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We are guessing there have to be more steam fans among the British than from any other nation in the world, with steam fairs and steam rallies organized throughout the year. Still then it’s been 46 years exactly this day since the last steam powered train puffed its way over the sceptred isle following the national train table. Since that August-day in 1968 the Brits have only become more obsessed with steam power.
That makes it seem strange that there has never been a serious attempt of a steam car from Great Britain. The major steam car club is in fact British, but the majority of their cars originate from the US. We’ve really tried to find them and came up with plenty of one-offs, a few buses, some milk floats, one or two American Stanley steamers with British coachwork and quite a few post war attempts. But there has never been anything close to proper steam car production coming from the Brits, it seems. Or do we miss something here?
(Picture courtesy Beaulieu motor museum)
We’re pretty sure that many, many, of our readers will have this little pre-war model car tucked away somewhere in a cupboard, on the attic or in their holiday home. It’s the Monopoly car of course, and like ourselves you too, most probably, insisted on being the car when playing the game as a kid. As a matter of fact Monopoly’s inventor Charles Darrow was born on this day in 1889, coming up with the board game in 1934. Question is: what car inspired him for the singleseater (or two-seat?) roadster that we all know so well? This perhaps, or how about this, or this? Fact is that it looks really strange when you blow it up and park it in the streets of London!
(Picture courtesy Matt Fraser)
This light car/cyclecar was built by a company who used the same name as other car manufacturers but was possibly the most successful of them all. This maker had previously built cars under another name. They offered a 2 cylinder model in 1914 and a 4 cylinder model for 1915, the year production ceased. That’s enough clues. We want the name, the year and the type of the car and then some extras. How many gears? Details of engines? Bonus points for any trivial knowledge not readily available from 'the web' or 'the shelf'. In order to have a chance of winning the infamous PreWarCar T-shirt, please check The Rules under 'Read More'. Results will be published next Saturday 16 August.
Today we introduce you to Heidi Hetzer, a 77 year old German lady who has recently started a journey around the world in ‘Hudo’, her 1930 Hudson Great Eight. When I say 77 years old, I should say 77 years YOUNG. Her pictures transmit such youthful energy and she is always laughing. It will be fun to follow her adventure on her blog ( in German) and also in English.
She started with great fanfare at the Olympic Stadium, Hotel Kempinski and Brandenburg Gate but a noise in the engine worried her. So she returned to base to make repairs and had to hide from the press who knew she had started her world tour. Heidi has been described as ‘the fastest woman in Berlin’ having won 150 victories during her career. She competed in her first race on a Lambretta scooter when just 16 years old and went on to compete in most of the major rallies around the world. You can tell how passionate she is about cars when you see what flowers she puts on the table. After training as a mechanic in the family business, she took over her father’s Opel dealership after his death in 1969 and expanded it into one of the largest dealerships in Berlin. Her world tour is also out of respect for her hero Clärenore Stinnes who drove around the world in 1927 and you can track Heidi’s position on this tracker. She has a Facebook page also and perhaps we will eventual learn what happened with these Police in Serbia?
(Text Robin Batchelor)
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