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lancia 1906_470

It is a sad story. One of the most illustrious names on the road and on the track is fading and will vanish altogether. The FIAT group has lost faith in the brand of Lancia. Since 1906 the name gathered fame with great innovations and inventions. Later this fame was followed by fabulous rallying and racing results. 

Over the past 108 years the development of the motorcar owes much to the technical genius at Lancia. Innovations have been its trademark ever since Vincenzo Lancia founded the company in 1906. Engineers were always ahead of the market and made up for the lack of marketing talent in Torino. Recently however it is the bookkeepers under the leadership of Sergio Marchionne who take over. Lancia is left to die slowly, retreating to its home market in order to disappear without a cry. In 1955 the Automobile Club of Italy proposed to Lancia to help Ferrari by selling them their Lancia F1 cars. Would it not be time for the ACI to propose Fiat to help Lancia by selling off Chrysler? We need your support to save history from disappearing. Take one minute to fill out the petition.  

(Photo Lancia ) 

Monday, 29 September 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A love story Mystery

A car to identify
Wendy Warren is seeking help with her family history research: "If you could identify this car....." and adds: "I wish I knew more. The photo was taken in Leire, Leicestershire. The man was a wealthy Leeds businessman who met a Leire shop-girl in Leeds – and please don’t ask me or the family how she got to Leeds because they have no idea. He was widowed, fell in love with her, married her and gave her anything she wanted for the rest of his life. He adored her – and she him. She wanted to come back to live in her home village of Leire, so they came and were the bountiful Aunt and Uncle to a large group of nieces and nephews, her brothers and sisters, mother and father. None of that will help you in the slightest, but I think it’s a lovely story. (Editor: and we can only agree to that) 

I know a  little about early cars – my father was Jim Batten of the Beckenham Motor Company and the Batten Specials. In the original I wondered if I could discern an ‘R’ and a pair of wings on the chrome over the radiator, but where was the winged lady? Or could it be an early Delage? It is probably pre-WW1 or just post- or thereabouts. Many thanks!"

Sunday, 28 September 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

About Quiz #379: No winner: 1919/20 Dobi

about quiz_379_1919_dobi_470

Yes we knew that this car is very difficult to guess, but we never know what will happen. This time only two courageous readers dared to send in an answer, and one of them came quite close. Roger  told:  "This is à Cyclecar (Autociclo) David manufactured by Jose Maria Armangue in Barcelona"; almost but not completely correct. The car pictured is a very rare Dobi, a cyclecar marque based in Madrid which produced cars in little quantities only between 1919 and 1922. In this page of Autopassion you can find the only information known till recent days, when the above postcard was discovered... in the archives of the David company of Barcelona!

Without doubt the Dobi was a "copy" of the David cyclecar, with the same semi-automatic gearbox and chassis design but with an strange front axle formed by many thin tubes(can anyone explain the priciple here?)  and a single leaf spring. Written on the postcard is "Tipo Sport";  based on that we suppose that the car pictured should has one of the "big" four cylinder engines, possibly the french made Ballot, which was used in the last Dobi produced. Also is unknown the concrete number of cars assembled by this little factory, and of course there are no survivors known. That is to say until somebody comes forward...
Saturday, 27 September 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A Swallow on the kitchen table

A Swallow on the kitchen table.

As Summer ends and Autumn colours slowly enrich our countryside, Swallows start to gather for their annual migration to warmer countries, but not this one. A 1931 Wolseley Hornet Sports Swallow 2- seater. The egg-shell blue car stood out in the car park at Kop Hill Climb last weekend so I had to find the owner. I found Lorna busy investigating the operation of the butterfly in her carburetter after sensing slight loss of power on her run up the hill. She told me she had re-built the car herself - in her kitchen - after her father had threatened to sell it. "My dad had it in 1960 after previously owning a similar car to this. He sold it and wished he hadn’t, so he bought the bits, stripped it all down but then moved house and had three daughters. Thirty years later he phoned me up and said he was letting them go as spares. So I swore at him and said ‘I’ll do it dad’. He said I didn’t know anything about cars but I thought ‘how difficult can it be?’."

Two years later Lorna had her pride and joy on the road with a new MOT. During the rebuild she carefully scraped off layers of paint beneath the red, green and black and finally uncovered a beautiful pale blue and it was like 'Yes! I don’t have to have a maroon car anymore'! "To me it’s the right colour for a girl’s car and I just love driving it. I love dressing up and waving, I feel like a film star."

(Text and pictures Robin Batchelor)

Friday, 26 September 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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Post War Choice

1953 Panhard Dyna X87 Junior Roadster
One of the most attractive post-war Panhards: 1953 Dyna X87 Junior Roadster...  Go >>