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About Quiz #386: Protos-Siemens-Schuckert

about quiz_386_protos_siemens_schuckert_470

Sorry it is no Steyer, no Puch and no Alfa Romeo. The famous international rally to which we referred was of course the New-York to Paris of 1908 (see the car). No less than seven competitors produced the Make Protos. When you click the photo you'll that the idea behind quiz 386 was an advert of the Moll company (motorcars & motor-cycles) in Holland.  

No less than seven competitors and jurymembers identified the car as a Protos C type. Martin Reichmayr,  Moritz, Bernard Correge,  Fedor, Hugo Modderman  and jury members Ingo Jost, Fritz Hegeman and Ronnie Marenzi.  Only jurymember Robbie had the guts to add a single year to this car: 1919 and he must be pretty close as the advert apeared in December 1922.  The coachwork is a T4 as mentioned by Hugo Modderman, while at the same time is it intersting to learn that Heinzgerd Schott claims that the body is presumably made by Karl Weinberger from Munich who did many Protos cars. In the end we decided to honour Mr. Moritz who came up withe the right answer, plus the fact that the V-shape radiator is an hommage to Protos designer Ernst Valentin who before Protos also worked for Gobron-Brillié, Nagant,  Rex-Simplex and the Berliner Motorwagen Fabrik. Congratulations Moritz. We love to learn!

(quiz idea Gerard Brands)
Saturday, 24 January 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Mlle. Bertani wears Chanel

Mlle. Bertani wears Chanel.

As the temperature drops to freezing outside ( again) , this writer has chosen a lady with a fur to grace your screen. She is Mlle. Bertani and her car is a 1937 Hispano-Suiza K6 4 door pillarless saloon bodywork with Conduite Intérieure from the workshops of Saoutchik Coachbuilders.

When the 3 volume magnum opus about Jacques Saoutchik dropped through PreWarCar’s mail box, we downed tools and wallowed in luxury for a while. Peter Larsen and Ben Erickson have produced a masterpiece of research about a fascinating man who fled from Belarus to Paris in 1898 and using his experience as a cabinet maker, rose to fame as ( arguably) France’s greatest coachbuilder.

Mlle. Bertani’s stylish outfit and accessories are by Chanel which leads us into the world in which Saoutchik moved. (This chic ensemble won the Grand Prix d'Honneur.) He understood the importance of moving in the right circles in order to sell extraordinary cars to extraordinary people.

Volume 1-‘The life of a jeweller in steel’ - is the fascinating story of how Iakov Savtchuk left his Jewish family home in Belarus and, after changing his name to Jacques Saoutchik, navigated his way through Russian pogroms, France during the Dreyfus affair and ultimately to the German occupation of France. We learn about a fascinating story in a fascinating era.

Author Larsen was lucky to have free access to the massive Saoutchik dossier found buy restorer David Cooper found at Rétromobile – invaluable since the factory archives were tragically destroyed by fire in the ‘50s. Another essential catalyst was his unprecedented access to the family files after meeting Saoutchik’s daughter Jacquemine Guilloux (whose mother was Saoutchik’s mistress).

The book is richly illustrated with photographs and the frequent anecdotes make the story all the more enjoyable. These were the beginnings of Concours d'Elegance for automobiles and 1907 to 1913 was a euphoric time for the wealthy. ‘While socialism was on the rise, France was the shimmering queen of a great Europe-wide festivity of opulent luxury…’

Volume 2 – ‘The language of design’- is a celebration of Saoutchik design where Larsen has assembled a collection of rare brochures and reproduced them in a high quality which makes it an enjoyable experience to settle down with the book and immerse yourself in the subject which is impossible to do via a computer screen.

Volume 3 – ‘Heavenly Bodies. The Music of The Spheres in Steel’ – will satisfy those with an appetite for the products, designs, serial numbers of the known Saoutchik cars along with what is known of their fate. 448 pages profusely illustrated with high quality images.

We shall re-visit this fabulous work in days to come – there is so much to enjoy - and because it is a limited edition we encourage you to act quickly before it is sold out. Inevitably, more material has come to light since publication date, including the Baillon collection, and a fourth addendum volume will be published in time for Rétromobile where the authors and publishers have arranged book signings.

Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy Dalton Watson Fine Books.


Friday, 23 January 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

La Salle Moxie Horsemobile

La Salle Horsemobile

Last week this remarkable La Salle was offered by a the Dutch auction house BVA. On top of the open car you see a full-size plaster horse with steering wheel (!) with which the car could really be conducted. This 1929 La Salle is a ‘recreation’ of one of the original so-called Horsemobiles that were built for the Moxie company. Moxie started in the 1880s producing soda water and from about 1905 they started using cars to advertise their drinks, which became quite popular in the prewar period all over the United States. Today the popularity of Moxie has declined but it is still for sale (check the most refreshing freshdrink website in the world)

It is unclear why Moxie decided to use a horse on a car to promote its products. It seems that the company liked to create an image of courage and adventure around its brand name and maybe the PR people of Moxie thought that riding a horse would show more courage than riding a car. At least these cars must have drawn much more attention than many other publicity vehicles. The first Horsemobile appeared in 1916 and the last ones were used in the 1950s. One original La Salle Horsemobile and an earlier Buick seem to have survived. At least one Springfield Rolls-Royce was converted to a Horsemobile in the 1930s. Check this Moxie line up...

Thursday, 22 January 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Childhood memories or how I caught the PWC bug...

simon kernahan_470

Attached 2 photos, the first which shows me (the young chap in the middle) at 5 or 6 years with my younger sister and my mother. This must have been about 1965 or 66 and the car is an Austin 12 tourer (I believe).

My dad, a mechanical engineer, frequently worked on prewar car projects, getting the cars roadworthy and ready for spring and summer rides in Hampshire and Sussex where we lived at that time. Come Autumn he'd be itching for a new project and I can remember reading out the adverts in the "Exchange & Mart" on the way to school and being instructed to mark the most interesting adverts so my dad could beat any other punters to it and pick up a bargain. In January 1973 our family emigrated to Switzerland with (among other household articles) 3 old cars: a prewar Morris Minor, an early Austin Chummy and - in driveable condition - a 1936 Singer Le Mans 2 seater sports.

Since Britain had only just joined the EU, we were held up at the  border in Calais by the French customs. It took my dad, his brother and his brother-in-law 2 days to sort out the paper work and to convince the custom officers we weren't trying to dispose of "old english bangers" in France. Mind you, it didn't bother us kids as we could play on the beach and watch the hovercrafts come in from Folkstone at regular intervals with my mother making tea in the caravan. The wintery crossing through France (no motorways...) with the family dog and multiple blankets to keep me warm left a lasting impression -> I had caught the old car bug. I've been an enthusiast  ever since - in particular for the 1930's english makes & models. Two years ago, I finally bought my own PWC (see 2nd picture) - a 1936 Riley Merlin Airline coupe - which I tinker with and tour around Switzerland (avoiding France for obvious reasons...)  

Simon Kernahan

(edition 5000 competition / comp5000 ) 

Wednesday, 21 January 2015 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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1959 Maserati OSCA Tipo
Attending church today? : 1959 Maserati OSCA Tipo J...  Go >>