A Theodore Lafitte cyclecar made in Paris
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An unknown German aircooled car

unknown German aircooled car

An email from Christian Günzel came in. With attached this photo of a small but very crowdy 'family' car and he would like to know what it is. Quite often we receive this kind of photos, which we really enjoy. Sometimes they come with no information at all, but Christian gave us something we were a bit surprised of; the owner of the car. Namely, 'Emaillierwerke Vieweg & Förster, Penig, Saxony, Germany'. 
When we googled this name, we found a message that the company was founded on May 5th, 1903. This would mean the photo was taken after that date. But would the car be of 1903?
It looks like it is an air-cooled engine, and the license plate is visible. 
Christian thinks it is a Piccolo.
They made those little Voiturettes with air-cooled engines from 1904 until 1912. But we are not sure if they in the beginning already had a bonnet. 
Well, you know probably exactly what it is. Please, share your thoughts with us.

Enjoy your week.

If you have a good mystery photo, please send it in >click<

Monday, 24 July 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

The Launch and Decline of the V-8; part 1

The Launch and Decline of the V-8; part 1
In November 1904, the Marquis de Dion addressed a gathering of the  French motoring industry, held at the Automobile Club de France in Paris. He reflected on the contribution that France had made to the technical development of the motorised passenger vehicle, and the role of his own company in particular. As for the future, he was convinced that the future prosperity of the company lay in small vehicles and trucks. Given the evident success and prosperity that had been gained from producing small-engined vehicles, this approach was simply a matter of building on already strong foundations.  
By the end of 1905, however, this strategy was already unravelling, and in 1906 a range of motor buses was launched that rapidly became a familiar sight on the streets of Paris, London and New York. Twin cylinder car production came to a halt in 1908 (only to be re-kindled in 1911), the first V-8 engine was displayed at the Turin Motor Show in 1909, and by 1911 the bulk of the company’s production was four cylinder vehicles with various engine configurations: small cars had engines of 10/12hp; mid-sized cars were equipped with 14/18hp power units, and the top of the range vehicles had 25/30hp options, entirely adequate for formal Landaulet coachwork. The growth of the commercial vehicle business, for trucks and buses, for which the larger engines were necessary, was becoming very significant, and so the overall approach offered rather better economies of scale. There were other considerations too: by 1909 the huge number of competitors had ensured that margins on single and twin engined cars had been tightly squeezed. 
Robust though the strategy was around the manufacture of four cylinder engined vehicles, many manufacturers in Europe and North America were focused on achieving the optimum balance of power, smooth running and quietness from their engines, and in this respect four cylinder engines had their limitations. The development of a six-cylinder engine was an obvious next step.  Georgano reported that by 1908/9 some 62 makes of six cylinder cars were on sale in Great Britain, and a small number of French manufacturers including Darracq, Delaunay-Belleville and Renault had produced six cylinder engines, but difficulties persisted. Six cylinder cars had the theoretical advantage over their smaller relations of increased torque and the attractive necessity for fewer gear changes, but the longer crankshaft, of lighter construction to save weight, inevitably led to torsional vibration, with broken crankshafts and engine failure as the final outcome.
Quite apart from work on six-cylinder engines, there had also been development of eight-cylinder power units. The earliest development work on eight-cylinder engines had taken place in France as early as 1903 with the straight-eight of CGV and the V-8 designed by Clement Ader; the former never went into full production and the latter was created with the 1903 Paris-Madrid Race in mind, and was never offered for sale. Rolls-Royce made three ‘Legalimit’ V-8 cars in 1905, and in the same year Darracq produced a 22.5-litre V-8 that took the Land Speed Record at the end of the same year. The French Antoinette company designed a V-8 engine in 1906 that was declared suitable for airplanes or motorcars. 
De Dion Bouton had an interest in the V-8 engine, but it was not confined to motor car application.  In 1908 work also started on the design and development of aircraft engines, and there were distinct synergistic benefits to be had in the technical development and production of both.  The first indication that the company was seriously considering this particular opportunity was the patenting by De Dion Bouton in 1908 of the fork and blade arrangement of connecting rods, enabling the location of pairs of cylinders on the same vertical axis, which in turn required a shorter crankshaft and the potential for one camshaft. When combined with a twin throat carburettor, one throat for each range of cylinders, the end result was a power unit with effortless torque and smoothness, entirely suitable for the most substantial coachwork. 
Next week, we will publish part 2 of this article.

