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Dear Prewar Editor:

China4C: A day of rest in Zaozhuang
China4C: Come to China or China will come to you!


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The Magazine

A new generation is picking up the spanner!

a new_generation_is_picking_up_the_spanner-2-470
After our article about the new generation of pre-war car rescuers, we received a lot of response for the 2015 calendar (and you can still send in your photos to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).
A chap in his early thirties thought he was probably the youngest nutter in the hobby, but hey read about Tom Barrett. He writes: "I am a 14 year old enthusiast coming 15 this weekend. I am doing construction, sports, history and all the main subjects in Wolgarston high school in Penkride. The amazing fun family tradition started with my Great Grandad, Tommy Barrett.

He was a scrap man, scrapping the Rolls Royce Ghosts when they weren't as expensive, he used to drive a 1947 V8 flathead ford Thames. Next it is my Grandad, Anthony Barrett, who is a vintage and classic specialist with a big collection of vehicles, he also is a scrapman and mechanic. After it is my Dad Anthony Barrett jr with a ( edit. Bentley) 4 litre in a 4 and a half chassis, he is a mechanic like my Grandad. Next it is me, an enthusiast looking for a project. I caught the bug when I joined the Bentley club in 2008.

I have had an Austin 7 project before but after I put the chassis all together I found out it was too late for vscc trials.  I help my Dad with the Bentley when I'm able to, so I can build my knowledge of vintage and veteran I have read books like Bentley 50 years of Marque, the Vintage Years, Austin 7 specials bill Williams."

Thumbs up to you Tom! Looking forward to hear more from you in future.
Sunday, 05 October 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

What is it? Quiz #380

whatisit 380_470

Hey, here you go! This is a car you all will recognise. We thought, give them some slack while we are packing our bags for China4C and many others are preparing for Hershey. So yes it is easy, but... but...  we want to hear exactly - we mean e-x-a-c-t-l-y what it is. Year, Make, Model and every detail added ... or left out which you can find. Don't know if this is of any help but the photos was shot March 1933, presumably in Germany. No more extra hints.

Just read the Rules under Read More and start looking, looking, looking. This may finally be your chance to win the infamous PreWarCar T-shirt. Results will be published next Saturday October 11.

Saturday, 04 October 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

What every woman should know

The Woman and The Car.

‘The Woman and The Car’ was first published in 1909. To complete the title, it is ‘A chatty little handbook for all women who motor or who want to motor’. Its author is Dorothy Levitt and what a woman she was! Dorothy first came into contact with motorsport through her work as a secretary at the Napier motor company. There she met S.F. Edge who took her under his wing so-to-speak and he arranged a six month apprenticeship with French automobile maker Clément-Bayard in Paris, where she learned all aspects of building and driving cars. On her return to London she started teaching women to drive – including Queen Alexander amongst other members of the Royal Family.

Yes – we are talking about the privileged classes but in her book she states that "there might be pleasure in being whisked around the country by your friends and relatives, or chauffeur, but the real intense pleasure only comes when you drive your own car." Her book can now reach a far wider audience since it has been republished in facsimile by Osprey Publishing ( sold through Shire Books) with 146 pages and 27 black & white plates. Five pages of contemporary adverts in the back remind us of the Edwardian era in which she lived and the advert for the Webley automatic pocket pistol takes us to straight to chapter 2 where she writes, “If you are going to drive alone in the highways and byways it might be advisable to carry a small revolver.” More realistically she also advises taking a dog along if driving alone.

The author calculates she drives about 400 miles a week and so it’s easy to believe she writes from experience. Women drivers are advised to carry a hairpin to clear blocked jets, a fine file to attend to trembler points, along with an extra handkerchief, a clean veil, a hand mirror – “not for strictly personal use, but to occasionally hold up to see what is behind you.” – and finally, “ .. some chocolates are very soothing, sometimes.” The reader is offered practical advice about when to tip and how much, and is encouraged to join The Ladies’ Automobile Club whose headquarters are situated at Claridge’s Hotel where they have a suite of rooms and Miss K. d’Esterre Hughes is secretary. Membership has many advantages – the use of club rooms, the club garage when in town and a discount off your hotel bill.

I was taken back to my childhood when I read members are advised to join the Automobile Association who place scouts on different main roads to warn motorists of police traps, and when they see the AA badge on the front of your car they will stop and warn you of any danger. My grandfather was always saluted by AA men at the side of the road when they saw his AA badge on the radiator of his car. Towards the end of her book Levitt lists some fellow women motoristes and one name jumped off the page – The Hon. Mrs Assheton Harbord ”...who drives a Rolls Royce Car, owns her own balloon “The Valkyrie” and has competed with it in seven races.” I know the name from my own balloon book collection and she is regularly pictured with Charles Rolls in balloons. She is known to have flown across the English Channel twice in four days.

The book gives a glimpse of extraordinary women in very different times but I am glad Dorothy Levitt agrees that some things are unladylike and in the Motor Woman’s Dictionary at the back we see the following definition; “BACKFIRE  - A premature explosion of the gaseous mixture in the cylinder. When it occurs while the starting-handle is being turned its effects are distinctly unpleasant to the operator.”

(Text and picture Robin Batchelor)   book available through Shire books at only GBP 7,99

Friday, 03 October 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Digging for bargains at Duxford.

1923 ac_royal_roadster_470
Nearly any auction post-sale press release will shout New Sales Record. The interesting thing however is that when you actually visit auctions things often are much more quiet. Yes, certain cars will go through the roof and big suprises do happen, but the majority of cars behave quite predictable and for the connoisseur there are always steals and bargains to be picked up. We checked the long list of entries that will be auctioned by H&H next Wednesday  at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, UK. 

Between serious high end auction cars like the 1902 Locke Puritan steamer,  1938 Lagonda V12 Sports Saloon down to the post-war yet superior '58 Aston Martin DB Mk III  there are various most charming bargains.  
Like an appealing 1923 AC Royal Roadster, with an estimate of less than one third(!) of a similar - be it more shiny - 1926 Royal being offered in Hershey a few days later.  Then a lovely 1924 Donnet Zedel tourer project, very french and very vintage , offered at no reserve which will probably go for not too much more than a few bottles of good burgundy due to paintwork issues and an unattractive upholstery; skai(?).  In need of very-very little is the in Europe relatively unknown 1913 Regal Underslung, a sporty Edwardian (we love this chassis concept! ) with an estimate being half the price a similar car could fetch in the US. A post vintage 1937 Daimler tourer ( 6 cylinder, 2,2 litre with 4 speed preselector) has an estimate around 10,000. Probably due to the amateurish rebody. But my! you wouldn't have to feel guilty using it to create a scaringly fast special based on this freshly treated chassis and engine!

Finally, when you like to stay closer to the original, how about this friendly estimated 1923 Bentley 3 litre. If you stay to the very end of the show it may be the same as with the tail of this piece of writing. Everybody gone, except you....
Thursday, 02 October 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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The Market



Post War Choice

1977 Simca Simca 1000 Rallye 2
What's the last time you saw a Simca 1000 Rallye II...  Go >>