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Dear Prewar Editor:
A car tells you something about the person driving it. Here a handfull of exceptional cars as offered by RM Sotheby's at their Arizona sale, 28-29 January.
The 1936 Jensen Ford Tourer is a rare beast, one of 30 built and 3 were imported to USA, one of which had Clark Gable's name on it. However, when he saw it, Gable didn't like the colour - he wanted the black one, but the dealer wanted that for himself. We still like Gable though because he once bought a '37 Ford V8 Woodie in a break from shooting the film 'Saratoga'. There's a '39 Woodie in the sale which has survived well and apart from new paint, is all original. Three immaculate V12 Packards are offered, a '33 Victoria, an ivory '36 Roadster and a '39 Victoria in black. Then we see Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg - they are all here, having once been driven by the rich and famous.
The elegant 1932 Rolls Royce Phantom II Continental Sports Saloon is a perfect example. Delivered new to Elizabeth Crawford Wilkin, the American-born wife of a British Foreign Service officer stationed in Bangalor, and an author in her own right. When new, the £2,570 price of this example of the 'the most desirable Rolls Royce chassis of its decade' with coachwork by Hooper & Co. of London would have taken the average British worker 13½ years to pay. There are three other Rolls-Royces offered including a 1930 model described as 'perhaps the most sporting and dramatic Phantom II ever built.'
The name Reginald Sinclaire has won our respect for having the good taste to open his cheque book in 1937 and buy a new Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster with driver-activated supercharger feeding its 5.4 litre straight eight OHV engine. One of the most prestigious and, in the eyes of many, the most beautiful automobile of the interwar years. Its combination of power, light weight, and sheer beauty made it the master of the road. It was also breathtakingly expensive, guaranteeing exclusivity among its owners. A fabulous car with every chance of exceeding the auctioneer's estimate. Owners come and owners go, but good cars go on forever.
(Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy RM Sotheby's)
Patrick writes: "I discovered (amongst junk) a photographic glass plate which was acquired at an Antique Fair in Ireland many years ago and had it scanned and printed. Perhaps the current owner may be able to recognise the car and/or identify the people."
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