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Two Family Album Mysteries (update: 1914 Alldays Midget and 1913 Clyno)

Mystery car_grandmother-800

The family seems prepared for a nice weekend tour. Maybe slightly overdressed for this time of the year we thought. So we checked the climate around Quetta (Pakistan) where apparantly this photo was shot and found it really can be quite chilly overthere in November.  

David Harrison writes"I came across these photos of my late mother's family the other day. I believe they may have taken in British India (probably near Quetta) Mother was born in 1913 (her sister in 1910) so probably about the end of the First World War.

My Grandmother and the two girls travelled back to India in 1917/18 on a troopship to rejoin my Grandfather in Quetta. He had been on active service with the Indian Army in France (1914) Gallipoli(1915) and Mesopotamia -now Iraq (1915-17)! He then returned to India for a period of quiet (ho! ho!),but was involved in the Third (!) Afghan War on and off until 1920, when it did go quiet for a good few years!

I would guess the car photo was 1917/18 from the age of the children. Pretty minimal brakes! Mother & her sister look singularly unimpressed!

The motor bike & sidecar - a bit later? An aside about the bike...Family legend (Granny) said that my Grandfather won it in the Serjeant's Mess Christmas Raffle. She believed (Politically incorrect spoiler alert!) that "I was the first white woman to go over the Khyber Pass in a sidecar!"


Sunday, 20 November 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

About What Is It quiz #433: An early 1920's Ryjan

Whatisit quiz #433

Quiz 433 was apparently a quiz for jury members: Peter Ransom, Robbie Marenzi, Alan Spencer, Fried Stol and Yannick Garcia all agreed on Ryjan, and that is indeed what it is. They also agreed on the fact that the car dates back to the early '20s, which is in agreement with the license plate, issued in 1920. However they disagree on the model. Is it an HJ4 or an HJ6 model? And does it have a SCAP or a Ballot engine under the bonnet? Unfortunately the available information is insufficient to solve these matters and we must leave this to future researchers. On the other hand, we now do know that at least one Ryjan has survived!

In the meanwhile we can conclude that despite all of the answers we have no winner, because apart from the above mentioned jury members no correct solutions came in. So PreWarCar-lovers, prepare yourself for the next quiz. Most veteran and vintage cars will be carefully stored in the garage by now, leaving the long winter nights for studying car history: it could make you next quiz's glorious winner!

Saturday, 19 November 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Friday Alvis Royalty ? (update: 1938 Talbot Ten Sports Tourer )

Mystery lady-800
A most charming appearance on the postcard we recently picked up. An almost professional smile and garment chosen and displayed with flair. And of course a quality motorcar to match. The whole image has a thirties 'Vogue' appeal. We may be wrong but the section of car in pictured is showing strong resemblance with an Alvis short chassis tourer, but no doubt you will help us out. There is an abundancy of helpfull details. The louvres, the fold down windshield construction, the shape and three hinge door and the built in trafficator right behind it to name a few.  
But having said that the eye was also attracted by the lady's seahorse broche and crowned 'GR' lapel pin. Any connection with royalty here? Or is it an just adornment made available by one of the dozens Royal Whatever Clubs?

(collection editor)
Friday, 18 November 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A unique racer available down under.

A unique racer down under.
An extraordinary story accompanies an extraordinary car which is to be sold in Australia on 27 November by Mossgreen Auctions in Melbourne.
In 1929, Alan Hawker (Bob) Chamberlain conceived the plans for his own racing car. Necessity was the mother of invention as everything considered crucial was 12,000 miles away which imposed a lengthy wait. Automotive parts were prohibitively expensive in Australia and anything ordered from overseas took weeks to arrive by sea.
Young Bob's uncle was Harry Hawker, one of Australia's outstanding pioneer aviators, so it's no surprise that the car had a space frame more usually seen on aircraft.  The car had front wheel drive with inboard brakes, four wheel independent suspension and initially used an Indian V Twin motor cycle engine.
However, the engine in it today was built by brother Bill who took over development of the racer after Bob crashed it at the 1934 Mt Tarrengower Hillclimb.  Bill used the crankcase from a 4 cylinder Henderson Motorcycle but everything else was home made - the foundry taking 32 tries before getting the complex block casting right.
The 2 stroke engine had two crankshafts with pistons running in stepped bore cylinders - the bottom being 62.5mm, the top 35mm. The upper pistons opened and closed  the inlet ports to allow the supercharger to pump in the gases, while the bottom ones did everything else, from compressing the mixture to opening the exhaust port for the blue haze to escape out into the atmosphere.
Tricky stuff, really. By closing the inlet port much later than the exhaust, which is difficult to achieve in a normal two stroke, the compressor was actually able to fill the cylinder well. By running the top pistons on very short conrods (the crank actually ran through a hole in the upper part of the piston !) the ports opened and closed quickly, with long duration opening possible.
The swept volume of the lower pistons was 968cc, the upper ones 100cc, giving 1068cc. The crank was machined out of a 6.5” billet and ran in three roller bearings, being linked to the top crank by chain. Conrods were Ford A, but that bit of simplicity was about all there was.
There were eight coils to supply spark to the eight plugs ( two per cylinder), and because of the risk of holing a piston with normal plugs, they designed and made their own which permitted 8000 rpm and an ear-splitting exhaust note.

This car and its makers are the stuff of legend and in 1930, an Age newspaper article on the Chamberlain stated: With its bright, shiny, aluminium body, it looks like a smaller edition of the Silver Bullet. It can accelerate to a speed of 80 miles per hours in half a mile and it is able to make a complete hairpin bend at 55 miles per hour with perfect safety. “If the police will let me,” said Allen Hawker Chamberlain, “I am willing to bet 20pounds to a packet of cigarettes that I can go up Swanston Street at 55 miles per hour and without slackening speed, turn completely round and come back down again at the same speed.”
We will watch with interest to see whether this unique car is once again used as originally intended.

Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy Mossgreen Auctions.

Thursday, 17 November 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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