A Theodore Lafitte cyclecar made in Paris
Burdick’s Chocolate & Walpole Creamery Model T Tour

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Let's go on a journey to China


China, the land of many different aspects. One thinks they are way ahead of the rest of the world. Others say this is far from true. About 2 years ago we had the opportunity to experience it ourselves, we drove from Beijing to Shanghai with old cars. Man oh man, what did we enjoy the rally and our time there. The movie above was made during the event and brought back good memories. China is a place like nowhere else. The first days it was quite a challenge to understand the traffic and the culture, but after this it was a joy!
Last week we spoke to the organization. They told us that there are still some places left for the next edition. When you want to see, smell and taste this country yourself, we will absolutely encourage you to go! For more information, go to their website >click<

Movie by Andrew Bearsley, words by editor
Thursday, 20 July 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail
   

PreWar Workshop: Piston stuck in the block

PreWar Workshop: Piston stuck in the block
This old Herschell-Spillman V8 engine (1916) has been in a shed for almost 50 years. It has cast iron blocks and pistons and the engine has fixed tops.
Some years ago the engine was left to a car restorer for renovation. Two pistons were stuck but one was relatively easy taken out. Then the renovation stopped as the second one withstood every attempt with all kinds of rust removal and brut force. After some years I decided to try myself or let someone else do the job, this time with acid or lye.
A friend of mine (a very experienced restorer) offered to try too loosening the piston first.
He machined a bar to fit the big end of the piston rod and bolts were welded to the bar. Those were used to put pressure and help pull out the piston. The block (and piston) was then repeatedly heated with a hot air pistol several times to make it widen and shrink. This did not help, the piston was still stuck.
All holes in the cylinder were plugged except the spark plug hole. Lye (sodium hydroxide) was then poured into the cylinder thru the spark plug hole and the minus cable of a battery charger was connected to the piston rod. A piece of iron was mounted in a plastic plug so this metal part would not shortcut. The plug was screwed into the spark plug hole and the iron connected to the plus cable. The iron bar was now in the space above the piston filled with lye. This finally did the trick! After about three days the piston started moving down. It could now be completely drawn out of the cylinder by using the welded bolts.
The block was then lowered into a bath of lay and again connected to the battery charger. After a couple of days all rust and old sticky oil was gone. The cylinders have been inspected and to our surprise all four of them are in very good condition!
The cylinders in the other block have been honed (machine grinded) and are fine. Next step is to hone the cylinders in this block. Hopefully they are as good as they look.

Text and photos by Gunnar Geijer
     
Wednesday, 19 July 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail
   

Motoring events to remember: The Ellis Journey 1895 – 2017

Motoring events to remember: The Ellis Journey 1895 – 2017
In July 1895, the Honourable Evelyn Ellis went to Paris to buy his first motor car. The 4 hp Daimler-engined Panhard-Levassor had been built to his special specification (like the left-hand (!) tiller steering, to have a better view on the road edge), and after some instruction, he drove it from Paris to Le Havre. Nothing special in France, in those days, as cars were built there in rather larger numbers already (his car was Panhard-Levassor nr 394). Not so in Britain, because when Ellis set foot in Southampton, he was the first to import a proper (petrol) motor car. Although steam and some other prototype petrol cars had been tried, it was this machine that would write history. Fortunately, the trip was recorded by Frederick Simms, who joined for the drive from Micheldever Station to Ellis's home in Datchet.

On 2 July 2017, 122 years later, the De Dion Bouton Club UK re-ran this last section, and 21 vehicles (not only limited to De Dion Bouton cars, but with 1904 as the youngest) did the journey. Roy Tubby's 1897 Panhard-Levassor, only two years younger than the original Ellis vehicle, is duly tested for a passenger ride during its warm-up lap. The Phénix twin-cylinder engine gives a surprising performance, the power being brought to the rear wheels (through a four-speed gearbox) via chain-drive, the feeling of speed is 'quite fast'. But the uneven size of front and rear wheels, and the tiller steering, give away the pioneer status of this design: a bit top heavy, and rather direct on the controls.

On the actual run, I am passengering in Andy Watt's 1904 Berliet. The difference between this car and the Panhard-Levassor is massive. Andy's car is equipped with a 40 hp four-cylinder engine of 6,5 liter, and capable of 60 mph ! The six-seater body can luxuriously carry a whole family. Its lines have a great resemblance to the Mercedes of those days, but strangely, the engine's ignition is by make-and-break contact inside the cylinder. It works a treat !
We easily overtake all other cars, which go from quite a few De Dion Boutons (of course), but also representations of the British car industry, like the 1899 Star of Wolverhampton, 1904 Humberette  and the very rare 1904 Norfolk. Mike Everett is bravely tackling the 47 miles on an 1898 De Dion Bouton trike, but like ALL other participants, reaches Datchet without any major problems.

This excellent new event by the DDBUK club happened in glorious sunshine and on stress-free roads. This first edition having had a good start, will hopefully expand, and for future editions any pre-1905  bicycle, trike, motorcycle or car of any make is invited. Keep an eye on www.dedionboutonclub.co.uk
Text: Nick Jonckheere, photos Nick Jonckheere & Claire Shek
     
Tuesday, 18 July 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail
   

It`s all one big mystery…

concours délégance
This fantastic photograph is sent in by Mr Bernard Corrège from France. According to him, the photograph is taken in 1935 or 1936. Somewhere in the Gironde district in the southwest of France, the Bordeaux wine region during a Concours d'Elegance. His grandfather had a Talbot, the one that can be seen on the photograph. Other than this, we do not have any additional information about the car, the place or the event. Also after some research we were not able to find anything of value about the photograph.
Therefore, we would like to ask you; is there anyone who knows anything about one of these cars during this Concours d'Elegance? Maybe something about the event? Because who won? Was this just this one time, maybe in honour of for example an anniversary. Or does anyone know if this has been a recurring event? 
Who can tell us more about this photograph? We are looking forward receiving your thoughts, comments and maybe even answers!
Monday, 17 July 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail
   

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1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental
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