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Alternative fuels in the early 1900s

Circuit du_Nord_1902_Les_Renault-300Maybe some of you noticed or even bought during Interclassics in Maastricht at the Pre/PostWarCar stand this postcard with a wonderful image of 1½ racing Renault in what looks like rather wet and muddy circumstances. As a researcher I always like to know what I see, so what do we see? Not the Paris-Vienna race of course, when the weather was nice and sunny.
No, this is part of a photo taken during the Circuit du Nord, held in May of the same year, and published in the sports magazine La Vie au Grand Air of May 25th. This event consisted of a 2 day race for cars and motorcycles and a 3 day fuel consumption contest for motorcycles, cars and trucks. Alcohol was the only fuel to be used, as the contest was organised by the french government to promote the use of alcohol, an important agricultural product of France and a potential rival for petrol. For the competitors of the 2 day race the only importance lay in the fact that it was the first race run under the new 1000 kgm weight limit and thus was a test for the newly developed racing cars. The race itself however was a disappointment. Spread over two days and run in the North of France, it was raining cats and dogs most of the time and there were hardly any spectators. On the first day the major part of the 56 competitors fell out, so on the second day only 19 cars would eventually reach the finish. On the photo we see the brave drivers Grus and Oury on their Renault racers (which were still equipped with De Dion-Bouton engines), finishing 1st resp. 2nd in the voiturette class. Maurice Farman on a Panhard & Levassor was the overall winner. The use of alcohol was not a success. 
Circuit du_Nord_1902_Les_Renault-800As Gerald Rose in his classic "A Record of Motor Racing" described it: "Most drivers disliked it and filled up their tanks with petrol again as soon as they could." The alcohol caused a reduction in speed, the drivers of the Serpollet steam racers were even complaining about a speed reduction of almost 20 per cent! After this event there was only one other alcohol contest, a fuel consumption contest for cars. It was held on the Circuit de l'Hérault in an important wine area in the south of France. Surely a much better combination than with the northern sugar beets ....

Pictures and words: Ariejan Bos
Sunday, 05 June 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

More Maudslay in Southern Rhodesia

Maudsleys in Southern Rhodesia

After an earlier feature with Maudsley in southern Africa Andre van der Loo returns with a new set of pictures of these omnipresent motorcars:
"Here are two more photo's of early Maudsley's in Southern Rhodesia. Photo 1 shows a 1908 Maudslay 17hp Colonial Phaeton. This car was used by the Duke and Duchess of Conaught during their tour of South Africa in 1908. The Royal couple also visited Southern Rhodesia and the car is likely to have remained behind in Salisbury when the couple took a train back to Cape Town from where they embarked on a sea voyage back to England. Photo 2 shows Sgt. Major Searles of the British South Africa Police driving what is said to be a 1908 Maudslay.  This photo was taken on Salisbury Kopje ( = hill)  in 1913. Could these two pictures be of the same car? Perhaps Ariejan Bos could cast his expert glance over the two pictures and perhaps confirm this." Andre van der Loo. 
Sunday, 05 June 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

About Quiz #421 : 1907 Thomas Flyer 4-60 Runabout

1907 thomas_flyer_4-60_runabout_470
Apparantly Quiz #421 of last Saturday was not impossible to solve , we received 16 answers of which most were correct ( unfortunately three came in too late) in identifying the car as a 1907 Thomas Flyer 4-60 4p. runabout/tourabout/gentleman's roadster. Officially Thomas only offered a 3 passenger runabout, but an extra seat is of course easily added. This specific model was indeed also sometimes listed as a Model 35 (see footnote by Politi in the previous Quiz #420!). Moreover we must not forget that the addition Flyer was not a part of the make name, but that it was a model name and in 1907 restricted to the 60hp models. The smaller 40hp model range was called Thomas 'Forty'.
Edwin Hayslip, Michael Longfield, J. Hughes, David Smallacombe, Jason Palmer, Kaream Elhaddadand plus jury members Lars Goran Lindgren and Robbie Marenzi all identified the car fully correct. So at this stage the details given made the difference, making Michael Longfield the winner, who was the most accurate in describing the car and added: “When George Schuster returned home from the around the world race he had his hand in the chassis refinement of the 4-60 and added an extra 1/4” to the bore pushing the 1909 4-60 models to 573 cu inch”.
Congratulations Michael! Please provide us with your shirt size and mail address to send the PreWarCar T-shirt. 

( special thanks to Mahmoud 'Turbo' Ezzeldin from Cairo who provided the photo, courtesy Mr. Shehab Hossam ) 

Saturday, 04 June 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

One Lady, two Mysteries

1911 sizaire_naudin_470
Sorry, it's a very poor quality photo. This happens as people use there mobile photos to shoot a framed photo.
We were not able to contact Leonard Mermod who wrote: "All I know is that my Grandmother is behind the wheel in both pictures and that they were taken in England prior to August of 1912. My Grandfather had an automotive related business of some kind and lived in Chelsea at the time. I am speculating that these may be customers cars out for delivery or returned after repair."

Despite the ill quality of the photo we thought the car is so intriguing and the look of the young lady irrepeatable that we didn't want to hide the scene for you. Her roadster is very complete and has about every brass option you could get on a light car of the day. We presume it is around 1910. Also the shape of the bonnet and radiator is making us feel confident that we're looking at a Sizaire-Naudin runabout.  Very close to this 1911-12 tourer version (Conam). In the same batch sent by Leonard.... was yet another photo of even worse quality. It's a big tourer and we do not even want to start a gamble. Over to you. Maybe a nice warming up for tomorrow's interesting quiz.
Friday, 03 June 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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