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Earlier this week Stijnus Schotte died at the age of 49, decades too early. He was still full of ideas. Still full of touring plans and more. He liked a good glass of beer - sometimes two - but more important was his big appetite for US made brass era cars, preferably in usable but unrestored condition. Ranging from early Franklin up to the slightly 'modern' Packard double six. Yet most will remember him as Stijnus 'Spyker' Schotte. As anything Spyker related would make him jump up and down with enthusiasm.
His father was a wellknown collector and Stijnus not only inherited his father's old car genes but also a small museum known as De Autostal including the 1909 car that he campaigned around the globe. Any Saturday morning you could drop in at the pocketsize homely museum for coffee and cake and have a chat with a small gathering of nutheads. When Stijnus was not in the country, he was most probably on tour with friends of the Horseless Carriage Club, with the dutch PAC or with friends in Germany.
Well remembered is the participation with his beloved 1909 Spyker in the Beijing-Paris reenactment of 2005. Further Spyker fame he gathered with the spectacular find in French Guyana of a 1907 model.
Stijnus was always a good laugh and when he was in, he was all over the place. The dustless Spyker is not the first picture to associate Stijnus with. But no matter what, when in future the famous name of Spyker will sound, to us it will have the echo of Stijnus Schotte.
We first introduced you to Josephine Baker back in 2003, but since our minds are in Paris this week as Retromobile attracts huge numbers of enthusiasts to wander the halls of Parc des expositions de la Porte de Versailles and indulge their passion, let's re-make her acquaintance.
Paris is just as famous for its night life and in 1925 Josephine Baker had her first job to appear in La Revue Negre. Her next significant job was at the Folies Bergere where she was a member of their all-black revue and it was there she first performed her famous Banana Dance which helped her quickly become the topless, banana-skirted toast of Paris, doing what she could to increase her notoriety hovering somewhere between scandal and sensation. (See a vignette of her in the wonderful animated film ‘Belleville Rendezvous ‘ HERE.) In 1961, Josephine was awarded the Legion of Honour, France's highest award.
The picture shows her at the summer concours, her clinging white dress contrasting perfectly with her dark skin and the black and white Delage D-6 convertible. Pablo Picasso said of her: "Tall, coffee skin, ebony eyes, legs of paradise, a smile to end all smiles.".
Georges Simenon the Belgian author and inventor of Inspector "Maigret" had a short relationship with Josephine in 1925. He couldn't stand it, however, that she was more in the spotlight then him, and called himself "Mr. Josephine".
When Retromobile closes its doors for the night and our friends all start to explore Paris by night, if you think you see a vision of beauty trotting down The Avenue des Champs-Élysées in a cart being pulled by an Ostrich then you can say you have seen Josephine Baker.
(Text and pictures Robin Batchelor)
Our good friends from the Model T Ford World Tour are also present at Retromobile. And such a special story doesn't go unnoticed by the French media.
One can drown in the sheer perfection of the automobiles offered by Lukas H'uni...
Few words needed for the display of the Baillon collection at Retromobile Paris. In fact the visual impact is way beyond the trivial financial outcome of the auction. In our view the exposition should stick together like the travelling exposition of the terracotta army from China.
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