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How to spend a million dollars at Amelia?

Pick a car, any car.
Bonhams are holding their Amelia Island Auction on 12 March at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club and such is the variety of desirable cars on offer, we started dreaming about which ones we would buy if funds were limited to a mere US$ 1,000,000

The 1911 EMF "30" two seat Racer caught our eye for open-air motoring from the brass era. Its dark blue livery and business-like appearance is tempting, but once we saw the 1912 Peerless Model 60 Runabout we found it irresistible. The 13.5 litre engine fills the space beneath the long bonnet. It’s the largest engine ever fitted to an American production car and is just asking to be unleashed to propel this machine along at high speed with all the associated sounds which make the whole experience so exhilarating. The sun glinting off the enormous copper fuel tank helps you ignore the cost of filling it with petrol. Climb into the snug fitting red-leather driver’s seat , sieze that extraordinary steering wheel and head for the open road and have a blast ! Estimate $250,000, so we still have some money to spend.

Once our minds were dallying with such early machinery, we were tempted by two even earlier vehicles – a 1904 Oldsmobile Model N "French Front" Touring Runabout and a 1903 E.R. Thomas Model 18 Tonneau. Both cars eligible for the London to Brighton run held every November . If you can ignore the cold and wet, it is a wonderful tradition and because the more friends you take the more fun you have, it is the 5 seater Thomas we shall be bidding on, also estimated to fetch about $250,000. Still got half a million to play with !

The 1930 Cord Model L-29 Town Car  offers open air motoring for the driver but sumptuous closed comfort for the passengers. Powered by a straight eight flat-head Lycoming engine through Miller-designed front wheel drive, this car’s previous owners have always protected its original condition. It has nearly all of its original paint, all of its original upholstery and its nickname ‘Pumpkin car’ was coined after its yellowing delaminating safety glass.

However, the 1932 Lincoln KA Five passenger Sedan is surely the most original car we are likely to find from pre-war days. It has covered just 10,000 miles from new and survives today with near flawless original paintwork, original interior with barely a moth hole and close to perfect original rugs. The side-mount spares are still wrapped in the original oilcloth covers that appear to have never been removed and is shod with the original factory tires . Under the bonnet reveals the original V-8 with the original radiator hoses and clamps. Literally nothing seems to be out of place or non-factory, save for a new fan belt. This is the closed car we want in our garage and promise to look after it just as passionately for future generations. It’s the sort of car that makes you put on your best clothes and treat the car , and the whole occasion, with proper respect. A mere $70,000.

That leaves just enough to bid on the 1925 Hispano-Suiza H6B Transformable CabrioletThe catalogue reads..."The choice of European royalty, Indian Maharajahs, Hollywood film stars and industrial tycoons, the legendary Hispano-Suiza was superbly engineered and imitated unashamedly by some of the world's leading car manufacturers."  This model was renowned for its ease of handling, the flexibility of its 6.6 litre engine – which necessitated only a three speed gearbox – and its efficient servo-assisted brakes. Yes, the estimate of $350,000 - $450,000 means we may just stay inside our million dollar limit.

Please do drive carefully as you head home in whichever car you buy from Bonhams, and we hope you also manage to stay within your limit.

(Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy Bonhams)
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A 'sheet-shaker' Tatra 57b 1940

Tatra 57b (1940)

A nice photo of a lesser known Tatra, a 57B of 1940. It made us think of the sheet shakers, a photographic 'pre-adobe photoshop' trick to add a neutral background to a car photo. Mocci Demartis, collector from Sardinia - mentions not only the rarity of the car. This one was used by the germans as a personel car in WWII (in military 'grau' of course) and later was kept in the Resistance Museum of Prague. Mocci claims that the forced air cooling system of the post-war Porsches was copied from this Tatra (editor: we found no proof for that...). Based on the colour of the wheels and upholstery the car was restored in burgundy over black.

(photos Mocci Demartis) 
Monday, 02 March 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Old Romanian aristocracy enjoying a Diatto?

Old romanian aristocracy and a Diattro

Hey, don't you think this is a nice soft focus Sunday shot? Ken Skuse sent it and writes: "I am an Englishman ex RAF who came to Romania in 1993, and stayed on as an NGO having inherited 100 orphans, and as you see I am still here. I came across a photograph that I could not resist, in the archives of a collector in a town called Bistrita Romania, at least fifteen years ago, a charming group of what was probably the old Romanian aristocracy on a happy day out, before their country and lives descended into hell under communism. It is doubtful that they would have survived. So elegant and care free, it is beautiful in a time gone for ever. Today reading a book 'Comrade Baron' by the acclaimed prize winning author Jaap Scholten about the years of communism here in Romania, he wrote, 'They (an aristocratic family) had a Diatto, an Italian car.' I checked it out on the Internet, found your site and the name of the car in my picture at last."

Editor: thanks for sending this Ken. Hard to say if this is a Diatto. What's visible of the radiator points in the good direction. But we have never seen one with artillery wheels, but hey, some other visitors will know for sure. 

Sunday, 01 March 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

What is it? Quiz #389

whatisit 389_470

It's a very rare edwardian beauty. Saying it has an imposing radiator is an understatement. It's massive! Still behind all that you will not find more than a two cylinder engine, which is quite capable by the way. When you pick up your Georgano or similar you can limit yourselves to the cars made in the US, more specific Pennsylvania. Although the marque didn't live much longer than 10 years they made over 20 different models. It's said that production in 1909 was around 150 pieces. Over to you. Tell us which Marque, Year & Model plus any (trivial) knowledge. Preferably no copy/paste from the web...

Now before leaving your response in the comment box below (please do not e-mail), be sure to read The Rules under Read More. This may be your chance to win the infamous PreWarCar T-shirt. Results and source of photo will be published next Saturday, February 21.

Saturday, 28 February 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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1952 Tatra Tatraplan T600
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