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Back shed bike to rich and famous Packards

Back shed bike to rich and famous Packards.

If you are in Melbourne on October 25th then head over to Theodore Bruce for their Motorclassica Collector Car Auction. Sixty lots of automobilia will go under the hammer at 6pm and 34 vehicles start at 7pm.

Lot 7 is a 1914 Victor, the last and only surviving motorcycle from a series of five built over many years by Mr. Edward Victor Bowen in a shed at the back of his bike shop. As each one was completed, the previous one was sold so we can surmise that this must have been Bowen’s ideal machine with 1000cc JAP V Twin engine, TT 3-speed Armstrong gears within the rear hub and locally made sidecar attached to the frame using parts from the Chater Lea catalogue. The auction catalogue shows how it is entirely possible to carry out a thorough refurbishment and still retain the original finish and patina. Full marks!

The 1923 Alvis 12/40 "Ducksback" Tourer is a firm favourite amongst so many sporting vintage drivers being made by a company with a good reputation for reliable, quality hand built cars with impressive performance and stylish bodywork from the best coachbuilders of the time, Cross & Ellis and Carbodies. The pictures show a meticulous restoration and the new owner can look forward to a lifetime’s happy motoring in this vintage gem.

Three RHD Packards from Detroit are offered with their legendary straight eight engines, luxurious coachwork and the car of choice for the rich and famous the world over. I like the story behind the 1925 Packard Holbrook Coupe bought by music magnate Mr. Frank Albert and delivered to Sydney aboard the RMS Niagara which was subsequently sunk in 1940 by a German U-Boat whilst carrying US $8 million worth of gold. However, the 1937 Packard 120 Straight 8 Rumble-Seat Convertible Coupé is my favourite and the same can be said of the acting Governor of Hawaii when he saw the car on the ship taking it to Melbourne on a stopover in Honolulu, although I don’t believe the reason he wanted a RHD car.

The description of the 1936 Cord 810 Sportsman's Convertible Coupé makes the car very tempting….” On account of its rarity and aesthetic appeal, the Cord Sportsman is one of the most highly collectable of American motor cars. Its unconventional bonnet and radiator conceal a V-8 engine coupled to front wheel drive and a pre-selection gear-change with electrically operated box. Remarkably quick acceleration, the Sportsman's Convertible Coupé cruised at 75 mph and had a top speed of over 92 mph..” and is in “ absolutely tip-top condition throughout.” But you’ll need deep pockets.

There are two 1929 Marmons with much lower estimates but the car I would most like to take home from the pre-war cars is the 1937 BMW 327 Convertible. Look at the sheer beauty of the streamlined body (designed in conjunction with the Karosseriebauer Autenrieth of Darmstadt) and beneath the bonnet sits the straight six OHV M78 engine of 2 litres - BMW’s first straight-6 and designed by Fritz Fiedler. Transmission is via a ZF 4-speed gearbox with freewheel facility in first and second gears. “The much sought after 327 convertible is one of the most exclusive of all BMW classic cars.”

(Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy Theodore Bruce Auctions)

Sunday, 19 October 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

What is it? Quiz #381

What is it? Quiz #381

It's a pickup, obviously, but what pickup? We've obscured a few identifying features, but we can tell you that it was sold by a company that normally did not build pickups. It was built for a few years only, and was produced in conjunction with another company that had roots in a General Motors brand.

You just have to tell us the make, year and model. Many of you may find it easy, so to win you might tell us some of its history. As a tie breaker, you could offer the name of the model that succeeded it. Just read the Rules under Read More and start looking, looking, looking. This may finally be your chance to win the coveted PreWarCar T-shirt. Results will be published next Saturday, October 25.

Saturday, 18 October 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Kate and the Busy Bee

Kate and the Busy Bee.

When certain magazines drop through the letterbox, I down tools, make a cup of tea and read it from cover to cover – the quarterly mag from the VSCC Light Car & Edwardian Section is one such publication. I turned to page 17 to read about the Cyclecar Capers at the the 80th anniversary celebrations and there’s Kate in her 'Busy Bee’. The car is a wonderful home brew cyclecar built from scratch in 1919 by Mr. J.A.Mills and you can read more about it here. I believe this is its first time out since Kate and David did the necessary fettling after acquiring it last year. (David entered one of their other cyclecars, the Graham-White)

Kate looks a picture of concentration as she not only keeps control of her eccentric contraption but also tries to remember the instructions for the test she was driving. The rain didn’t help either, but it didn’t dampen her spirit as she splashed her way through the puddles to the finish line. The article describes the Busy Bee’s popularity… ”several friends enjoyed driving the Busy Bee , but a combination of slow driving and stationary idling ended when the V-twin decided to seize. Fortunately, in less time than it takes to drink two pints of beer, it had cooled down and recovered, apparently none the worse for the experience.”

(Words Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy David Grounds)

Friday, 17 October 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A day of rest in Zaozhuang

A day of rest in Zaozhuang

Sorry chaps, no cars today. Even a rallying reporter has to obey to the rules. And today - yesterday to be exact - was a day of rest & relaxation in the China Classic Cars Challenge. This to gain new energy in view of tomorrow's 200 mile trip. So this day we used up to explore Zaozhuang - also known as Shandong - the place of birth of philosopher Confucius and to indulge in the fabulous hospitality of course director Mr. Zong, here assisted by his most charming PA with a perfect Boston accent showing us how to prepare a local spicy pancake (as served in the top location depicted above). The outrageous variety of food and dishes is just one of the treats of this exotic rally along the highlights of China. Tomorrow back in the MG's bucket seats for a long day of winding and fast back roads leading to Nanjing.
Maybe we should end the day with the wise Confucius' words:

"Man who run in front of car get tired.
 Man who run behind car get exhausted.
 Man who drive like hell, bound to get there."

(source of these confucian sayings)

(Text and pictures Joris Bergsma)
Thursday, 16 October 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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