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My fathers first car: a 1938 Opel Olympia

My fathers first car

Rothaar-Mountains 1956: My father, 17 years young and a real automobile aficionado, is on a visit at his cousin´s farm where he was told, that a new car, a Mercedes 170 S-D will be bought. And immediately he starts to dream about buying his cousins old car, an Opel Olympia, built in 1938. He could drive to school with his friends, and that as a pupil in a decade, even most teachers didn´t own a car. He could make trips through the country, visit friends without using the railway, but he also knows, that his parents wouldn´t allow that dreams to come true. But of course the temptation was too big and after consulting his schoolmate Werner, the two boys pooled all their conserved money, an amount of 250DM each, and soon after, the two pupils became proud automobile-possessors. But now he had to confess it to my grandparents, because he wanted to register the car. Of course he couldn´t do that alone, at an age of only 17. He also was able to drive a car, but for a license, he had to be at least 18 years old. So after a lot of back and forth with his parents, the Olympia finally got its registration, but still there was the “little” problem, that my father still was too young to legally drive the Opel on the road. What a luck, Werner just got 18 and successfully completed his driving test. So, for the 10 miles route to school they found a solution: They were four boys (sometimes a fifth classmate joined), three of them 17 years old and because of that, Werner was the only one of them, who was legally allowed to tame the engines 37 horses. At the beginning of every month, they pooled the money for the fuel and so they enjoyed the comfortable tours between the villages of Erndtebrück and Hilchenbach. No comparison to the loud and uncomfortable railway of course and no more station platform waiting during rain or/and snow. The first setback soon appeared: Werner got ill and for about weeks, he had to stay in bed. But it was the beginning of a month, the fuel-money already flowed into the petrol tank and so my father decided to drive the car on his own, still without a license. “Of course”, he soon was stopped by the local policeman. He mumbled, that he forgot his license at home, but the policeman knew, he didn´t have one, yet (in a small village, a policeman knows his peers). Glory days: he only was exhorted, that the next time on the driver´s seat, he should better have his license on board. Needless to tell, that he nevertheless drove the tour to school till his friend had convalesced. Autumn passed and it began to get really cold during the nights. My uncle had told my Dad, that the cooling water has to be drained overnight, because if it freezes, the engine might burst. My father did, as he was told, but unfortunately he didn´t know, that there were two drain plugs, one at the radiator and an additional one at the engine. So he only drained the radiator and it happened the way it had to: the cooling water in the engine froze and the engine burst. Sadly it was a total write-off and after not even one year of proud ownership, the Olympia got scrapped. For my father seven long years without an own car started, until after his student time (with a Hercules bike), he was finally able to buy an Auto Union 1000S saloon. But that is another story…

Words and photos: Hubertus Hansmann

Wednesday, 08 March 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Ruby or Chummy: it sure will give you a smile

Austin seven
The car every classic car enthusiast knows. Many have owned one themselves, most likely as (one of) their first car(s). The car we are talking about is the one and only Austin 7.
At the Brightwells auction tomorrow, there will be 2 lovely Sevens on the block.

Austin is in the first instance developed to meet the needs of young families. Making motor cars accessible for everyone at all levels of society. After the depression in the UK, this car was a real hit. Whereby many were sold.
Still, today you find affordable cars quite often turned into specials. But if you look carefully, you will also find original ones.

Take for instance the maroon red Chummy. When looking at the photographs, a smile will probably appear immediately. This is a great car for many events!
The other one in the auction is the 1935 Ruby. A Saloon that is slightly bigger. As we said earlier, most of those Saloons are transformed into specials.
Luckily enough, the former owner did restore it back to how the car it originally was. A cute little Saloon.

The Seven was and still is a brilliant car. Pleasant to drive and a lot of fun for the entire family! Besides this, this cute little car makes everyone on the road smile. We hope to see the fun continuing! If you are the lucky buyer, please let us know.

Brightwells Leominster Classic & Vintage auctions 
Date: Wednesday 8th March 2017 at 12 noon
Location: Easters Court, Leominster, Herefordshire, UK
Tuesday, 07 March 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Mystery Monday: an Edwardian car

Mystery edwardian_car
Chris Capes-Baldwin sent in this fantastic Monday mystery. The photo was taken in Belfast, Northern Ireland, probably in 1914. The man at the wheel is Walter Macklin. After the Great War Macklin went on to be a works rider for the Scott Motorcycle company and ultimately ran a well known BMC Workshop. The photo was submitted on behalf of his grandson.

This shouldn't be a difficult one; a very recognizable coal shuttle. Big Renault-ish radiator

Who can start this week with helping identifying this tourer?
Monday, 06 March 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Almost home after 84.000 km in a 1930 Hudson

Heidi Hetzer in Cologne
84.000km to drive from Berlin to Cologne
We all know the stories about people who trust their route guidance systems and make miles of loop ways or even get wet, when the systems show a bridge, where you should better use the ferry. But the 84.000 kilometers 79 years young Heidi Hetzer drove from Berlin to Cologne in her 1930 Hudson "Hudo" are of course another story.  Starting her journey around the world in 2014, a longtime dream of Mrs. Hetzer began to become reality. And that was to follow the tracks of Cläreonore Stinnes, who travelled around the world in an Adler Standard Six between 1927 and 1929.
Heidi is on the road since July 2014 and had to conquer many challenges since then. "Hudo" broke down several times, Heidi fractured a finger in Kazakhstan, got mugged several times, lost a part of a finger during a repair in the USA and the worst news was the cancer diagnostic conveyed in december 2015 in Peru. She interrupted her tour for about one month, had a surgery in Essen (Germany) and as soon, as the doctors gave their OK, she entered the next plane back to Lima, where Hudo already waited for her to make some more miles. South-Africa was the next step and in January 2017 Heidi and Hudo shipped to Spain. During the following four weeks, the route guided her through Portugal, Spain again, France, Belgium and The Netherlands to Aix-La-Chapelle and at the 3rd of March, after a short detour to the hospital, in which her cancer-surgery was done, Heidi and Hudo arrived at Cologne, where I had the great pleasure to meet this fantastic duo. If you didn´t know Heidi's age, you absolutely wouldn´t believe it (and the authorities in China also trusted in her age of 69, that she stated, because it´s the maximum age to be allowed to drive a car there). Seeing this 79 year old lady climbing onto the roof of the car like a child, her smile and the patience for taking pictures and small-talks is absolutely applaudable and inspiring. So let´s keep our fingers crossed for the last days of her journey! All the best for you Heidi and have some safe last miles till your arrival in your beloved Berlin!
Sunday, 05 March 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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