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Back to Beaulieu: What has changed if you have not been to Beaulieu for 15 years?

Back to Beaulieu: What has changed if you have not been to Beaulieu for 15 years?
'What has changed if you have not been to Beaulieu for 15 years?' I ask myself when I get invited to join a friend to the International Autojumble. I don't have a clue, because I don't remember much (15 years is a long time...). But the moment I cross the gate it all comes back in a flash, and I immediately remember where to go to see old friend Barry's stall, or the guys from Peterborough, the areas with rusty parts, or the posher places with books, lamps, art or accessories. Some seem to have emptied their trailer in a minute, others must have spent a full day to present the merchandise. I see buyers walking away with very useful, but also sometimes the most impossible items, from a hard-searched-for crankcase to a rather ornamental 6-feet battleship model... 'If you can't find it at Beaulieu, it doesn't exist'...
But of course very important is the social side of the event. I stop at friends with stalls, and drink tea, beer or wine, depending on their nationality ! It is truly an international Autojumble, as I meet people from Holland, France, Germany, Australia and even a Canadian who had the Autojumble on his bucket list ! An Italian had flown to London, taken the train to Brockenhurst, and by taxi to the field !
So I go to see my old friend Barry, now 87 years old, he has never missed an edition of Beaulieu Autojumble. His 'Grotty Chummy' is really here for display only, but as a good autojumbler, everything is for sale at the right price ! I remember that 15 years ago, he had a box of bits (mostly rubbish, but including one or two good things), and started asking £ 20, knocking off a pound every hour ! Quite the opposite of today’s e-bay... 
After many miles by foot, an exhausting day, I walk away from Beaulieu Autojumble with only a few new bits and pieces, but with many new and happy memories. After 15 years, Beaulieu Autojumble has changed a lot, but is still the same !

Words and photos by Nick Jonckheere

Sunday, 10 September 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

What is it quiz #453

Whatisit quiz #453
The mystery today is a sleek and sporting looking car with a distinctive front, dating from shortly before the Great War. Built by an ambitious Parisian agent in automobiles of renowned makes, the car received his name and can be described as international. Maybe not that hard to solve, but we need to know at least make, year and model. And of course as many other details as possible, to improve your chances of becoming the winner this time.

So send in your answer before Monday 11th September, do not use more than 100 words and try to be as complete as possible. Good luck!

Saturday, 09 September 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

'Speedway' star with her Isotta.

Speedway star with her Isotta.
There is something alluring about this picture of a beautiful young lady sitting on the bumper of an enormous car with enormous headlamps, so we though we would dig deeper and find out what we could.
anitapage-largeHer name is Anita Page, star of the silent movie, and since she lived until 98 she enjoyed fame as being known as 'the last star of the silents'. 
She was a family girl and employed her father as her chauffeur, mother as secretary and brother as gym instructor - and then surprised everyone by announcing her retirement aged 23. It is said she rejected the sexual advances of MGM head of production, Louis B. Mayer, and he ensured she and other 'uncooperative' actresses found no work.

anitapagemirrorAt the height of her career in the 1920s, she was known as "the girl with the most beautiful face in Hollywood"  and it is said she received more fan mail than any other female star, with the exception of Greta Garbo, and received multiple marriage proposals from Benito Mussolini.
At the time, she was romantically involved with Clark Gable so poor old Benito didn't stand a chance.

She starred in a 1929 film called 'Speedway' - has anybody seen it I wonder? ( There are some stills from it HERE.)   Oh, and by the way, her car is an Isotta Fraschini Roadster C 1929.

Text Robin Batchelor, pictures from archive.

Friday, 08 September 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Mature beauty: A unique Packard Eight from 1929 in Germany

Mature beauty: A unique Packard Eight from 1929 in Germany

Why do even people who don’t have a driving license often admire prewar cars? Well, there are lots of reasons, but one is obvious: Prewar cars don’t have anything in common with today's mostly dull vehicles which are congesting the motorways in almost every part of the world. 
I remember my first trip from Germany to Italy as a schoolboy in the 1980s. After crossing the Alps you felt you were entering a different world. Suddenly, you were surrounded by agile Alfas, little Fiats and Innocentis, and of course distinctive Lancias whose drivers were determined to go as fast as possible as long as possible, no matter how difficult the roads or how feeble and fully-occupied their cars were.

“Tempi passati” – gone are the days. Apart from the usual Fiat Cinquecento (the genuine thing, of course) in a secluded mountain village, you’ll just come across the same usual suspects on Italian roads like anywhere else in Europe: Audis, BMWs, Hyundais, Mercedes’, Peugeots, Toyotas, VWs etc.

Against this background, the infinite world of prewar cars appears like a paradise lost. Never again has there been such a fascinating variety of marques and models, technical designs and bodywork.

That’s why old-motor addicts need to pay a visit to the truly worthwhile classic car events every year, in order to keep their peace of mind. On the European continent, there is one such event that truly stands out in this regard – the "Classic Days" at the magnificent moated castle “Schloss Dyck” in the lower Rhine area in Germany.

At we already posted an enthusiastic report of the Classic Days 2017. There is not much to add, maybe apart from a review of a very special Packard Eight from 1929 with body by Raymond Dietrich which catched my eye. 
I was just able to make a few snapshots of the car in question at its arrival on the castle grounds. And I must admit, I have rarely encountered a prewar car which overwhelmed me by its sheer beauty and originality like this one did. It has survived in unrestored (meaning “unmolested”) condition in the U.S.A. until 2016 when it was acquired by its current German owners who seem to appreciate its unique original appearance. Just look at the faded original paint, the tiny missing chips behind the radiator, the slightly discoloured top – and you’ll notice that almost 90 years of gentle maturing have left their traces on this car without impairing the sheer beauty of this stunning touring car.
This result cannot be replicated or reconstructed or “restored” – this is the original state everyone is dreaming of who has an understanding of what “authentic” really means.

Of course, “better-than-new” advocates and "replica afficionados” will disagree, but in my opinion a truly original early motorcar deserves an owner who views himself as a temporary steward of something which is worth to be preserved for the future just as it is, as long as it’s complete and running. And to me this Packard Eight is the perfect epitome of this idea.

By the way, if anyone can tell more about the origin and history of this breathtaking tourer which won the FIVA Preservation Award at the event, I am sure, prewarcar readers would love to know it.

Words and photos by Michael Schlenger

Thursday, 07 September 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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1937 Packard 115 C Convertible Coupe
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