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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

What will you be bringing home from Beaulieu?

1936 mg_ta_bonhams_beaulieu_470
Beaulieu is on our mind! Only a few days away from totally unexpected treasures.  And only a few days away from unexpectedely selling that heap of parts. You'll never know what happens and one thing is sure, whatever you think of Beaulieu, it's never a bore. Like the nearby  sea Beaulieu gives, Beaulieu takes...
So what have we got here? A prototype of a Lotus Super Seven van? Well not quite, although we're not sure what the designer/engineer had in mind when he started of with his 1936 MG TA in the sixties. Seller Bonhams describes the MG TA Special tongue in cheek as a 'breadvan'. One thing is sure, when you get EPG32 on the road again, you won't go unnoticed. And Beaulieu 2014 will stay in your memory forever. See you this weekend! 

 (photo courtesy Bonhams)
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

The World's Fastest (Indian) Cyclecar?

indian v-twin_powered_fwd_cycle_car_470
Keith McElroy spotted this sporty cyclecar at Steam & Traction rally at Lake Goldsmith, Victoria, Australia two years ago..! And the mschine is still haunting him. The engine is an aircooled Indian V-twin. Furthermore one can see it is a frontwheel drive. A rather intersting machine We suspect the car is a one-off, and we're sure there are a few friends out there who can tell Keith and all of us all about it. 
Monday, 01 September 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Gordon Bennett Balloon Race; follow the flight! (ed.Updated below)

Gordon Bennett Balloon Race

The Gordon Bennett Balloon Race has started last night from Vichy in France. 19 balloon crews took off with balloons filled with hydrogen and the winner will be the pilot who travels the furthest.

The best will stay in the air 70 hours or more open to the elements in a wicker basket. Balloons can only travel where the wind takes them and nobody knows where they will land, but conditions look as though they will travel east and may end up anywhere from Poland to Romania.

Gordon Bennett published The New York Herald in Paris and offered a magnificent trophy in 1906 to the winner and sat back waiting for  the stories to roll in which would sell his newspaper – just as the aeroplanes and motor cars had done in the similar Gordon Bennett Races.

You can watch the progress of the different teams on a live-tracking page HERE.  The picture shows Charles Rolls ascending from Paris in 1906 and he landed in northern England 26 hours later in third place.


The balloons have been flying for 30+ hours and leader ‘Swiss 2’ has travelled 870 km mostly at 15,000 feet breathing oxygen in freezing temperatures and are just crossing the coastline of Croatia. The other balloons elected to fly at lower altitudes and headed south east towards Marseille. Four have landed before the coast and the remaining eleven balloons are currently drifting across the sea towards Corsica and Sardinia.

Weather conditions, air traffic control and remaining sand ballast dictate their options but some may attempt landings in the unstable heat of the day on those islands. Not easy! Their retrieve drivers are waiting in Italy for instructions.

You can watch the balloons’ progress on the live tracking page and also get a taste of what the Gordon Bennett Balloon Race involves by seeing pictures of the launch HERE, a video of champion Vincent Leys ‘weighing off’ his balloon at the start HERE, and my commentary on the race HERE.

Saturday, 30 August 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 >>