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Taking a cab in the 30s....

Egyption taxi_carproblems-800
Frequent visitor Mahmoud from Cairo, Egypt always comes up with nice shots from another time and world. Nowadays when we drive our vintage cars, we take it for granted that a few stops are necessary to motivate the machinery to continue with the assigned job. It is part of the hobby and when you are really in a hurry, you always have the option to use a modern car or a cab.
Back in those days, a modern car wasn't as reliable as it is now. Take for instance this picture of an Egyptian cab in the 30s. The passenger is helping the driver to resolve some underbonnet issues. Hopefully he was still in time for his meeting or for the steamer to Europe. The radiator is showing some resemblance with the Rolls-Royce but is all behind that it as well?  
We would like to know what car it is.  And if you ever had a good taxicab adventure in the good old days we love to hear about it of course. 
Tuesday, 08 November 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Out for a light breakfast with the MG Magnette

MG Magnette_1934
Last month, H&H auctioned several MG cars. Robin Batchelor wrote a lovely article about it and mentioned the six-cylinder MG Magnette.  MG Magnette_driving-800Last week I had the chance to drive this car with its new owner. The catalogue editor of H&H was correct; the car is restored to a very high standard. It is actually nearly new (or maybe better).  So I thought this is the perfect ride to get some breakfast, so off we went to the local pub. Although still local, we thought  it better to add a few extra miles (so far only 172 miles since the restoration) so we went to a pub a bit further down the road.
Before I saw the car in 'the flesh', my expectations were that it would be more or less like my Riley Lynx. Both built in 1934, same body style, both a small 6 cylinder. But after seeing and driving it, I find it hard to compare the two.
MG Magnette_door-800The MG is a much smaller fit. Yet it has those lovely suicide doors, so getting in is not the problem. It's only that gearshifter between driver and passenger (and some more levers) that results in very limited space (my Riley has a preselector handle on the steering column). which is a bit of a shame. The car has enough power for fast driving butMG Magnette_engine-800 the lack of space adds to feelings of discomfort and takes out most of the fun of lively touring as pictured above. 

For that I probably need to loose some weight by choosing fruit for breakfast during the next 20,000 miles. 

Words and pictures: Laurens Klein , period photo provided by owner
Monday, 07 November 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

What happened with Vincents' London-Brighton Benz ?

benz velo_1899_0142dp_vincents_reading_470
A while ago we published about Vincents of Reading.  Louise Vincent sent us some lovely pictures. One of them being a Benz. We got great response about the history of the company and also about the Benz. But the big question remained; where is it now? 

Bernard Williamson former president of the VCC was kind enough to get us in touch with the very knowledgeable John Warburton and David Hales.  Mr. Hales sent us an extensive letter about the Benz, which photo was taken during the 1927(!) London Brighton Run.

"Vincents of reading were not only coachbuilders and repairers, but also retained a number of early cars in the 1920s onwards. William Vincent entered three cars in the 1927 Brighton Run.  No. 14, the 1899 Benz, said to be "in general use, and also used for cutting timber in the country".  No. 16,  a 1900 Darracq;  and No. 31,  a 1903 Renault.

In the 1928 run, 'The Autocar' doesn't seem to have printed an entry list, altough it did carry a report on the run. Photos were few and far between and somewhat muddy by today's standards, and for 1930, there were no entries by Vincents'. I am not sure whether any were entered beyond that date but I do have programmes from 1934 onwards.

 I do also have an extract from what I think is a Brooks auction catalogue of 27th July 2000, pp. 148/9 (Beaulieu),  in which a Benz Comfortable (the model sold in the UK as the Ideal No.2) was entered and which had formerly belonged to Vincents, along with correspondence indicating that the registration number was thought to have been 'DP 557' (probably a registration of  c.1910). The Car No. of this Benz was 2877, and the chassis No. 2372 K (on the steering column).  A plate on the car suggested that it was originally sold by the Speedwell Motor Car Co. of Reading, and the photos generally look rather similar to that taken in 1927 bar lamps and perhaps an extension to the front apron. Some time after being listed by Vincents', it had passed on to one W. Russel. I would therefore feel that it is safe to assume this is the same car as pictured in 1927 on

It is certainly fascinating looking at the early L-BR reports, as some cars were given the wrong make (Benz really the Arnold, and Armstrong - Whitworth for what is the Wilson-Pitcher, to name but two), many with doubtful dates, and some seem to have completely disappeared. Registration numbers were not included in the RAC programmes until about 1970."
Sunday, 06 November 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

About Quiz #432: 1900 Darracq 6.5 HP

1901 darracq_6.5hp_470

It was only after that we sent out a Newsletter with a second view on last Saturday's quiz car when a load of good and very complete answers came in. It was obvious that by this second shot the car was a lot easier to recognise. From various sources including the restoration section of specialist Thornley Kelham.  Some avid readers even provided 90 year old film footage shot during the London-Brighton run of 1928(!) with the Darracq appearing at 0:50.  It appears a massive amount of information is available about this famous Darracq... one you know it is a Darracq! In this very specific quiz we thought it is no more than justified than to appoint this weeks win to the one man who had marque, type ( "C")  and coachbuilder Vedrine correct. This only based on the the the rear end quiz shot in the movers truck. Congratulations to Thierry Bergue!

Finally here showing the 1900 Darracq proudly showing upon arrival at Madeira drive after another succesful LBVCR, the 2015 edition.  But if the weather will be as splendid as shown here...
Saturday, 05 November 2016 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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