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On Saturday 26 September we shall see throngs of enthusiasts heading for Lyngsbækgaard Manor - the 16th Century country estate originally built for the Danish Royal Family where Bonhams will sell one man's lifetime collection of cars. Hendrick Frederiksen is a successful business man who has an eye for good investments and has carefully chosen 48 cars from pre-war days. " “There’s a kind of art to the cars of that time,” explains Frederiksen. “Once manufacturers started creating cars in a wind tunnel, they started to look the same – in the 1930s, people could make their own choices about how the cars looked.” This video introduces the man and the cars.
Amongst them are 13 Rolls Royces, each one from the Golden Age of Motoring and all are in perfect condition. Let us focus on the 1910 40/50 Silver Ghost 'Balloon Car' and think of the man who drove it. Charles Rolls was a keen Balloonist and in 1901 when he first flew, motoring was still in its infancy and aeronauts would always try and land near a railway station so they could pay local farm hands a sovereign to transport the equipment into the goods van where it would be carried back to London by rail. The Balloon Car enabled the long suffering chauffeur to collect his boss and his balloon and drive him home in quiet Edwardian comfort with the 7.5 litre straight-six engine purring along up front.
Rolls saw the future of powered flight and went up in the French Airship 'Ville de Paris' in 1907 whilst the Zeppelin company were building bigger and better airships in Germany. The Daimler engines which powered them evolved as required but it was the Maybach engine which became the motor of choice and Frederiksen has two Maybach cars - the 6 cylinder 1937 SW-38 'Special Roadster' and the one we would like to take home - a 1933 DS-8 Zeppelin Cabriolet with the 8 litre V12 engine producing 200 bhp at 3,200rpm. Just as these engines transported Graf Zeppelin passengers around the world in absolute luxury, so will the engine in this car do the same. Coupled with long semi-elliptic springs allowing it to glide along almost nimbly with double-acting shock absorbers further enhancing the ride comfort. The clutch is only needed to move off, but thereafter two small levers on the steering wheel operate the pre-selector gearbox - four speeds becoming eight with the overdrive arrangement - and a novel system of servo-assisted pneumatic braking helped stop the car which weighs 3 tons despite liberal use of light alloys in the chassis construction.
Two things about cars always draw our attention - wooden bodies and original condition - so our hearts skipped a beat when we found the glorious 1914 Mercedes 28/95 Phaeton in all-original condition. The wooden skiff body carries a rare coachbuilder's plaque which names Charley but it may well have been Jacques Saoutchik who made it. The car's full description makes fascinating reading.
It was the recent death of his wife, Vivi, that persuaded Henrik Frederiksen to part with the cars which he collected and enjoyed driving with her on countless road trips. "I’m not sad about it, because I know the buyer of every single one will be a satisfied new custodian – there are no problems with any of them, they are in top condition.”
The long-serving resident mechanic was asked if he will miss the cars. "No, not at all. When the cars are sold, I can finally retire."
(Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy Bonhams and author's collection)
A most pleasant twenties scene (in Berlin?). People and vehicles waiting for a refill with OLEX (the predecessor of BP in Germany). According to sender the car in the front is an Opel "similar to the Citroen 5HP". But now he comes with a next question, what may be the brand of the car behind the Opel, with the V-shaped 'coupe-vent' radiator?
What makes these photos so much more interesting than modern 'pics'. Is it just their relative scarcity compared to the billion of pictures flooding from smartphone and other devices? Who on earth would still like to share a photo of the family getting ready to drive off? This kind of pictures tell a story, they are much more alive than the frozen fame of time that you see at first glance. Here we have a wealthy family, not leaving for the nearest shopping mall to kill two hours of a boring afternoon. These people are leaving for a considerable trip. Maybe a weekend. Maybe an autumn day tour. Maybe leaving for family abroad. Seen from that perspective the simple act of cranking the engine is much more than the hand turning. It is more like opening the next chapter of a good book.
Peter Skofic writes: "On the flee market I found the above picture of an Edwardian car and two pictures (picture 1 and picture 2) of another Edwardian car. All photos were taken in Pregrada - respectively in 1q912 and 1913 - a small village on the nowadays Slovene/Croatian border. Can anybody of the PreWarCar readers identify these two cars?"
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