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Dear Prewar Editor:
Our student days can sometimes be the best days of our lives and when we see nine young ladies crammed into a Model A Ford with ‘mortar boards’ on their heads it tells us they have just graduated and are off to celebrate in the traditional way by throwing them into the air.
The building behind is typical Amsterdam School architecture and possibly in the Rivierenbuurt area - can you identify it? The students probably studied at The University of Amsterdam and the car's sidelights suggest a date not before 1930 but if it had been 1928 then we could have expected the ladies to have a little more jollity because the Summer Olympics were celebrated in their city.
The traditional student car used to be the Austin 7 - cheap and readily available - so it is understandable that it was occasionally used in pranks. One famously ended up on the roof of Cambridge University. The Model A Ford is heavier than the Austin 7 and these ladies don't look as though they are about to do such a thing - plus the car is probably borrowed because it's too clean and tidy for student transport. The older generation in the background don't look interested, and perhaps we will never know just what mischief these ladies got up to? So, readers, see if you can identify someone in the picture and ask her for the whole story?
(Text by Robin Batchelor)
Well, well, that's not the car you would expect in strong reformed Holland of the early 20th century. It's one of the sporty one cylinder Sizaire Naudin of course (listen to that) and contrary to our expectations the Dutch had an official SZ importer in those years. Ed van de Beek spent his Easter holiday sorting out the photo files of his wife's family and stumbled upon this little gem. Details are unknown, apart from a few facts. First there is the driver who can be identified as a brother of Ed's grandfather-in-law. Then there's the registration; the number was issued in the province of Utrecht, "which coincides with the family history", says Ed. Furthermore there is a mysterious name written on the back, saying 'Lobster 1910'. We do not know of any Lobster cars other than this one, but can see why this car was named thus. Just have a look at the side of the car here. We wonder if our 'Lobster' is a one-off coachwork or if this variety is more or less wellknown in the small but worldwide Sizaire Naudin community.
If you had been at Silverstone last Saturday, you would have had to work your way through a crowd to get a close view of the car causing such a stir. Photographer Stuart Matthews had to wait 30 minutes before being able to take this picture. The focus of attention was a 1909 Lorraine Dietrich – the result of a heroic ten year rebuild by car restorer extraordinaire Richard Scaldwell.
Scaldwell told us that ‘his favourite car on the whole planet’ is the 1912 Grand Prix Lorraine Dietrich ‘Vieux Charles Trois’ and its history makes fascinating reading, but his car comes from the time immediately after de Dietrich had entered cars in the 1907/8 French Grand Prix and Arthur Duray won the 1906 Circuit de Ardennes. Duray was not only a racing driver but also built experimental racing cars (remember he featured recently in the story of the 1911 FIAT S76?). Scaldwell is from the same mould and his other tour de force is the 5 Litre 1919 V8 J.A.P GN.
Photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue was just 11 years old when he drew this picture of his hero Duray in 1907, with another picture here, and in 1905 captured this image of Duray and his mechanic Franville at the Circuit d’Auvergne.
Having discovered the bare bones of his ’09 De Dietrich, Scaldwell spent ten years searching for and making additional parts, and his methodical research was an essential element in achieving the magnificent result we see today. Geared to do 110 mph at 1500 rpm, the 16½ Litre OHV Colossus is entered for its debut competition at Chateau Impney Hill Climb where it will be up against The Beast of Turin with its 28 Litre OHC engine – also hardly run-in.
(Text Robin Batchelor, pictures courtesy Richard Scaldwell, Dave Biggins, Stefan Marjoram and Stuart Matthews)
Bruce Woolley from South Africa: "I was wondering if any of your readers may be able to help with this mystery radiator. I'm hoping to find out from what car it is. I've made a close-up from the plate and took a picture from the top side. The mounting holes are 585 mm 23" and 640 mm 23" high."
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