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What is it? Quiz #378

what is_it_quiz_378_470
This great colonial style picture found its way to us all the way from Bombay. A reader's friend recently found it and, like ourselves, wondered about the 5 w's: who, what, where, when and why? Well, some of these have yet been answered as it's supposedly taken in Bombay in 1905. As a matter of fact the couple on the photograph may be known, too, as Mr and Mrs J (Jeff?) Duff Blair with their prized posession - that alone must have been reason enough to photograph it. Now, that leaves with just one more questions: what? Easy as that.

You know the drill. We want the name and model designation of the car with any extra information being awarded. How many horns/whistles/valves/gears? Did Mahatma Gandhi have a ride in it? Was it painted purple at one stage? Does it survive? Bonus points for any trivial knowledge not readily available from 'the web' or 'the shelf'. In order to have a chance of winning the infamous PreWarCar T-shirt, please check The Rules under 'Read More'. Results will be published next Saturday September 13.

Saturday, 06 September 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Beauty and the Bédelia

Beauty and the Bédélia (friday lady)

Back in May we shared with you the story of the 2014 Festival of Slowth – a celebration of cyclecars and their owners. The event was held in the grounds of Llysdinam Hall in Wales, the family home of Sir John and Lady Carolyn Venables –Llewelyn … both avid car enthusiasts and lover of gardens. Today’s subject is Becky and she is head gardener at the Hall. She took time out of her busy day to show anybody interested around the gardens – I think everybody joined the tour and fascinating it was too.

Becky knew the Latin names of all the flowers, shrubs and trees and such was her enthusiasm that Mike Bullett offered her a ride in his 1912 Bédélia. You could see the nervousness in her smile as she clambered aboard the car where the passenger sits in front of the driver, but once they got going her smile rose to helpless laughter and she forgave Mike for any damage we caused her lawns and paths during the driving tests.

(Text/pictures Robin Batchelor)

Friday, 05 September 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Metropolis motor keeps on rousing readers

Motor car_from_Metropolis
There is no doubt that one of the most daring of silent film projects is Fritz Lang's epic 'Metropolis'. One reader writes: "As I have viewed the film over the years, the question of the make and model of the white limousine, used by Freder in the movie, has never been answered." Indeed, the big chauffeur driven landaulette - clearly modified for the movie - remains a Metropolis mystery of the first kind.

The still shown above comes from our friends of the Internet Movie Cars Database and they have dug up another one, too. Their readers suggest anything from Mercedes to Hispano-Suiza, De-Dion Bouton to Bugatti and from Panhard and Adler to Farman. Martin Koerber of the Deutsche Kinemathek - considered the world's leading expert on the film Metropolis - states that even he has no clue about the automobile used for the film. Urban legend has that Fritz Lang used the car to arrive at the opening of Metropolis in Berlin at the Palast am Zoo movie theater on January 10, 1927, but no photographs to prove this appear to be known. What do you think?

(Picture courtesy

Thursday, 04 September 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

An Eastbourne Seaside Mystery (UPDATE: 1908/09 Itala?1907 FIAT?)

Eastbourne seaside_mystery

Nick Graves sent us above picture of his great grandfather William Charles Butler standing next to an impressive machine. Nick writes that the man was a 'motor engineer' in Eastbourne, Sussex somewhere from around 1910 to 1940. His garage was located at 8, Seaside, as his old business card shows (telephone 1005 - love it). The romantic street name - you can hear the sea gulls cry - has meanwhile been renamed into A259, with number 8 now housing a dull three-story-appartment block.

And so it seems that much of Butler's Garage heritage has been erased for good, with only Eastbourne pier on a stone's throw away as a silent and now ghostly reminder of days gone past. Still then, Nick wonders about that lovely picture. Who knows what kind of car his great grandfather was standing so proudly next to? The number plate DI 37 indicates it was registered in Kent after 1913, but we guess the car is a bit older. More like 1909, or? Check the engine design up closely - do we see four seperate pots? And what about the crankcase(?) cover left on the ground?  Is the brass ID-plate high up on the right of the firewall... Peugeot? But then the XL Rushmore headlights may bring us in the US. Over to you!
Wednesday, 03 September 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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Post War Choice

1950 Riley RMC Roadster only 507 build
The delectable 1950 2,5 ltr. Riley RMC Roadster...  Go >>