyres on gravel drowned out by the glorious growl of gears driving the supercharger.
The steering is heavy at low speed and I smile at the memory of my grandfather teaching me to hold the steering wheel 'so your hands are never seen above the level of the windscreen.' Speed builds up quickly as I go up through the gears - the steering becomes much lighter and the whole car is a joy . The engine is almost identical to the Type 51 2.3 litre supercharged Grand Prix motor but with lower compression and 4 speed transmission is via the touring gearbox with central ball change .
The deep foot well gives a comfortable driving position and as I settle down to some serious driving, it is easy to taste the race-bred pedigree. The route to Prescott took me through narrow country lanes but I kept reminding myself the car belonged to somebody else and I was content to drive well within its limits.  But it is not a car designed to go slowly and before I know it, the car is approaching the next corner a bit too quickly.
The brakes do their job with no fuss, and I wait to see what awaits  me around the corner. A tractor? A horse rider? Some cyclists? No - another long stretch of open road and the supercharger instantly gives the torque that makes acceleration so effortless.  Mile after mile I get to know the car better and better and the car rewards the driver in abundance.
My grandfather was right - driving is an art, and sitting in the driver's seat of this car transports the driver back to a different era and it's easy to think how many of us have one foot firmly placed in pre-war motoring days.
The marshal directs me into the Bugatti Trust car park - hallowed ground open only to the very few - and despite the background sound of cars ascending this famous hill during the VSCC's most popular event, the crescendo of this Bugatti's sound attracts the attention of all the nearby cameras.
Petrol tap off . Check.
Supercharger oil feed off.Check.
Battery isolator switch off. Check.

Words/pictures Robin Batchelor
Monday, 10 August 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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Post War Choice

1959 Cadillac Série 63 Sedan DeVille
Dusty lady: 1959 Cadillac Série 63 Sedan DeVille...  Go >>