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Haven't I shown you my new car yet?

Havent I shown you my new car yet?

Just a few days till the famous London to Brighton and a few days before we can see thousands and thousands of photos online about the very early cars. But it is curious to remind that photography was invented just in time to document the early stages of car technology and development. Without this very happy coincidence, our perspective of early car history would have been entirely different and possibly largely absent. Professional photographers like Jules Beau in France, Argent Archer in England and Nathan Lazarnick in the US were already present in the early years to record car races and other events like car shows. At the same time, photography became a real industry, because literally anything could be photographed: cities, villages, landscapes and of course people. It was the start of a new type of medium: the postcard.

Many companies were established to exploit these new possibilities commercially. A firm which one encounters regularly is Guilleminot, Boespflug & Cie. from Paris. This firm was established already in 1855 by Gustave Guilleminot to produce photographic glass plates and later photographic paper. After his death in 1893 his son René took over and was joined in 1898 by Boespflug, who had married René's sister. They even had their own logo, a horse head inside a horseshoe.

The photographed subjects were numerous, but we will concentrate now on a series of car photographs which come by regularly in postcard circles. On these photos, people were photographed in several cars the firm owned. The locations of these photos differ: partly they were taken in a courtyard (presumably behind their premises), partly outside in front of cafés, near fairs or just somewhere on a Parisian street. The example in the lead photo is one of their regular used cars. It looks like a Renault, but it is a Fouillaron of around 1901. Another regular is the 487-EE, a car which has a still unknown origin but likely is a modernized veteran. Rarer are photographs with the Lacoste & Battmann-like vehicle with license nr. 174-X (on the last photograph). All cars are clearly older cars, which had served their time and were undoubtedly second-hand bargains.

An important target group for these photos must have been people who couldn't afford a car and could pretend otherwise to their friends and relatives showing the photo. It was apparently a success and between 1905 and 1907 the firm photographed male and female groups, families and children in every imaginable combination in these cars. On all photographs, a number was written in white ink, because the photos had to be developed and printed, and could only be purchased later (a common system then and now!). To find this number is sometimes a real challenge! The highest number I've ever seen was close to 10,000, so I presume that they had reached their limit by then and had decided that it was enough …

Even nowadays every photo of this series is a little gem, showing in every aspect the attraction of the new phenomenon on wheels, still so distant and unattainable for the masses. The firm Guilleminot, Boespflug & Cie. survived until 1994, the beginning of digital photography.

Words and photos by Ariejan Bos

Thursday, 02 November 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

One of the most famous London to Brighton Run participants will be for sale

One of the most famous London to Brighton Run particpants
The London to Brighton Run is one of the most unique and celebrated events on the old car calendar, and with good reason. Participants from all corners of the globe descend in to Hyde Park in the heart of London to tackle to the winding 56-mile route to Madeira Drive, in Brighton on the picturesque English coast. The earlier the car was built, the earlier the starting position it is awarded on the run – one such early starter is the unique 1896 Salveson Steam Car. A car that everybody, who has ever been at the famous run, will know.
A very advanced machine for its day, featuring under-floor horizontal double-acting twin-cylinder power unit and a rear-mounted vertical coal-fired boiler, solid rubber tires and a cruising speed of 14 mph, making it a relative speed demon for its age!

The Salvesen is a very relaxing drive. The 2-speed gearbox, offers the option of going slowly, or even slower! The tiller is direct and not overly vague, allowing for happy cruising without wrenching a tiller back and forth. The modern disc brakes are hidden, but they are essential for modern day London driving and the stopping and starting it demands.