Michael Edwards is preparing a volume on De Dion Bouton motor cars from 1905 – 1914, and would welcome any information on the whereabouts of any examples of these elusive V-8 vehicles, as well as the larger engined, 25/30hp four-cylinder vehicles from the period.
If you have any information on these cars, please send us an email and we will forward it to Michael: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Special thanks to the De Dion Bouton club of the UK for their contribution in this research.
Sunday, 23 July 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

About Quiz # 449, Enzo Ferrari with Caesar

enzo ferrari_1917_caesar_470
Great, you were all right with naming the driver: in this 70th year of Ferrari cars it was nice to look back almost exactly one hundred years with the very first photo of Enzo Ferrari at the wheel of a car. And of course even this very first time with a sportscar during a racing event! We like to thank Kees van Stokkum and Adolfo Orsi for their very kind cooperation with PreWarCar. Ferrari engineer and historian Kees van Stokkum sends the words below (plus part II of his research of the early days of Enzo as a business man, see for that under Read More; or first read back Part I). Alfa Romeo guru Adolfo Orsi was granted us the use of the important photo found by him in 1989, which now is on display in the Museo Enzo Ferrari.
    But let's not forget the quiz is about a car. Sorry it is no Fiat, no SPA, no CMN, no Züst, no Diatto, no....   Only jurymember Fried Stol came up with the correct  make Caesar!
(UPDATE: monitor blindness made us overlook jury member Kevin Atkinson who had it all right as well. Sorry about that Kevin!)

Can't think of a better brand of car to start a brilliant career with. The make Caesar was created by Scacchi who built cars under his own name, also under the name of Storero and Caesar. Interesting is that we see the same radiator with Züst, Fiat and other Italian cars of the era. Was this shape 'en vogue' or did they share components. The make Scacchi/Storero/Caesar was shortlived and taken over by Diatto. Kees van Stokkum liked to add that the factory buildings later on came in the hands of Maserati. It's all in the family...

19th July 1917

Past and future converged in the automobile run from Sestola to Pavullo nel Frignano, in the Apennine mountains (see map below with the important places of Enzo's early days). But nobody, be it organizer, onlooker or casual passer-by could ever have imagined that the serious-looking chauffeur of this Caesar motor car was starting there an unparallelled life in the motoring world.
    His mount was the past, a car designed and constructed in Chivasso (Turin) by Caesar Scacchi, who had produced some models with a 4-cylinder engine of his own design, between 1911 and 1915, before he had to close down his factory.
    The driver was looking to the future, his own future, between the wheels of a motor car. His father Alfredo had died, as had his elder brother, and his deeply affected mother was powerless in her attempts to prevent her only remaining son entering motoring competitions.
    So Enzo Ferrari, 19 years old, entered his Caesar (specific history of his acquisition as yet unknown, but one could already purchase Automobile d’Occasione in Modena in 1911, see the advert below) and noted proudly at the backside of the memorial post card:  " Distance 26,475 km, gradients up to 12%, time 36’12”."

(Picture kindly courtesy Adolfo Orsi.  The Caesar notes are from Marche Italiane Scomparse – Torino, 1972, 1977).


Saturday, 22 July 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Unknown make of car and unknown ladies

Unknown make of car
Ian Sykes would like to know the make of the car. There is some cone shaped object in the middle of the radiator. We are interested in that as well. But most importantly, who are the ladies sitting in this car?

The quality of the photo looks from the same period as the car. It is not entirely certain if the spare wheel is the same as the 4 other wheels on the car (as they look solid). The bonnet looks round but indeed with a strange cone in the middle. For us the first time we see something like that. What is the function of this part?
The ladies look like they are posing just for the photo. Are they the proud owners? If so, they must be known to many of us.
Please give us your thoughts. Have a good weekend.
Friday, 21 July 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental
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