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Dear Prewar Editor:
Spring weather in Melbourne will bring crowds flocking to Motorclassica this weekend, and on saturday 24th Theodore Bruce are holding their auction of classic cars.
The 1911 Fiat Landaulet looks replendent in red after a series of owners have progressively restored it to its current high level of authenticity and condition. The wealthy Melbournian lady who first owned this car would be pleased, and so would her chauffeur.
The other Landaulet is a 1914 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost and "considered to be possibly the most original Veteran Silver Ghost in Australia". The description reminds us how a motor car should be looked after and makes us feel that a car of this quality will last for ever.
The 1934 Packard V12 Formal Sedan will present the next owner with a rare opportunity to restore a car with the 1934 title 'Boss of the Road' having more cubic inches, more torque and more horsepower than the sixteen cylinder Cadillac.
Certain cars always make you stop and look twice and try and decide just why it looks so perfect, and the 1937 Derby Bentley is one such car. Fitted with Razor Edge Pillarless Saloon coachwork by Park Ward which was one of the first to use a steel body frame, rather than wood, which has helped it remain straight and true after 80 years and 60,000 miles.
The 'barn find' Packard deserves to be restored to its former glory, but this 1912 Metz is complete and in quite good condition after laying dormant for many years and may well find a buyer who prefers not to spoil its originality.
Wake up to a sunny Melbourne day and what better car to go for a sporty drive than the 1937 MG TA - one of just 100 imported to Australia and restored to a very high standard by its present owner. A very pretty car in original condition which won't break the bank.
(Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy Theodore Bruce Auctions)
As is the case with so many drivers who died behind the wheel, J G Parry-Thomas will forever be associated with 'Babs', the 27-litre V-12 monster in which he lost his life at Pendine Sands in 1927. Before his short career in that car, Parry-Thomas had been busily competing in a mighty Leyland Eight-engined car known as the Leyland-Thomas No 1. As chief engineer at Leyland Motors, Parry-Thomas was the man behind the money-no-object straight-eight luxury car launched in the aftermath of World War One. The so-called 'Lion of Olympia' was a technological 'tour de force', but its huge purchase price put off buyers and very few were sold. In an attempt to boost the car's reputation, Parry-Thomas took a stripped-down Eight to the track. He fell for the racing life, and began modifying the car to become more competitive, eventually arriving at the re-bodied, re-engineered version you see here. Thomas soon abandoned his post at Leyland and dedicated himself to racing full-time, but the lure of more power was always present – and that's where 'Babs' comes in.
The Leyland-Thomas special's competition career continued after Thomas's death, and was breaking records well into the 1930s. It, and its sister car, were destroyed in a wartime air raid and that's where the story ended... Until 2014, when David Haywood unveiled his reborn Leyland-Thomas special. Built around a collection of original components, this inspired recreation has been making a splash wherever it appears, and recently made the trip to Brooklands for some demonstration runs on the banking. The Automobile magazine was there to record the event, and have published the full story of both the original car and this sympathetic evocation in the November issue, which is out now.
Some people have a real hobby with cars. They are not driven by speed, glamour or money. They just love to do their thing. Whatever you think of his Rytecraft Scootatruck lookalike. This is the product of a true and honest aficionado. A rare species nowadays.
Angel Otero writes: "I would like to share my custom build Inspired by the Rytecraft Scootatruck of 1935. It is an all hand made mini pick-up truck assembled in my small work shop and I call it Skutatruck. I built Skutatruck using car, motorcycle, scooter and many other parts that work to create this one of a kind model. At 78 inches long and 48 inches tall, it can accommodate an average adult or two small children. For the last 5 years I have been building the parts in my spare time and all came together in the last 10 months. Working only from a picture and no actual blue print, allows me to take liberty with my design and fabrication. Power plant is a clone 13hp electric start engine. Some modern touches include lights, gauges, horn and even a stereo system. For more information on this and other miniature builds please visit my simple blog at micronut."
(pictures Angel Otero)
Twenty eight old cars gathered together recently to enjoy the lanes of Rutland, Britain's smallest county, for that is where The Automobile magazine held their annual Oily Rag Run. Drivers and navigators assembled on the banks of Rutland Water ( with its semi-submerged church) and mingled amongst each others' cars sharing stories of their beloved motors. The start time was punctutated by the sound of two cars- Frazer Sloan disappearing in his family-filled Trojan leaving a signature 2-stroke haze and Matthew Parkin arriving with a throaty roar in his Vauxhall 30-98 Special full of laughing passengers.
Ron and Joan Birkett set out in their Humber 9/29 saloon hardly needing to read the excellent route map beacause they had prepared it and this was their neck of the woods. The remaining cars followed - Austin 18, Austin 16, Riley 9, Singer Nine, Morris Eight, Austin 7 - a wonderful variety of vehicles all joined by the common thread of enjoying regular use and chosen for their original condition.
The route took us through empty roads lined with interesting architecture and rolling rural countryside to the lunch stop at the Stonehurst Family Farm and Motor Museum where we had plenty of time to enjoy a delicious lunch, wander around the museum and offer assistance to those fettling their motors.
John Brydon was seen trying to stem the flow of water from beneath his Austin 16 and our host looked at the water pump, came back 30 seconds later with the correct size C spanner and tightened the nut which stopped the leak. We immediately liked this man and enjoyed a tour of his collection which includes an Austin 7 Ulster, a cut-away Austin 7 engine, two vauxhall 30-98s, and a rare Bullnose Morris saloon, but he stopped at his 1911 Wolseley and lingered with a special fondness. "I always regretted missing this car at the Sharpe Collection auction in 2005," he said. " But it's with me now and we were out in it the other day when there was a BANG from the back of the car. A tyre had burst, so for the first time I fitted the stepney wheel and we gently wobbled home safe and sound."
Following cars in the afternoon produced occasional pleasures with the glorious sound of Quentin Chases' Twin Cam Sunbeam saloon, and the bizarre wrap-around rear window of the latest addition to The Automobile's Oily Rag collection - a 1950 Studebaker Commander Starlight.
As we pulled in to the tea stop, we found a beautiful Bentley bearing a plaque naming Earl Howe as a previous owner. The local owner had come to say Hello and meet old friends. Tea, scones, jam and cream rounded the day of nicely and for two lucky winners, a bottle of vintage champagne. Matthew Parkin received one for 'the most Feral car' and the other went to Roger and Jackie Caunt for 'the car we would most like to take home' - their most rare Panhard - engined DB HBR5 complete with sporting memorabilia on the back shelf and appropriate registration.
Read the full story in the latest issue of The Automobile and enjoy some pictures of the event HERE.
(Text/pictures Robin Batchelor)
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