The Scottish built motor car has previously been in the celebrated Sword Collection and George Milligen’s Collection and comes to market after 14 years in current ownership. Bonhams is offering this and 25 other veteran motor cars at their annual London to Brighton Auction on Friday 3rd November

Let us hope that this car will be bought by someone crazy enough to keep using it!
Wednesday, 01 November 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

An ogreish car for a scary Halloween

Will the great Pumpkin arrives with a car, but as it´s Halloween today, we have a special car for you, in which Ernst Gennat, „Der Buddah vom Alexanderplatz“ arrived at dozens of crime scenes. Ernst Gennat was a policeman in Berlin during the early 20s century. Born in 1880, he started his police career in 1904. He left the university without a graduation. During this time, the police had no special homicide division and the reconnoitering rate was extremely low. On June, 1st in 1925 on the basis of Gennat´s efforts, the first homicide squad, called „Zentrale Mordinspektion“ was created and it ran up to an enormous success. In 1931 for example, 108 of 114 crimes were solved.

Before Gennat, who is often called „the first profiler“, entered the scene, the procedure of the police work was often quite bizarre. Policemen were called to a crime scene and before the higher graded colleagues arrived, they often started tidying the scene as you can expect from a Prussian police officer of visiting a messy scene. And by that, many details were ruined. So Gennat reorganized much of the structure of how to investigate a homicide. After he convicted the serial killer Carl Großmann he recognized, that the killer murdered before in other cities and he would have been able to arrest him much earlier, if he knew about that. His idea was to build up a database, which was realized as his big „Zentralkartei für Mordsachen“.
For modern investigation work, in 1926 he ordered a car with special equipment. This car, a Benz 16/50, featuring a small bureau with a typewriter, folding table and chairs and a big trunk, containing spotlights, torches, rubber gloves and much more, which made the car a mobile laboratory for the securing of evidence. This Benz was the last Benz before the union with Daimler. It featured an inline-six with the capacity of 4160 cm³ and an output of 50 HP. Gennat called this car his „Mordauto“ and the public was very interested in the car, as it was displayed in Berlin, at a special show, at which much modern police equipment was presented. Some sources tell us, that the chassis of the „Mordauto“ was strengthened, just because of Gennat´s figure. But even if his weight tended towards 140...150kg, this must be a tale. No tale is the way, Gennat treated his „guests“: He was very polite and patient. Nobody had to touch them and Gennat threatened his staff, that he will fire anybody who only touches one of his suspects. Coffee and cake were served and it was more like a coffee party, than a questioning. And many „dodgers“ afterwards reported, that they told Gennat „much more, that they wanted to tell“, as he was such a nice and personable man. The cake was served by Gennat´s secretary Gertud Steiner, nicknamed „Bockwurst-Trudchen“. The office in which those coffee partys took place was kind of a Halloween room. Pictures of homicide victims on the walls, a bloody axe and as a spooky and bizarre highlight, a conserved womans head, found in the Spree was draped on Gennat´s desk, that he used as a cigarette disposer.

Gennat and his work became very famous during the 20s, and so Scotland Yard, Charlie Chaplin, Heinrich Mann and Edgar Wallace visited him in Berlin. He convicted the famous killers Fritz Haarmann (the Butcher of Hanover) and later Peter Kürten (The Vampire of Düsseldorf ), but during the 30s, as the Nazis took control over the police, his work got more an more dissatisfying. For propaganda reasons, the Nazis don´t like homicides to be published and his work got enriched by more and more bureaucracy. But he continued his work despite keeping a distance to the Nazi Party. Based on his success, he was even promoted to department director in 1934 and vice director of the Berlin police in 1935. Gennat died on cancer in 1939, but he was still able to view the movies „M“ and „Dr. Mabuse“ by Fritz Lang, who created his commissioner Lohmann as a hommage to Gennat.

Text and Photos: Hubertus Hansmann
Tuesday, 31 October 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A colourful start of the week.

1937 True Love concourse all

Most often, we receive black and white photos of old cars. But today something different. A 1937 Studebaker Coupe Express pick up in an interesting condition was photographed by John Sandoval and sent in. Only 2200 -2500 of these beauties were produced. No one knows the exact number. This one was built in the short-lived California located assembly plant. 
Even though the sales were not originally promising, this fine example of styling and looks which were based on the passenger vehicle of that same year can only be attributed to a woman's classiness and taste for the Art Deco finer things in the life of that Era.

We wish you all a colourful week!
Monday, 30 October 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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1937 Packard 115 C Convertible Coupe
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