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Two cylinders and a 2CV stickshift. Why should you want it?

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Do you like lots of metal and bright-work under the bonnet? Do you prefer complexity over simplicity? Do you like to pub-chat XL petrol bills and speeding tickets? Do you love to check the dipstick and do frequent oil changes? Then  better move on as the DKW F5 is definitely not your cup of tea. 

The light and simple construction of the DKW is a statement of pre-war ingenuity and mid thirties avant garde engineering. Front wheel drive. Two stroke 2-cylinder of 692 cc. When DKW came with front wheel drive on their smaller cars in 1931 it was most certainly no common thing. Still the design didn't suffer from experimental diseases. The F5 series was one of the best selling cars of the late thirties. 

Driving is a bit unusual and thus interesting. Except for the pre-war FWD the gearshift is very much like that of the Citroën TA and 2CV like with the shift handle protruding from the dashboard like a walking stick. Yet one can wonder who inspired who, the Citroën came three years later. For further comparison, there are 3 forward gears and gear lever is located on the dash. You engage clutch, pull out gear lever and turn left for first gear, push in and turn rlever right for second gear and then turn lever left for third gear. For reverse it is pull out lever and turn right. The gears can be a little tight to move at the start but once the car is warmed up then gears move a lot more freely."

So if you're looking for truly forward design in an affordable, easy accessible, easy to work on package, the DKW - most certainly in this attractive convertible variation - is certainly worthwhile considering. To be auctioned by H&H on 23 July.

(Photos courtesy H&H )

Wednesday, 02 July 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

French Talbot dreams getting real

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Some time ago PreWarCar bought a badly neglected French Talbot saloon and since then a lot of work has been done to get it on the road again. Initially most work went into identifying the car as it had no papers and only the chassis number was known. With invaluable help from the Sunbeam Talbot Darracq Register and the French Talbot Club (thank you Patrice Delangre, thank you Bill Clark, thank you Stig Fransson, thank you Charles van Lookeren) we finally concluded that we own a 1931 Talbot K78 Long. The differences with the better known M75 are the very long wheelbase, the larger bore of the engine and a slightly different radiator design. After getting the car registered (thank you Jan Altena) we needed to get it home and as we didn't look forward to a trailer trip with 1850 kilos on top we decided to drive it home 100 miles. Despite the fact the car still needs a lot of fettling and hundreds of small repairs, the 'big lumps' are functioning. However the car had not been run more than a few testmiles since 35 years, so it promises to be somewhat of an adventure. 

At the wheel of the large and heavy Talbot we found this is a most serious saloon. The long wheel base (3400 mm), weight (1850 kilo), well adjusted Hartfords give a comfortable ride, better than expected, even the dreaded speed bumps which are all over in Holland are taken with a smile. The 2,8 litre engine isn't exactly swift but pulls the heavy car with ease with a comfortable 55 mph cruising speed. More is possible for certain yet with an engine which has not seen any training over the past years we kept with a steady 45. Gearshift with a long stick is easy when taking the time for it and do some double declutching when the box asks for it. Steering is heavy, that plus the long bonnet, low windshield and long gearstick give the impression you're at the head of a roadtrain more than an elegant French Berline. On short turns one has to keep ones eyes wide open while guessing where the left side and the end of the car are going. In general you need both halfs of the road in tight corners which is something to think about when cruising the countryside...

As said still lots of things need to be done (dashboard is still a bit rough, yet at least the oil pressure gauge is working) to make the car a worthy member of the Pre-War Salooning community, but the beginning is there. We'll keep you posted.

(Illustration Claude Berton, courtesy French Talbot Club, photos Rick Nicolaas)

Tuesday, 01 July 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Mystery 200 HP Benz travelling Europe? (update: Farman?)

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Nicolae sent two photos (click for second one) showing a massive car which presumably is a Benz and ads that he suspects the car to be a Blitzen Benz in touring disguise. Note that the sum of radiator, hood plus cowl are longer than the full passenger compartment..!  Well we don't think it's a Blitzen due to the long chassis. The sheer size of the monster at least suggests we're looking at one of the 'XL'  1912-1920 39/100 HP models or even - note again the ultra long bonnet - the ultra rare 22 litre 82/200 HP (in that case we should find a chaindrive). It has a similar long wheelbase yet slightly more modern than the 1913 82-200HP model. The photo was shot during a trip through Europe, but where and who are on board, this is not an everyman's motor. Any of you knows more about the car and what became of it?  Dream away with the thought that you open an old shed somewhere stumbling upon this baby.
Monday, 30 June 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

America !

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In the 1910s-1920s more than 20 different marques were produced In Barcelona.  America Autos was one of the obscure marques which appeared. It was established in 1917 under the direction of Mr Manuel Pazos, an imaginative engineer who developed a first model, the "type A"  with many innovations subsequently patented. Inventions were the "Pazos Elastic Wheel" (with built in springs), an engine with a kind of rotating valves and a synchronized gearbox.

The commercial success of the America Type A was limited due to its high price, so in 1919 the "Type B" was presented, a regular cyclecar without important innovations but cheap and durable and is was sold in reasonable quantities. The "Type C", a last sporting cyclecar, was launched in 1921, but not too long after the factory closed its doors. This was in 1922.

 Until now not much more was known about the marque, but our friends of Autodromo Magazine have made a thorough study of America Autos in the last number which recently appeared, where you also can read the history of "Automovil Salon", the Spanish importer of Bugatti, Minerva and Stuzt. So brush up your Spanish if you want to learn more about America. 

(text Francisco Carríon, photos courtesy Autódromo ) 
Sunday, 29 June 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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The Market



Post War Choice

1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster
You can't get more car on less money: Rally or Restore: 1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster...  Go >>