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Dear Prewar Editor:
With winter approaching it’s about time to get that warm coat from the loft and find a nice place to sip a coffee. Over in Austria, temperatures just manage to keep the water liquid - during the day. These ladies know and come out of the warm cabin of their impressive motor only to show off their impressive fur coats. Nope - It’s not just the Vienna number plate suggesting they were no mere farmer’s daughters.
If that big car really is theirs, they certainly aren’t impoverished. That’s an Austro-Daimler, made in Vienna too. It could well be the ADM with overhead cam six-cylinder engine. Or perhaps even the rare eight-cylinder version? Never mind. Off to Hotel Sacher for a Melange and a piece of that lovely cake they make there...
(Text Jeroen Booij, photo collection Raymond X.)
H&H hold their Christmas auction on Wednesday 3 December at Chateau Impney in Worcestershire. The Chateau has long been associated with motoring events and last week played host to the annual ERA Club dinner. Balloonist Robin Batchelor takes you out for an 'aerial view' of the sale.
The automobilia section contains a good variety of quality items, including this rare copy of The First Aero Engine by Rolls Royce ( 1914 – 16). A good insight into the thought processes of the great designer being a compilation of memos sent by Royce at the start of WW l covering the inception, design and development of the Eagle engine and mentions the Hawk engine which I found hidden in a corner on a recent Automobile magazine Oily Rag Run !
According to the catalogue, the first open-heart surgery performed in the UK was by Sir William Errington Hume and in 1935 he bought an Armstrong Siddeley saloon which is offered in ‘time warp’ condition. The next lot is another 3 litre saloon but from USA, a 1928 Nash Standard Six in resplendent restored condition and then a smart 1936 Alvis Crested Eagle TF 19.82 saloon ( thought to be 1 of 4 known) and this desirable 1938 Bentley 4.25 litre Sports. There are smaller cheaper saloons available – a ’37 Model Y Ford and another one in traditional black ( you know Henry Ford’s famous quote). Even smaller, but not cheaper, is a pretty 1930 Austin 7 RK Box saloon and a later one here.
The Bullnose Morris Club has a thriving membership who usually advertise their cars in the magazine but here we have a lovely example of the 1925 Morris Bullnose Long Oxford with good provenance and a nice ‘used-but-smart’ appearance. Eminently usable with bigger engine and 4 wheel brakes, let’s see if it reaches its £20,000 high estimate. I think it will. And whilst thinking of prices, the 18th Baron Berkeley bought this magnificent 1931 Lagonda 2 Litre Low Chassis Speed Model Tourer for £200 in 1961 with an Austin 7 thrown in as well. Lord Berkeley prospered after his 1961 student days and subsequently spent nearly £100,000 on a thorough restoration of the car so its high estimate of £75,000 seems a bargain.
Did you see our editor out in his 1931 Talbot recently? There are three different Talbots on offer – The large imposing 1911 Talbot 15hp Type M 'Roi Des Belges' Tourer has had an older restoration, but starts readily on the handle. The 1936 Talbot 110 Speed Tourer was owned by VSCC treasurer for 25 years. “ The Talbot engines were powerful, silent, reliable and smooth, whilst braking was outstanding”. However, the car which gets my vote is the 1916 Talbot 4CY 15/20HP which has been rebodied as a ‘Balloon Car’ as a nod to its likely origins as a tender car for Quantas Airways “ on trips to the Outback as a service and rescue vehicle repairing downed aircraft and collecting crew”. The original and best known Balloon Car was used by Charles Rolls in 1908, or rather his long-suffering chauffeur, to retrieve his balloon after landing at some far flung place miles from anywhere. It's nice to think of this Talbot earning its keep in the harsh conditions of the 1916 Australian Outback - it deserves an easier life with its next owner.
Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy H&H Classic Auctions and author.
The COYS auction house are holding their ‘True Greats’ sale on 2 December at the Royal Horticultural Society in London’s Westminster . They start at 3pm with nearly 200 lots of film and poster art with some autographs included. Enzo Ferrari is worth £2000 whereas Hamilton & Button together are £100. (I bet it sells for more now Lewis is world champion!) Fangio is £600. The cars and motorcycles start selling at 7pm and lot 432 is a 1937 Ford Model 78 Woody and having owned a 1938 Woody for nearly 30 years, you can understand my enthusiasm. They are wonderful cars to drive and this will be a real workhorse for its new owner. It needs to be filled with friends, Beach Boys loud on the period radio and start putting some patina on that shiny new wood. Of the two Invictas offered I prefer the 1936 4½ Litre S-Type Low Chassis Tourer which is clearly described as a ‘continuation’ car with a new chassis fitted with original engine and gearbox and many other parts. Much better use them in this car than gather dust under a bench. The other model is a 1928 4½ high chassis tourer and if you like patina, this car has it having being stored from 1949 to 2004. Macklin did well to secure the services of Henry Meadows and his powerful, robust 4½ litre engine defines these fine cars with bags of torque and performance.
The Rolls Royce name is found in lots 420 and 431. I chose the LHD 1929 Phantom 1 with Newmarket coachwork. An exceptionally handsome car that exudes quality in every respect and offers the comfort and weather protection of a saloon whilst maintaining the ability to be made into a full convertible, with a very neat and compact folding top. Equally stylish is the 1934 Bugatti Type 57 Series I Ventoux, (with tempting description of impeccable provenance), and the 1930 Aston Martin International 1½ Litre Open Tourer is one of 81 Internationals ever made and has enjoyed a no-expense-spared restoration. Somebody once told me you can tell a true aristocrat by his frayed shirt collar and as you gaze lovingly at the 1929 Alfa Romeo 1750 6C you notice the upholstery has the look of a well-used armchair in a gentleman’s club. Finished in silver grey with a contrasting dark grey top, the upright Drophead Coupé bodywork appears original and is typical of James Young design, representing a unique fusion of pre-war Italian engineering and British design. This well-preserved example has been described by the late Pat Braden, a well-respected Alfa Romeo expert, as a “finely crafted design that was decades ahead of its time.” Remarkably original and well preserved, it may very well be the most original example of its kind remaining today.
And so we come to the pièce de résistance – the 1912 Lancia 20/30 HP Tipo 58 “Epsilon” Corsa. Understood to be the world's oldest functioning Lancia motorcar, it was discovered languishing in the Lancia factory’s storage by the late Oscar Capellano and he quickly proved that it was one of the 1913 Targa Florio team cars. This didn’t help his long patient efforts to buy the car from Lancia, but his reputation as the Lancia historian and author eventually persuaded them to sell the car and Capellano set about a painstaking restoration of the only surviving Lancia racing car of this period of pioneering competition motoring. In his honour, Capellano‘s daughter has decided to part with this car in order to fund a project called “Progetto Gnekko”. It will be a nature park in Chivasso outside of Turin where handicapped children can come to interact with animals and learn to appreciate nature.
(Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy COYS)
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