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When the lady smiles

young ladies in cars
Ladies SMILE!
Look at these six wonderful young ladies. Posing in a 1926 or 1927 Singer Junior.
In 1926, the Junior was first introduced at the London Car Show. Comfortable, small,....
Friday, 19 May 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Weird Thursday: Pirates of the Black Sea

Weird Wednesday: Pirates of the Black Sea
Apart from the occasional Lada I didn’t spot any old car while on holiday in Bulgaria. But when I visited the old town of Nessebar, a Unesco World Heritage Site on the Black Sea, I saw this old motorbike, parked while the owners, obviously pirates of the Black Sea, were having a glass of rum or two. But what is it? Is it pre-war? I have no idea. And the pirates refused to answer my questions. Luckily a charming 1932 Austin ten-four was parked in front of the motorbike. At least that one I recognized.

(text and photos Rutger Booy)
Thursday, 18 May 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Prewar Workshop: Finetuning your magneto

Prewar Workshop

Last week's article was about roughly setting a magneto for timing. Now I want to let you know how to set a magneto to the correct factory setting, where known.

In most cases, if you have an operating manual with your vehicle (or Google can give you one), this book tells you what the correct timing should be. If you do not have this book, which is quite common on prewars, look for any markings on any of the parts on the car that are visible and able to show timing. Most commonly it will be the flywheel. Other common parts are front pulley or crankshaft distributor gear.

If you want to find your marking, turn cylinder 1 to TDC to the point where both valves are closed (end of compression stroke). At this point, find your marking on the known possible point. It might be necessary to sand some rust or paint away to make it visible. Your marking should be on the ‘early’ side of the part, so if you turn the engine in the rotation direction, you will first see your marking before you reach TDC.

Manuals will often state the marking location as “1 inch before TDC” or a similar description, meaning 1” on the circumference of the flywheel for example.

When you find the marking, mark it clearly with for example a white paint stripe or something similar, and mark the fixed point on the engine to which it corresponds in the same way (mostly the flywheel house casting or a similar part).

This operation requires a timing lamp. The timing lamp has a terminal that attaches to the cyl.1 HT lead. This lamp has a high intensity strobe light that fires when the HT lead it attaches to fires. If you point it at the marking you made earlier and start the engine, you can see exactly if your ignition is advance or retarded in comparison to the original engine marking.

To time correctly, retard the ignition fully with the handle, if your magneto is equipped with manual advance. Then start the car and look for the marking with your timing lamp. It’s correct if the fixed marking is exactly lined up with the rotating marking. Otherwise, you need to set it later or earlier.

If you timing lamp is equipped with pre-ignition setting, you can set a number of degrees on your lamp to line up the markings, and the display tells you how far you’re off on the magneto. If It’s not equipped with pre-ignition, you can just adjust the magneto and try again until you get it just right.

Sometimes, setting the magneto timing can be done easily in any direction. For example with a Simms wheel or when the coupling is just clamped on an axis somewhere. In other cases, you have to change the timing gear in the distribution.

It takes a little fiddling but it’s a fun practice. Getting it perfect ensures easier starting, better combustion, more power and better mileage. If you have any questions about this practice, please let me know via the comments or via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Article by Jos van Genugten

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Ernst Neumann Neander; an early genius in arts and motoring

Ernst Neumann Neander
Ernst Neumann-Neander, born in 1871 in Kassel/Germany was an early universal genius in arts and motoring. He got famous as well for his graphics and paintings, as also for designing cars, bikes and even yachts, but mostly for the development of his bikes and his famous "Fahrmaschinen".
As a student (in Kassel, Munich and Paris), he worked as a graphic artist, caricaturist and poster artist and got very popular in the Art Nouveau movement. In 1908 he relocated to Berlin, founding his "Ateliers Neumann". In the beginning, the main business was the design of advertising for automobile companies, but soon also coachwork-design was an important segment of his works. Today, his designs for Szawe and Schebera are the most reminded ones.
In 1924 he settled in Euskirchen (near Cologne), founding his "Neander Motorfahrzeug GmbH" and two years later, he finally relocated to Düren-Rölsdorf. Here, more than 2000 motorcycles were built, including the famous pressed-steel-frame Neanders, later refined and built under license as "Opel Motoclub". Yes, the ones with the red tyres!
In the early 1930s, N² (as Ernst Neumann-Neander was called because of his universalism) started the development of his "Fahrmaschinen". The little vehicles were no "real" cars or motorcycles. Even  N² avoided the terminus"car" and called his vehicles "Fahrmaschinen", which means "driving-machines". Just a frame, carrying the engine far in the front, a rudimentary body and the axles for three or four wheels. The design of this little silver vehicles, looking like grandsons of cockroaches and bristletails eclosed of Wehrmachts-helmet-eggs had nothing in common, with other cars in 1930s. Although the "Fahrmaschinen" were mainly used as racers, the purpose of the development was different. Neander wanted to build an early "Volkswagen", a cheap and unpretentious vehicle for the common people. Neander even invented a tilting technology, but because of the expensive production and also because of the lack of interest in those bizzare vehicles, production was extremely low. Only 20...25 Fahrmaschinen were built, with just a handful survivors. In 1939 the production was intermitted, because of WWII and after the war, Neander started producing vehicles for disabled persons, but with the death of Ernst Neumann-Neander in 1954, the factory's doors finally closed. But what is left of this great man? Surprisingly many motorcycles and also a handful of the "Fahrmaschinen" have survived. Two buildings of the factory still exist and what a great idea, the city of Düren honoured their famous inventor by calling the street,where the factory is located, the "Neumann-Neander-Strasse".
Tuesday, 16 May 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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