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Edward P. Zerė and his C6 Amilcars

Edward P.  Zerė and his C6 Amilcars
Anyone interested in the C6 Amilcars imported to UK by Vernon Balls in the late 1920s may be aware of Edward Zerė who ran a workshop called Z.N. Motors Ltd. at 904, Harrow Road, London, NW10. He was in partnership with a Scotsman whose name, therefore, may have begun with an N.  Zerė himself specialised in tuning and is reported to have been involved with the final tuning of Widengren’s offset C6 Amilcar, whilst the car was being prepared by Automobile Supertuners, in preparation for 1100 cc record-breaking runs at Montlhėry in 1932. Zerė himself ran a red, Eldridge cowled, Surbaissė 4 cyl. Amilcar. At about this time Zerė purchased 2 x Amilcar C6s, one of which chassis 11014 had an extensive Brooklands racing history and another of uncertain origin as a spares car. Zerė’s intention, according to a March 1936  Motorsport article, which has 2 photos of the partially rebuilt Amilcar, was to rebuild a lightened and modified car to run in outer- circuit races at Brooklands. Apart from this one article little other references to Zerė is to be found in the motoring press of the time, so what is known of this skilled automobile engineer?
Born Illya Pavlovich Zerekidze in 1888 in Russia, Zerė appears in a poor quality early group photograph around an aircraft with A.V.Roe, Bert Hinkler and others. It is known that Russia ordered 2 Avro fighters in 1922, perhaps Zerė had some aviation engineering background before coming to England? In 1932 Zerė applied for naturalization as a British Citizen and was known as “Paul” in England, living at 181, Chamberlayne Road, Willesden. His very attractive wife was named Vera. In Motorsport dated March 1949, Z.N.Motors advertised “Two Six-Cylinder Racing Amilcars” for sale. In due course, a group, subsequently naming themselves “Equipe TNC” purchased all of Zerė’s Amilcar parts and together with parts from another Amilcar C6, built up a pair of much-modified racing 6cyl. Amilcars Reg. Nos. OXW1 & OXW2. This team, particularly OXW1 driven by John Tozer, were very successful in many VSCC and other club events over several years. Both cars still exist and recently the ex Tozer car has undergone an exhaustive restoration to near original condition but retaining some of the Zerė modifications like the triangular lightening holes in the chassis longerons, the extended wheelbase, and gearchange mechanism.
I am indebted to the current owner of this car for researching what little we know of Zerė’s background and the fact that he died in London in 1965. There were apparently no children. A senior member of the UK Amilcar Register remembers an article about Zerė published in a post-war UK motoring magazine, but to date, this article has not been identified. There also exist a number of photographs of an elderly gentleman closely examining the TNC cars at several meetings, perhaps this could be Zerė in retirement? I should be most grateful if any of your readers can add anything to the rather sparse information we have concerning this most interesting motoring personality.
Words and photos by Richard Lane (Amilcar Archivist to the UK Register)

Tuesday, 14 November 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A double mystery start of the week

A double mystery
Let's start the week with a double mystery: Jon Dudley has been trying to identify these pictures elsewhere but the results were interesting but inconclusive with many good ideas but no positive identification of these interesting cars. Maybe the readers can help? The photographs were purchased in Eastbourne by an expat friend over visiting the UK from the USA just a couple of weeks ago. It seems that the two pictures were taken at the same time, with one revealing an intriguing Veteran car behind the remarkable ‘racer’. This carries an early Surrey registration which I think ’ran out’ in 1913 although the small car must be ealier than that. It would be good to positively identify both cars...

Enjoy your week!
Monday, 13 November 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

How to become a fan of...

How to become a fan of...

I think we all love many old cars and we´re all interested in lots and lots of brands, but I also think, that most of us have at least one make, that we love most, don´t we? Everybody who is interested in soccer has a team, he follows, if you are interested in music, you have the one band or singer, you love most. But what are the origins for being an aficionado of that ONE automobile, that ONE soccer-team or that ONE band? OK, I´m a fan of 1.FC Köln and my favorite band is Rose Tattoo, but this is another story and has nothing to do with old cars.
As you might have recognized in older articles I wrote, my favorite brand is „Avions Voisin“. ...since nearly 30 years now. I think the most common reason to be a fan of a special car are „my uncle (or father, aunt, grandpa, neighbour) once owned this car“, "I passed the car on my way to school every day", „it was the best car in my old auto-quartett“ or „the girl I admired as a child was driven to the tennis court in this car“?! So -curtain up- this is my story: It must have been Christmas in 1987. My aunt visited us, and like every year, as a Christmas gift, she brought a book for me. That year it was an Automobile Enzyclopedia, as she knew, I´ve been interested in cars, especially OLD cars, since my early childhood. I think the origin of that was the vintage-car wallpaper in the room, I shared with my brother´till I was five or six years old. I scrolled through the encyclopedia and saw many great cars. And many of my favorite cars, like for example the fantastic Daimler Double-Six (the car that sadly was pebble-beached some years ago) including a cutaway-drawing. I found the ISO Grifo, the Invicta S-Type I knew from a painting I had on my wall. By the way: I saw the car pictured in the book at the Interclassics/Maastricht this year and today it is located just a few miles from our flat... There were the Bugatti Royale, the SS100 Jaguar I owned as a matchbox version and the fantastic Auburn Speedster. But there were two amazing pictures of cars, I never heard of before: At first the Bucciali TAV-12 (in the book titled as the Double-Huit) and there was an absolutely stunning picture of a very low, nearly hot-rod-looking limousine, called the Voisin V12 „Scirocco“. What an unbelievable design! I fell in love with this car immediately and as I read the rather short part about the Bucciali, I learned, that one of those cars had a Voisin V12 engine as well.

