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My Austin Seven 1932
1941 Buick sedan 46SSE


The Magazine

Can a petrol pump be a work of art?


"All petrol stations look alike," seems a statement that we use today. But also in the early days of the petrol pump, say the 1920s, many looked the same. Yet there was one pump that stood out from the crowd. Just look at the neat design of the French lily that crowns the pump on this photo. It was designed by Gispen, an industrial designer fascinated by modern technology, but also interested in Gothic architecture. Today Gispen is mostly remembered for his unique furniture, but in his design for a petrol pump he managed to bring both styles together. A pump over two meters high, with an octagonal cast iron column and an ornament on top: a French lily with an ovoid, opal glass. A true work of art, compared with its mundane brethren. Presumably the elegance of the design was also its weak point, because not many were made. We think they were too expensive for a large production. As far as we know not one has survived, as many were demolished during world War II. (Read More)

Sunday, 15 March 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

What is it? Quiz #390

What is it? Quiz #390

This week’s mystery motor of pre war days is so extraordinary that we believe many of you will be able to answer the question above. Fact is that once you’ve seen it, you won’t forget about it! Still, we can give you a few hints (in case you do not know it). The base vehicle is impressive on its own with straight-six of 2260cc capacity. It was only produced for two years in a country that is not particularly known for motor manufacture – although the company exists to this very day.

The car in question proudly wears its streamlined body, made by an unknown coachbuilder. The man who commissioned them to do so is however known as an artist. Do note the unusual greenhouse with no less then 15 windows, the huge sun roof and the faired in door handles. What a car!

But before rushing out to type your enthusiastic comment in the box below (please do not e-mail), be sure to read The Rules under Read More. This may be your chance to win the infamous PreWarCar T-shirt and wear with with pride at this season’s events! Results and photo source will be published next Saturday, March 21.

Saturday, 14 March 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

This Chummy is lucky to find Millie

This Chummy is lucky to find Millie.

Today is Friday 13th, considered by many to be unlucky in Western superstition, and because we are firm believers in making your own luck, we share with you a story to remind us how lucky we are to enjoy our cars the way we do.

The picture shows a lovely occasion when a 1926 Austin 7 Chummy found a new owner. Her name is Millie and the L plates tell us she is still gaining experience before taking her driving test. She will have no trouble because Millie drove the Chummy home from the previous owner’s house – a distance of 100 miles - having never before driven a car of this sort. Especially an Austin 7 with in-or-out clutch and crash gearbox!
The deal was more than fair. If the car got her home with no need of a breakdown service, the owner would charge the full price. If it let them down, there would be a substantial discount. You begin to see how good fun always accompanies their vintage car activities and to ensure there was fun and fair play, the owner sat in the back with Millie driving and her father beside her. ( Is she adjusting the rear view mirror, or taking a 'selfie' ?)

Off they go in the early morning and, to avoid motorways, they chose a route straight through central London. The owner is a keen horologist so he insisted they drive to The Great Clock in Westminster where he would climb out and catch a train home but London traffic dictated a slow average speed which meant a lack of cooling air through the radiator and as the temperature rose, water found a way out of a hole. Millie found a place to park where they offered bacon sandwiches and coffee and the owner , being a clever ingenious fellow, went off in search of araldite. A straightforward repair and a valuable lesson for young Millie in using whatever can be found nearby to get you going again. The hot engine ensured the araldite cured whilst our intrepid trio enjoyed breakfast. The little Austin 7 gave them a trouble-free run the rest of the way home and I feel it will bring her luck if she uses it on her driving test. One day, I shall enjoy introducing her to ‘The Chummy Ladies’.

(Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy Mollie's Dad and previous owner.)

Friday, 13 March 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Rosengart - the multinational car

RRosengart LR2: the first model of a new mark

Mocci Demartis sent us some pictures of his Rosengart and added a brief history. Rosengart started as multinational marque from three nations of equal merit: Germany, England and France, with Germany as Lucien Rosengart's native country (UPDATE: it's not - see comment below). But the engineer had worked for Citroen and Peugeot, too, and had tried to persuade the managements of these companies to construct small and economical cars. But it was to no avail. Nobody listened to him in France, until another manager (of Austin) came across.

Austin of England was not in the healthiest of states at the time and did pay attention to the suggestion of Rosengart to create a small car. Although with a trace of skepticism they built the first small car: the Austin Seven. After that first example production increased, until the difficulty to cope with demand... Therefore Rosengart asked and obtained the licence to construct the same car in France, now named Rosengart LR2 after his initials (Lucien Rosengart). He constructed a factory on the Boulevard de Dixmude in Paris, producing several models until 1950. After the War the factory had been absorbed by Citroen.

Demartis'LR2, shown here, is a lovely coupé with two close seats and a third seat exposed at the rear, acting as a 'mother-in-law's seat or a humble boot.

Thursday, 12 March 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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The Market



Post War Choice

1964 Chevrolet El Camino Resto-Mod Coupe Utility
Pick up your stuff for a superb weekend: 1964 Chevrolet El Camino Resto-Mod Coupe Utility...  Go >>