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The annual habit of carving a grotesque face into a pumpkin dates back to long before our cars were made, and commonly believed to be an ancient Irish custom where they also carved turnips and was named after the phenomenon of a strange light flickering over peat bogs, called will-o’-the-wisp’or jack-o'-lantern . Those of you who, like me, were brought up on Eagle comic will remember the character Jack O’ Lantern – a lad called Jack Yorke whose adventures in Napoleonic England gripped the boys of Britain every week. True afficionados in Britain know that Jack O' Lantern has a strong car connection as well.
The flickering pumpkins you’ll see tonight however will herald a night of superstition where we are led to fear ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night. But most of the posters and post cards from the past tell us there's nothing to be afraid of, so whether you encounter witches or goblins, HAVE FUN!
(Text Robin Batchelor)
There are some types of car which inspire total dedication from their owners. Much more than a means of transport, they become part of the owners' personality. Along with this dedication comes too a single-minded belief that their car stands head-and-shoulders above its rivals, and they pull no punches when debating this fact with owners of other, lesser, vehicles.
(Photographs by Jason Bye)
Amongst the cars sold at RM’s Hershey auction was a 1914 belt drive GN which is well known to the British GN fraternity and had enjoyed some competition after being discovered in a UK barn in the 1950s. A new generation of enthusiasts has emerged along with more knowledge about GN cars’ history and the good news is that the car is returning to UK into the hands of a deserving owner who is painstakingly uncovering the history of the car.
It is the only original pre-war belt-drive GN known to exist, there being one other 1915 belt-drive car built up by Arthur Gibson who fitted a Precision V Twin after unsuccessfully hunting high and low for a 90° J.A.P. V twin motor. Those engines are rare and only two are known to exist, I believe both with the same Australian owner. GN built their own 90° V Twin because it was ideal for Cyclecars and the engine in the car returning from America has the only example I know of. Tragically, its original body was discarded and a new one fitted, so more detective work is needed to unravel the car's origins. The body profile as found is similar to photographs of this Brooklands GN and the discovery of drilled con rods and pistons from the original restoration might mean the car cornered on the concrete at the 7 year old banked track in Weybridge? This picture from a copy of Cyclecar shows a 2 seater GP GN captioned 'The Grand Prix GN to be driven by Mr. Nash.' Notice the cycle mudguards as on the car when discovered.
(Text & pictures Robin Batchelor)
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