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Dear Prewar Editor:
Well that's a real cyclecar isn't it? And yes it is of french origin. Created by somebody who was involved with a famous double named french automobile concern. The car employs one of the well-known four pot engines as seen in many other swift-ish light cars of that time. As you can conclude from the acetylene headlights, well er... headlights, eh mainlights this is an early specimen. Nevertheless it also has nicely embodied position(?) or sidelights(?). And be sure not to overlook the lovely radiator fan, not to mention the horn. Yes we envy this young chap about to take off for a nice autumn drive out. It won't help you a lot as you still have to solve this gruesome questions. Year, Make, Type and whatever you can come up with to show off your knowledge about this nice little oddball.
Answers in the comment box please. Post that before Monday November 9th and you may become the winner of this week's pre-war Quiz and will get the infamous PreWarCar T-shirt. Be careful though, check the Rules under 'Read More' first. Results and source of photo will be published next Saturday, November 14th. Enjoy the weekend!
The car you see is a Delage DI coupé de ville and the lady is Jeanne Florentine Bourgeois - better known as Mistinguett, who in the 1920s was 'Queen of the Paris music hall', the most popular entertainer and, indeed, the most highly-paid artiste in the world. She made her debut at the age of 20 at the Casino de Paris and her risqué routines captured the public's fancy and fantasies. Her act involved the most elaborate of costumes and head-dresses and the press loved her for a career which lasted almost up to 1939. It was Mistinguett who invented the dramatic entrance where the star appears at the top of a flight of stairs, pauses, and then makes an elegant descent to rapturous applause.
The famous sculptor, Rodin, described Mistinguett's legs as 'perfect' which explains why they were famously insured for 500,000 Francs. The garden of her house in Paris backed onto that of Maurice Chevalier and a little gate connected the two. If the gate was left open it meant she was ready to receive his visit and his name was added to her list of lovers which included King Alfonso XIII of Spain and King Edward VII.
The opening picture is signed by the photographer, J. Utudjian, who also took this picture of her chauffeur-driven Delage, and this one with her little ' pooch'. Mistinguett was photographed in or on a variety of other cars - including a Chrysler and this un-identified model buried beneath half a dozen photographers and those famous legs.
(Text Robin Batchelor, Delage pictures courtesy Jeremy Collins)
Report by 1903 Bolide driver Laurens Klein: "When you think of a run for veteran cars, you think of shiny brass, nice weather, beautiful clothes; a lovely view of cars and their owners busy polishing. Well true, yet that is the Saturday of London-Brighton weekend, when there is the Regent Street Motor Show. Sunday, the day of the run itself is slightly different. Normally it is wet, windy and cold. The veterans are greasy and dirty. The owners are driving like mad men. And the RAC-people are the heroes of the day.
It is definitely not an easy pleasant drive trying to get your veteran to Brighton. It is hard work and a huge challenge to drive the 60 miles in a car that left its manufacturers hands before January 1, 1905! That means; dirty hands, greasy nails, getting engines apart, overhauling gearboxes, welding frames and then I don’t even mention the hard work for the steamers. But you have one goal and that is getting to Brighton, no matter what! This year the sun was actually shining; a strange thing in London in November. And according to the RAC towtruckers, that means more and more cars have technical problems. And indeed, there were a lot of cars down the road with issues.
The start in Hyde Park is absolutely amazing! You start early in the morning, quite often with a hangover of the day before. You can barely breath because of the smoke and gasoline fumes. You can’t talk to each other because of the noise that the old cars make. But the atmosphere is just great. Everybody is exited, you meet new people, whole families are driving, even with babies! Just wonderful.
After the start you drive through London, pass Buckingham Palace, pass Big Ben, cross the Thames and pass the crowds. The traffic is no problem because with an old car you have some privileges (or everybody just thinks you have). At a certain moment you have the first challenge: Red Hill. For some cars, it is necessary for the passenger to step out and push. After this you drive further. During the route you see the first cars with problems. The further you drive, the more cars are stranded. The cold starts being a problem. You loose the feeling in hands and fingers. And you can hardly laugh because of building stress as your own car is developping a new hardly reassuring sound.
Halfway, in Crawley you can stop and rest. Driving the old machines can be quite tired. You also need to maintain the cars for the rest of the run(foto 6). Because the hardest part will come. Like the heavy hills. Almost every car has problems here. Therefore the local 4x4 car club give some helping hand with a tow. After the hills you have the dangerous highway. Where you are driving your car with 15-20 mph and the other traffic is doing 50 mph. And you need to go from the left lane to the upper right lane. So that means: close your eyes and cross your fingers. But then you arrive in Brighton; you survived, your car survived and you are very very happy.
And after all the work on the cars, after all the problems, the cold, the vibrating, the danger, the pushing, the stress; after all that you know one thing:
I want to do it again next year. Laurens Klein
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