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We recently shared with you news of a 1932 Alfa Romeo 8c which had been given as a 21st birthday present to a lucky young man who kept it for 70 years. Today's picture shows ex-Scuderia Ferrari 1931 Alfa Romeo #2111044 with Zagato Spider bodywork on a Monza chassis and 8c 2.3 supercharged engine.
The reason we referred to the other Alfa will become clear, but first we must introduce you to Pamela who agreed to be the model for photographer Roger McDonald who won a competition with the pictures he took that day of car and lady. Her natural beauty complements the car on that spring day somewhere in England - perhaps the home of the then-owner Michael Crowley-Milling who owned the car from his 21st birthday in 1938 until he sold it 70 years later just before he died.
If your computer has a touchscreen then it is thanks to scientific genius Crowley-Milling who helped invent it.
Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy Roger McDonald.
( 'Throwback Thursday' is a series of looking back articles in view of 15 years PreWarCar-PostWarClassic. PreWarCar.com went online, the 1st July 2001)
Browsing the known webalbums you already can find nearly ten thousand pictures of last weekend's fabulous Vintage Revival meeting at Montlhéry. Flocks of Bugatti's, Amilcars, Salmsons, Talbots, Morgans, Bentley's and whatever that was sporty and fast in the twenties... Lombard, Bignan, BNC, Darmont, Sima Violet. More important than the numbers were the brilliant atmosphere and crazycontrating cars. We will present you a few snaps. The mighty 24 litre W-12 Napier Railton made his roaring come back to Montlhery where it once crashed. Never in a crash was this whispering pedal power Velocar. Slightly less friendly, this tyres and weazel eating Frazer Nash. More pleasing to the eye is the girl powered Bugatti. A very nicely reconstructed 1914 NSU racer had experienced a high speed patina treatment.
by Tony Hillyard:
A few years ago I decided that I should buy something a little different by way of a prewar car. Over the years I have owned literally hundreds of old cars. The majority pre 1940.
In April 2009 in the Automobile Magazine (get a 2009 back issue) a saw an advertisement for a 1939 MG TA in the process of being rebuilt with a new "Q" type all aluminium body by Compound Curvatures. I took delivery in October 2009.
DBM 200 had been fitted with an XPAG MG TC engine and a five speed gearbox conversion. After the usual teething troubles of a car that had been hastily finished (charging circuit not working, some kind soul had put a drill right through the voltage regulator). The body was beautifully made but thrown together. In fact I took most of it apart and put it back together properly.
Once she was running I started to enjoy the open MG life. Rural France with it's empty minor roads is the only place to live if you have an old car. Since my first car at the age of 11 years, I have been an avid reader of all things motoring. Particularly on the technical side. I have been fascinated by the prewar world of tuning with superchargers - Mercedes and Auto Union, Amherst-Villiers and Sydney Allard. Allard's were based in South London, not so far from where I lived as a boy.
I have always wanted to try a 'blower' on one of my cars, when funds would allow. So when my MG TA was running nicely I decided to look for a supercharger conversion. I seemed to have the option of buying a genuine period supercharger as fitted on MGs when new, with all the possible rebuild costs and parts problems or to buy modern one with the potential bearing/vane oiling problems resolved. Not totally purist but much more practical if you are working to a budget.
Steve Baker in the UK, a man with an exceptional record of knowledge and honesty in all things MG, advertised a supercharger kit suitable for my TA. This kit was based on an Eaton M45 supercharger, new in design and using modern materials. Something one could fit with confidence knowing it was not going to be a black hole in expenses. I contacted Steve by email to be told I needed to answer a number of questions about my car before he would supply me with a kit. Amongst other things he wanted the dimensions of the cylinder head (to ensure it had not been skimmed too much and raise the compression beyond his requirements). That the cylinder compressions were even and that the engine was in generally good condition. Then I was allowed to buy my supercharger!
When the kit arrived I was not disappointed, it was beautiful, like a piece of art, Christmas was early that year! First it was a case of reading the supplied clear instructions. As I have always done my own work on my cars, including working on some weird sleeve valve motors, so the Eaton kit seemed extremely simple.
The way how to fit the supercharger can be seen in my video
As you will have seen in the video, taking it steadily, having the instructions always to hand, and thinking it through, it really is not difficult. And driving her when she is finished makes it all worth while. You can't help but smile all the time.
One thing I do agree with Steve Baker about, once you have driven a car with a supercharger, you won't want to drive anything else.
(photos & text Tony Hillyard)
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