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Amilcar's racing jewel

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Barely pausing for breath after the publication of his latest book on Alfa Romeo Grand Prix cars - The Magnificent Monopostos - Simon Moore has jumped head-first into researching a rather different machine. The Amilcar C0 and C6 have attained a legendary status since the C0's debut outing at Montlhéry in 1925. Unlike anything the Parisian marque had built before, the C0 was a dedicated racing machine which broke away entirely from its cyclecar-style predecessors. At its heart was a jewel-like six-cylinder engine of 1100cc, with a dry sump and roller bearing crankshaft designed by Edmond Moyet, wrapped in a beautifully functional open-wheeled body.

Although the Amilcar works team stopped campaigning the C0s in 1928, the cars, and their slightly detuned C6 brethren, continued to succeed in the hands of private drivers for many years, a testament to their excellent design. Few C0 and C6 Amilcars were built, but their competition careers were varied and numerous, and Simon is the first to seriously research this subject. The results of his labours are presented in the latest issue of The Automobile, which is out now. The Magnificent Monopostos can be ordered from AutoNet in The Netherlands and Chaters in the UK.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

The car behind the driver: the 1938 Thompson racing Special

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Kieran White provided a photo of young Mr. Hugh at the wheel of '1938 Thompson racing Special', this in view of our new 2015 calendar "A New Generation Taking The Wheel". As we were intrigued by the name of the car we asked Kieran to learn us a bit more and found out there is not only car history behind it but also a part from the sad times of The Troubles (* see Kieran's note below) in Northern Ireland:
"The picture (edit.: behind the main picture) came from Aubrey Thompson when I bought the car from him in 1986. He died soon afterwards so I couldn't ask him what the event was (maybe one of our readers knows?). The 2nd photograph only surfaced recently through the good offices of Eddie Fitzgerald of the Irish Motor Racing Club (IMRC). The Thompson family ran a Ford main dealership (hence the Ford parts in the TRS) in Mallow Co Cork. During the War of Independence the British army sequestered trucks in the the daytime from Thompsons' garage and the IRA took the trucks for nighttime use. I can dig up a photograph of W J Thompson standing in the smouldering ruins of the garage after a large section of Mallow was burned by the British.

Eventually Aubrey went to Coventry as a Daimler apprentice. He stayed in dormitory accommodation and Percy Maclure was in the next bed. He also became friendly with Rupert Instone whose family held the Daimler distributorship. The pair built the famous GN Martyr and both of them competed in it. On return to Ireland Aubrey bought the Smithfield Ford special and used it for a year. He then built a new special but had so many problems with the Ford Eight engine that after assisting Maclure at Donington he acquired from Maclure the Riley Ulster Imp engine and ENV 75 gearbox and put them in this car as well as the Ballamy type front axle and De Dion back axle. He competed at the Leinster Trophy at Tallaght won the Wakefield trophy in the Phoenix Park in 1939 averaging 82.2 mph. He had FTD at the Ballinascorney hillclimb in 1940. During the war Aubrey had the contract for servicing flying boats at Foynes harbour. Postwar the TRS was largely driven by Arthur O'Leary, the Thompson garage foreman until 1963 when it was laid up."

(*) note by Kieran White to add with our lines: "the term Troubles referred to the Irish war of indepenence 1919-1922. The term re-emerged to describe the more recent unrest in the North of Ireland. So Wikipedia is to be read with caution! "

(Thanks to Kieran White and Eddie Fitzgerald of the Irish Motor Racing Club)

Tuesday, 16 December 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A V-shape radiator mystery in Belgrade (update: 1914 Benz, Elite?)

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Peter Skofic dug up a yet another mystery again. This time with a pinch of the December atmosphere, snow! He writes: "The photo shows an unknown car fighting with heavy snow in Belgrade in front of the parliament`s palace which was obviously still under construction. Following typical design of the V-shaped radiator this must be a German or Austrian car. But which make? Perhaps Benz or Puch? Support of your readers solving this mystery would be helpful."

Monday, 15 December 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

The Hoop & Dog Mystery

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A plain American car and basically we feel embarrassed that we didn't recognise this without any doubt high volume car. We thought of Chevy 490, Studebaker, Dodge, Star, Oakland, yet it doesn't fit. Nash maybe, nah... Maxwell? Sorry, we give up, you need to tell us. Already we hear you laughing that we didn't see it at first glance... (click main pic for enlargement)

For your information the photo was shot in Holland, halfway the twenties in front of Hotel Cafe 'De Onderneming' (The Enterprise) in the nice village of Heiloo. A man on the left runningboard seems dressed up and groomed and may be an artist or the hotel manager. Note the young chap on the far left holding a very popular toy of that time. Stick & hoop. He is a bit fast for the long exposure of the camera, something which counts even more for the glimpse passing behind the boys, a dog. They loved cars over there. Next week we'll report about the Spyker cars in Heiloo, here seen together with a Model T.

(Photo collection Hans Ruiter)

Sunday, 14 December 2014 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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1962 Chevrolet Corvair Greenbrier van
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