But how to get information about such a car in the 80s, without the internet and living in a small village in the middle of nowhere? I only found one small article about Voisin in an early „Oldtimer-Markt“-magazine, but no information about the „Scirocco“. It must have been during the summer holiday in 1988.: My father and I wanted to spend two or three weeks in the south of France, for the first time with the camper, we succeeded one year before. We drove to Staufen in the black forest, where we wanted to stay for the first night and then continue to the south. But as it was a really hot summer and of course the camper had no air conditioning, we decided to stay in Germany. And what a luck, one day, we went to Mulhouse, to visit the unbelievable collection of the Schlumpf brothers. And there they all were in 1:1 scale: The two Bugatti Royale, the Mercedes SSK, all the racing Bugatti and suddenly I stood in front of... an underslung Voisin V12! And one and a half Bucciali next to it. This must have been fate: Just at that time, on loan from the Blackhawk Collection in the USA, the last surviving underslung Voisin V12 and additional the Bucciali TAV-8 together with the Double-Huit Chassis were on display at the Collection Schlumpf. I was totally stunned. The car looked great, even if it was „Americanized“ with chromed wire wheels, red chassis, and some bling-bling-lametta that time. OK, it was the Demi-Berline coachwork, not the four-door version, but you can look hours at the car and still find more fascinating details. I once saw the car in an American TV-Show and the reporter told, that the car looks, like MC Escher would have done the design. Well, he couldn't have said it better.

And that was, how it all started. I didn´t manage to get much information about Voisin over the next years. An article here, a picture there, I saw the gorgeous C25-Aerodyne of the Herve-Collection at one of the early Technoclassicas in Essen, but not much about the underslung C20/22. But as I started my university studies in Aachen Aix la Chapelle and learned to know about this obscure new „Internet“, I finally found one piece of the big puzzle after the other. Ebay appeared and I purchased my first Solido 1/43 Voisin and many foreign magazines with Voisin articles. In 2003 I found Thierry Auffrets fantastic Voisin Homepage. We had some email contact and I finally met him in 2013 at the Vintage Revival at Montlhery with Voisin as featured marque. And there, next to Thierry, I first met the great friends of the „Amis de Gabriel Voisin“ and on that day, I saw more cars of this brand than ever before.

So this is the story how I slowly mutated to a Voisinist over the years. But how about you? How did you find „your“ brand? Can you tell us about the origins of YOUR passion?
If you want to share your story, please send it to us.


Text and Pictures: Hubertus Hansmann

Sunday, 12 November 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

About What is it quiz #457: Gladiator 12HP

Whatisit quiz #457 solution

No, not a Clément, but indeed a Gladiator, which most of the contestants had indicated. The complete and correct answer was given by Luc Ryckaert, who also knew that the photo was originally published in The Sketch. Shown here is a similar photo in Country Life, showing the 12 HP Gladiator tonneau from a different angle but with the same acting and singing beauties Marie Studholme, Ethel Sydney and Violet Lloyd. Luc also had heard some bells ringing on the whereabouts of Miss Cissie Roberts. The postcard was sent to Miss Roberts on the following address: The Ring of Bells, St. James Street in Taunton (a pub still in existence, by the way). We will probably never know if this Cissie Roberts was the same person as Cissie Roberts the Gifted Girl Preacher and Evangelist!

Anyway, the winner of the contest this time is Luc Ryckaert with all answers correct and winner of the bonus point, giving him the full 5 points. He is closely followed by Henk Visscher with 3 points, and for the rest, Robbie Marenzi and Alan Spencer gathered 2 points and Fritz Hegemann, Politi and Gerd Klioba 1 point.

So, this gives us the following top 5:
1. Gerd Klioba 21 points
2. Fritz Hegemann 17 points
3. Luc Ryckaert 16 points
4. Alan Spencer 14 points
5. Henk Visscher 13 points

Photo and quiz: Ariejan Bos
Saturday, 11 November 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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