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The fate of the South American cars

The fate of the South American cars

The pictures accompanying this article were taken one month ago, but  these american cars have not been moved for many years. Still this can´t be considered as a "barn find"the . The owner is a classic car dealer and they are parked in the cellar of a storehouse where also other cars in much better conditions can be found. So, what is  the case? Ten years ago the european classic car market was flooded with pre-war cars imported from South American countries such as Argentina and Uruguay. The business appeared easy, as these vehicles were bought cheap there -always below $3000- shipped, and  then sold here for 6.000 euros or more.

All these cars were easily recognisable: American cars from the mid 1920s to mid 1930s with right hand drive and many non original headlights, tops, colours, wheels... everything due to a past life of hard work which was probably daily till the moment of the sale to the european dealer. Not in every case the cars were in so bad conditions, but when the market seemed to accept almost everything years ago, many heavily modified cars came in reasonable quantities to europe, and then the crisis came... and many remained unsold till present days. How many Ford, Chevrolet, Willys, Durant, Rugby, and other popular american cars are hiding in Europe?? And there will be market for them  some day?  (photos & text Francisco Carrion)
Monday, 15 September 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A new generation of pre-war car rescuers

A new generation of prewar car rescuers

Report by Francisco Carríon (on right in photo):

The continuity of the pre-war car hobby among young people is under fire. Just a few days ago we wrote about the auction of the Fords from the Den Hartog museum to attract younger people. But as many of us know, true interest usually arises from participation in the hobby: being a co-driver in rallies, helping -where possible- with a restoration... You need to touch these cars! So, how about helping in bringing a barn find to the light - arguably the best part of the hobby.

In the case of the Peugeot 201 on these photographs the team of rescuers consisted of young afficionados from 6 to 25 years old. Only the eldest (this modest writer) was really interested in pre-war cars before arriving. The others -especially the youngest- were casual observers who fell in love with the little Peugeot. They never guessed that this old piece of rust located in the bottom end of a garage could roll on its own deflated tyres, even pulled by a crane! Also they didn´t expect such cute lines emerging from this rural place. Definitely a show for these youngsters, which made all of them much more interested in this pre-war car. Since this day they come back regularly asking about the progress  of the Peugeot in the workshop...! 

So, over to you, when did you see real interest of young people about really old cars? The editors of PreWarCar have decided to dedicate our 2015 calendar to the New Generation. So sorry chaps, no 'Proper Cars True Ladies' next year but Youngsters with Oldies. We're looking forwards to seeing your contributions come in! Please send to office @
Sunday, 14 September 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

About Quiz #378...: no winners: 1905 l'Elegante

About Quiz #378
Crikey, not everything is what it appears to be. We just learned that once more when the answers for the latest quiz car came in. There were just three of you giving it a go, and two of them followed our ideas about the colonial car in question. A Rover, or so we believed. Neil Rankine wrote: “It's a Rover 6hp single. These had a solid rear axle housing and transmission tunnel to gearbox & engine all in one unit that formed the chassis of the car. Rover's first car and considered quite a good attempt.” And also John Tanner thought the same: “The car looks similar to the vary early single cylinder Rover, probably around 1904.”

But then, the answer of jury member Ariejan Bos came in, making us all confused. He wrote: “Not an easy one! I am not for 100%, but for only 90% sure that it is a 1905 L'Élégante, one of these relatively cheap makes which are almost forgotten now and of which there were numerous in France and especially Paris at the time. L'Élégante has a typical Lacoste & Battmann feature: the bend in the steering connecting rod. There are some other makes which come close, like Tony Huber, but also English ones like Mobile and Canterbury (all having an L&B-connection by the way and showing the same characteristic bend in the connecting rod!). Obscurity however was no obstacle for being sold wherever in the world: we know that the most obscure French makes were sold in countries as far as New Zealand!”

Meanwhile, we have discussed the photograph once more with Ariejan and can now rule out it’s a Rover. Have a look at the detail in the bonnet and the dumb-irons and compare those to pictures of Rover's earliest and you'll agree with him. Ariejan adds to that the clear different position of the steering column, the different cooling system and - even a stronger clue - the lack of a brake- and gear change lever on the car's left hand side. And... he adds a picture from an ad of the 1905 L'Élégante, too! There's no way back, it seems. L'Élégante and/or Lacoste & Battmann experts are never the less invited to throw their light upon this matter – but Ariejan is our man for today.
Saturday, 13 September 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Beaulieu Bluebird

napier campbell_bluebird_special_470

When you spend three days at the annual Beaulieu Autojumble,the three fields are mostly filled with men and their beloved motoring stuff. So it was a refreshing surprise to come across Jackie sitting in the Napier-Campbell Bluebird Special which had only recently emerged from the workshop of Lord Lorne Jacobs.

Jackie is no stranger to big cars with big engines because her friend Mike Vardy owns this Isotta-Fraschini-Fiat whose engine is a mere 16½ litres compared with the Napier Campbell’s 22.3 litres from its (earliest known) Sea Lion W12 cylinder engine. I had recently photographed the Napier-Campbell elsewhere, but these pictures were more fun as can be seen as Jackie climbed out of her new favourite car.

(Text and photographs Robin Batchelor)

Friday, 12 September 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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