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Who knew of Mercedes’ 540K Stromlinienwagen?

Who knew of Mercedes’ 540K Stromlinienwagen?

We were aware of something special Mercedes was to bring over to Pebble Beach this year. What exactly has been made public earlier this week – it’s a one-off 540K Streamliner – or Stromlinienwagen - of 1938-vintage. Thanks to its slippery shape, hammered from lightweight metals and born from windtunnel testing, plus with a supercharged eight cylinder it was supposedly quick enough to win the Berlin-Rome race of 1938. But that never happened, and the car languished for many decades.

Mercedes-Benz Classic can only be applauded to take on this job. The company says the exhaustive restoration was carried out using only techniques of the period to give the spectacular car the new lease of life its should have had much earlier. But how much of the original car was there before work started? The streamliner is said to have been owned by Dunlop in its early life, while later being used by the United States Army. Next it supposedly returned to Dunlop and to Mercedes-Benz once more. That was in 1948, when the aluminum body was scrapped. Supposedly only the chassis and running gear were kept. Don’t get us wrong, we love Mercedes for doing this. But how come we have never seen any other old pictures than the ones spread around now?

(picture courtesy Mercedes-Benz) 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Lakester – like it or loathe it?

Lakester – like it or loathe it?

We know many of you out here aren’t big fans of customizing. We can live with that. But how about going all the way when you decide to tackle a customizing job? We say it can lead to something very cool. Take this Lakester, based on a 1928 Ford. As you may know a Lakester is a post-war invention, like most stuff originating from the Hot Rod scene. But this one oozes an atmosphere that is just right.

Highlights include a custom ‘aerosculpted’ nose cone, sourced from a ‘38 Ford, modified rear from a ’27 car, shaved door handles, engine cover and side panels with louvres everywhere, hand painted pinstriping and least as many mods under the bonnet - the exposed intake stacks of the 350 cubic inches V8 looking through the cover give a clue to that. Suspension and chassis also come from a variety of sources, most of them pre-war or just post war. Shortly, it’s been fabricated with all the right parts for the period – stuff that you could find in scrapyards for shillings and dimes, though this one will have cost considerably more. Wonder what it will do when it comes under the hammer today with Barrett-Jackson. We like it. Do you?

(Pictures courtesy Barrett-Jackson)
Tuesday, 12 August 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Steam driven

Steam driven

We are guessing there have to be more steam fans among the British than from any other nation in the world, with steam fairs and steam rallies organized throughout the year. Still then it’s been 46 years exactly this day since the last steam powered train puffed its way over the sceptred isle following the national train table. Since that August-day in 1968 the Brits have only become more obsessed with steam power.

That makes it seem strange that there has never been a serious attempt of a steam car from Great Britain. The major steam car club is in fact British, but the majority of their cars originate from the US. We’ve really tried to find them and came up with plenty of one-offs, a few buses, some milk floats, one or two American Stanley steamers with British coachwork and quite a few post war attempts. But there has never been anything close to proper steam car production coming from the Brits, it seems. Or do we miss something here?

(Picture courtesy Beaulieu motor museum)

Monday, 11 August 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Monopoly motors

Monopoly motors

We’re pretty sure that many, many, of our readers will have this little pre-war model car tucked away somewhere in a cupboard, on the attic or in their holiday home. It’s the Monopoly car of course, and like ourselves you too, most probably, insisted on being the car when playing the game as a kid. As a matter of fact Monopoly’s inventor Charles Darrow was born on this day in 1889, coming up with the board game in 1934. Question is: what car inspired him for the singleseater (or two-seat?) roadster that we all know so well? This perhaps, or how about this, or this? Fact is that it looks really strange when you blow it up and park it in the streets of London!

(Picture courtesy Matt Fraser)

Sunday, 10 August 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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Post War Choice

1950 Jaguar MKV Drophead Coupe
Pimp up your museum or car show: 1950 Jaguar MKV Drophead Coupe project...  Go >>