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Being a judge at a Concours show in Delhi....

Being a judge at a Concours show in Delhi....
Highway Masala!

Being a Judge of the Edwardian Class at the 21 Gun Salute International Vintage Car Rally and Concours Show in Delhi, along with Paul and Andrew Wood of P&A Wood, and Jeremy Jackson Sytner of the Windsor Concourse of Elegance, was indeed an honour and a privilege. Not only was the event, organised by India’s largest collector, Madan Mohan, a grand success in promoting India as motoring tourist destination, it was also an incredible collection of experiences.

One of those experiences was the discovery of a wonderful 1914 Benz 8/20 PS Runabout Tourer. This car, which was judged by us as Best in Class, has phenomenal history and provenance having been in single family ownership since new and complete with its original bill of sale from Benz in Mannheim in Germany. The car following its recently completed restoration will now be spending some time on display at the Heritage Transport Museum in Delhi before going back to the family in Madras.

Another car amongst the 72 on show, and also with tremendous Indian history and provenance was the 1933 Minerva Type AL 7-Passenger Limousine. This lovely example, the largest and most expensive of the 33 made by the Belgian manufacturer was delivered new to the Raja Mohammed Amir Ahmed Kahn, and deservedly took the Best of Show award.

Words and photos: James Nicholls
 
      
Tuesday, 28 February 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail
   

Mystery Monday: a touring bodied car in Sumatra

Mystery car_sumatra_800
A new week has started and we begin this week with a mystery car photographed in Sumatra. It is sent in by Thomas Marinus Both, from Switzerland. He told us that he is a frequent reader of Prewarcar.com and after seeing the latest "About what is it quiz 437" it reminded him of picture that he found in a family album. "It was taken around 1929 in Malomboe in the by then Dutch colony Sumatra where my grandfather Marinus Evert Both had spent some time before returning to the Netherlands to become a dentist in Bussum. The picture shows my grandfather (white suit, to the right) standing right next to a car which I have not been able to identify so far. My first thought was Fiat, but the angle of the radiator top, the hexagonal (?) radiator badge and the louvres in the bonnet look different compared to the contemporary Fiat models. Also the top line of the radiator looks curved instead of straight."

Can you tell what car it is?
Monday, 27 February 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail
   

Gustave Hamel and his racing Mercedes

Gustave Hamel and his racing Mercedes
    

The lead photo showing Gustave Hamel in a racing car at Hendon was the subject of a discussion about the make of the car in 2014. With evidence I recently found in contemporary magazines it appears to be the Mercedes Hamel had owned for several years and which was rebuilt early 1914. 

In The Car Illustrated of March 13, 1912 his Mercedes can be seen on a photo with Hamel congratulating Salmet, who had just before reached Paris from London in a Blériot in just over 3 hours, a new record. In The Autocar of April 4th, 1914 a journalist W. reports to have been taken on a ride with Hamel's Mercedes 'which had recently been fitted with more commodious coachwork than that shown in the photograph'. Without the enormous light projector and with the 'minute and uncomfortable seats' replaced by more comfortable ones, the experience of driving this car was nevertheless still impressive, as stated by the reporter: “ … the clean damp air rushed in our faces with a velocity above that of an express train.” We must remember that the car was a 6 cylinder racer dating from 1909 and still capable of doing 100 miles an hour! 

Comparing the 'old' version of the Mercedes with the car on the lead photo, it seems likely that this is a rare photo of the rebuilt car and thus the dating of the photo must be 1914 rather than 1913. Within 2 months after the report in The Autocar Hamel would disappear above the Channel during one of his many routine flights to France. A farewell was written in La Vie au Grand Air of June 6th, 1914 by his friend and famous sportsman Roland Garros.

Words and pictures: Ariejan Bos

The lead photo showing Gustave Hamel in a racing car at Hendon was the subject of a discussion about the make of the car in 2014. With evidence I recently found in contemporary magazines it appears to be the Mercedes Hamel had owned for several years and which was rebuilt early 1914. 

In The Car Illustrated of March 13, 1912 his Mercedes can be seen on a photo with Hamel congratulating Salmet, who had just before reached Paris from London in a Blériot in just over 3 hours, a new record. In The Autocar of April 4th, 1914 a journalist W. reports to have been taken on a ride with Hamel's Mercedes 'which had recently been fitted with more commodious coachwork than that shown in the photograph'. Without the enormous light projector and with the 'minute and uncomfortable seats' replaced by more comfortable ones, the experience of driving this car was nevertheless still impressive, as stated by the reporter: “ … the clean damp air rushed in our faces with a velocity above that of an express train.” We must remember that the car was a 6 cylinder racer dating from 1909 and still capable of doing 100 miles an hour! 

Comparing the 'old' version of the Mercedes with the car on the lead photo, it seems likely that this is a rare photo of the rebuilt car and thus the dating of the photo must be 1914 rather than 1913. Within 2 months after the report in The Autocar Hamel would disappear above the Channel during one of his many routine flights to France. A farewell was written in La Vie au Grand Air of June 6th, 1914 by his friend and famous sportsman Roland Garros.

Words and pictures: Ariejan Bos

Sunday, 26 February 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail
   

About What is it #439 40 Hp Lanchester

Lanchester-Quiz-Answer
Many correct answers this time! Maybe some readers got a little help, by the unscheduled hint, we gave by the subtitle of the enlarged picture, which said "Prewar-Quiz-Lanchester"...
Most answers were correct and indeed, the picture shows the 40HP-Lanchester built for Lionel Rapson. The price of £3000, Parry Thomas and Arthur Bird, the "Puncture-Proof-Tyres" and the sad fate of the car were also mentioned in many of your answers. Nice details about the car and its owner are told by Rob Geelen, who wrote "...very standard chassis, except for having two Zenith carburettors and a slightly raised compression ratio.Total cost was 3,000 pounds.
(...) Rapson was an inventor and marketeer that for a brief period had quite a following in London society circles and the Prince of Wales and his brothers ran their private Rolls-Royce Motor Cars on his tyres and had his patented jack system fitted. He was very much a marketeer, but his promises didn't always turned out to be true, and his empire floundered...".
Even more details about Lionel Rapson came from Michael Costigan: "...Frederick Lionel Rapson was born in 1887, the son of an Isle of Wight blacksmith. He became Head Chauffeur to HRH Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll until 1914, when he joined the Army Service Corps. He served in France as sergeant-driver to The King's Messenger, later serving in the Union Defence Force in South Africa, before being invalided out of service. Susan Schintz set up an Auxiliary Military Hospital in Liverpool, where Rapson was a patient; Miss Schintz befriended Rapson, employing him as personal secretary responsible for a fleet of cars including Lanchesters. She financed many of his inventions and business enterprises, including the Rapson Tyre Company, so in all probability the Lanchester 40 was actually bought by her. Lionel Rapson died of epilepsy in 1933...".

But who is going to win quiz this week? One good answer was too late, some had a lot more than the  predetrmined maximum of 100 words and so we can congratulate Doug Yates as the winner of quiz #439!

Words and photos: Hubertus Hansmann
 
 
Saturday, 25 February 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail
   

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