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1947 Prescott: those were the days...

Let me give you a clue. It is a bit like the game Hill Climb Racing you can play on your phone, only then for real. Do you have any idea? Ok. This one might have been a little bit too easy. Of course! It is the Prescott Hill Climb!

It is a lovely sunny afternoon. A wide variety of cars drive through the wonderful Cotswold countryside. At the start, a handful of spectators came to look at what seems like a relaxed but most of all fun car event. Back then no crash helmets or race suits were required. Those were the days!

The video shows the Hill Climb of 1947. Since 1938 this track is owned by the Bugatti Owners` Club. Originally the course was 880 yards, but later also a `long` course of 1127 yards was introduced. Which rises to 200 feet. Records are broken time after time, as the trail is after all these years still in use.

Have fun watching!
If you have a (more recent) video of a Hill climb you went to see of participated in. Please send it to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Wednesday, 22 November 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Fancy a French or Italian motorcycle at Osenat ?

Fancy a French or Italian motorcycle at Osenat ?
Exciting auction news from Osenat, with a splendid prewar selection of mainly French and Italian motorcycles. The collections of Gérard Dechambre, Vincent Crescia and Louis Meznarie are to be auctioned on the 25th of November in Paris.

There’s choice for all tastes in the first 20 lots, which has mainly pre-1915 engine blocks. Some of them unusual (like the bizarre twin-cylinder two-stroke Sevitame, lot 5), quite rare (the Werner engine, lot 3) or just beautiful (the FN, lot 17, with bits of frame, still attached). Always useful as a spare for your favorite machine, or to put on the mantlepiece. Certainly a topic of conversation ! 
The complete motorcycles go from ancient (like lot 40, a 1901 Clément, a true pioneering effort), over veteran (look at lot 59, a 1908 Moto-Rêve V-twin) to vintage (lot 58, 1927 Terrot, beautifully ‘dans son jus’). Of particular technical interest, lot 42 is a 1913 Magnat Debon, which has a 400 cc engine with overhead valves, quite advanced for its age.
Not all French marques are well-known names like the Peugeot (lot 49) or Motobécane (lot 47), look for example at the Dollar (lot 45), Motoconfort (lot 48), but definitely at the Austral (lot 44). If you are in for American power, there’s a 1929 Harley (lot 61), or the 1917 and 1940 Indians (lots 43 and 64). 
Amongst the restoration projects on offer are some typical light French motorcycles from the twenties and thirties like the 1921 Griffon (lot 56), or the 1934 Monet-Goyon Automouche (lot 52). Not for the faint-hearted ! The 1904 Bruneau (lot 41) is a rare veteran forecar, bought new by a dignitary from Tours, and now very much in the barn-find condition that we like to find them in, begging to be put on the road again. 
From the Crescia collection, there is a truly excellent choice of sexy Italian stallions with many different examples of Benelli, Bianchi and Moto Guzzi (lot 65 til 74, to only name the prewar choice !).
If you fancy more recent motorcycles, there some superb, but mainly postwar, racers in the Meznarie collection that is also on offer. Finally, for those with less space available, the Géo Ham drawings (lots 33 and 34) are evenly collectible and show his evocative style of recording period motorcycle racing. In short: much brilliant stuff to choose from... Check it out on!

Photos: Osenat, text: Nick Jonckheere
Tuesday, 21 November 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A trooper on its way in 1929

1928 AJS K6 + Thorneycroft 6-wheel lorry
Another of Peter Huson's archive photos - This was taken in March 1929 when Trooper "Ginger" Newton of the B.S.A.Police (British South Africa Police in Southern Rhodesia) and party was en route to Victoria Falls with police reinforcements, because of the Rhodesia Railways strike. There was no Bulawayo to Victoria Falls road back then and the party had to use an old wagon trail. In the background is their Thorneycroft six wheel lorry. In the foreground is a Trooper Joy on an AJS motorcycle. It has been identified as a 1928 AJS K6.  

Text by Andre van de Loo
Monday, 20 November 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A Total Panhard & Levassor Racer Makeover

A Total Panhard & Levassor Racer Makeover

Sometimes a photo comes by, which makes you scratch your head at first. Formidable in appearance, where both the length of the bonnet as well as the large chain wheel point at a very powerful car. Several possibilities pop up in your mind, but none lead to a solution. The six-spoke sprocket wheel is a mystery, no car ever seems to have had one. But then the fog is slowly lifting because the building looks in a way familiar. A vague reminiscence of the Panhard factory comes to mind. And yes indeed, it turns out to be the 'Atelier de réparation' of this famous make!

The next thought was: what if this was a former racing car? This thought led me to the Panhard racers of 1902 and 1903, which in these years were equipped with six spoke sprocket wheels, more or less similar to the one on the photo. A difference was that these cars had a transverse front spring, but it is questionable if this had lead to better road behavior. So while transforming the car for touring purposes the choice for more conventional springs may have been understandable. Other changes were the more modern flat type of radiator instead of the original tubular radiator, the slightly lengthened bonnet and of course the tonneau body, which appears to possess a rather luxurious interior, judging by the glimpses of what just can be seen.

Still, questions remain, like; which car was the basis for this makeover. Could it have been Jarrott's car, with which he had won the Circuit des Ardennes? His car has several details which seem to be identical. And who was the coachbuilder? He must have been a renowned one like Rothschild, Kellner or Labourdette when looking at the details of the body. And finally, who had commissioned this car? All these questions are still waiting for answers, which the future hopefully will bring.

Whatever the answers, the result of the makeover is astonishing: a very powerful and luxurious 'voiture sport de tourisme' with an engine of at least 70 HP, for which every speed limit must have been a nuisance. Definitely a unique car, of which I've never seen pictures before and which must have been one of the fastest touring cars in its days!

Words and photos by Ariejan Bos

Sunday, 19 November 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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