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Yosemite Park’s thrills and tragedies

Yosemite Park’s thrills and tragedies
You have probably seen photographs of cars driving right through the giant sequoia trees at Yosemite Park before. The worldwide web is full of them and that’s not so strange. We think we’d stop to make a photograph of our own four-wheeler going right through a tree like this if we came across one. Especially when you are driving a shiny red Porsche 356 together with your lovely girlfriend! This shot was taken in 1960 at the famous Wawona Tunnel Tree by an unknown man, probably the car’s owner and fiancée to today’s Friday Lady.

But the reason why we came up with this particular photograph, is a lot grimmer. And when you know about Yosemite National Park, or travelled it yourself, you may well know its campfire stories, too. Bigfoot, yes, but some of them even scarier. And it was on this day in 1999 that a very gruesome story became reality after three girls were found murdered there. The disappearance of two of them had drawn national attention. When another 26 year-old Yosemite Park worker was found brutally killed and decapitated near her cabin in the park, the investigations lead to Cary Stayner, who confessed to have murdered all three of them and was sentenced to death. You just be careful out there.

(Words editor, picture courtesy Vintage Everyday)

Friday, 17 March 2017

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It’s not just about cars

It’s not just about cars
If you like your cars to be British, you are likely to enjoy a breakfast with bacon, beans and black pudding every now and then. Chances are high you will also like tweed jackets and fair isle sweaters, prefer Churchill over Roosevelt, drink tea at just about any occasion and say sorry when you haven’t done anything wrong. If that’s so, friends, you are the person to visit ‘British Cars & Lifestyle’, held this weekend for the 26th time in a row in Rosmalen, The Netherlands. As the organizers say: “Not just the biggest, but also the cosiest event for the fan of British cars, Great Britain itself plus its country lifestyle.” (all info here).

So what to expect? Cars. Oh yes. Plenty of them. But forget about these for a tiny little while. The show’s organizers say they will form the biggest shop selling British products for the weekend, with stands selling antiques, clothing, jewellery, pottery, fabric, boots, marmalade, fudge and much more. The photograph above was actually taken on the spot. A classic car show! To quote them once more: “Where ladies enjoy themselves between the life style products, the men browse the parts.” This year, the idea is stretched further with an Irish pub in situ, including a band playing British pop songs and even a town crier who will sing (!) along...

(Words editor, picture British Cars & Lifestyle)

Thursday, 16 March 2017

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Meet another great Chinese car collector!

A visit to Chinese car collector Mr. Bai Guang in Linqing, Shandong province.

Last month we introduced you to Chinese classic car collector Luo Wenyou - sympathetic story here - now, we proudly present you to another great Chinese collector: Mister Bai. Our China contributor got in touch with him: "During my participation in the 4C Rally in 2015 I met mr. Bai, a Chinese car collector, famous in China because he owns a number of rare Chinese cars.
Mr. Bai invited me for a visit to his hometown, to have a look at his collection. On a beautiful day I was driven in an old Mercedes S-Class by two Chinese friends to Linqing.
We started the visit in mr. Bai’s office, which was a real gold mine of Chinese automobilia. We spent hours reading old magazines and newspapers, looking at scale models, books, objects and more. I was happy to find some more information about the Mercedes truck production in pre-war China. 
After the office we visited the actual collection, divided over two big storage sheds. In shed number one mr. Bai stored his unique Haiyen SW710, a 300cc micro-car made from 1966, about 100 units were made to replace the pedicabs in Shanghai. Mr. Bai has probably the only example left: number 36 made in December 1966. The original rear engine was replaced by an electric one, but during restauration at its turn replaced by a Lifan engine. As Mr. Bai had stored the cars close to each other, making pictures or walking between the cars was nearly impossible.
A second wonderful car is the Dongfanghong BJ760. Two examples still exis; one in the collection of mr. Liu Wenyou (exhibited in the famous Luo Wenyou Classic Car Museum in Huairou, Beijing discussed here before), and mr. Bai has the other one. This car participated in the Beijing-Shanghai Rally of 2012. The Dongfanghong is strongly related to the Russian Wolga M21. Also the engine is a copy of the GAZ engine. Mr. Bai’s car was made in 1965 and numbered 63. As mr. Luo’s car was made in 1969 and numbered 32 (according the data plate) it is difficult to say if the official number of cars made is 238 is correct but fact is that these cars were made between 1960 and 1969.
Interesting car number three was the Tianjin TJ210E, a small jeep which was based on a predecessor of the famous Beijing BJ212. In 2013 it appeared also in the Beijing-Shanghai Classic Car Rally. Together with the two-door TJ201C, about 14.000 units were made. At least three TJ210 are known remaining, of which mr Luo owns the more seldom two-door version.
The second shed was as full as the first one. I estimate the total number of cars at about 100. In this shed most of the cars were wreckages. I asked mr. Bai what he is going to do with all these vehicles. He told me that he plans to restore the best cars of shed number one and to use the others as spare parts. And oh, I also saw, apart from of a lot of Hongqi and Shanghai sedans, two armoured ZIS 115s and a Hongqi convertible replica...

(Words and pictures Erik van Ingen Schenau)

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

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Crossing US-Mexican borders PanAm style

Crossing US-Mexican borders PanAm style
October 2017 may seem about as far away as the moon right now, but we wanted to take a look at it never the less. The Carrera Panamericana revival, held that month, will celebrate its 30th anniversary by then and we’re pretty sure it will be much debated by the time. Anything to do with the ‘PanAm’ is after all Mexico’s best known export product in the classic car world, not in the last place to the Americans. What the Mille Miglia is to Europeans may be the Carrera Panamericana to them. They refer to it as ‘The World’s Greatest Road Race’ and rave about its heroic early days (nice story with film footage here). The original race was only held four times from 1950 to 1954, with a record number of deaths, leading to its demise.

This year, the organizers will be faced with difficulties of a very different kind. The following piece of text can be found on the official website: “The Organizing Committee of “La Carrera Panamericana” wishes to inform that the customs authorities at the US-MEX border are aware of the arrival of the participants and their cars and the importance of this race for the country. They are committed in helping all of the competitors in crossing the border as quickly and efficiently as possible as long as they comply with all of the rules and regulations. The Organizing Committee cannot intervene.” Competitors are given two options to cross the border. First is with a Tourist Permit, option number 2 is a Temporary Import Permit, both with considerable restrictions. Also: you’ll have to remember that many of the competition cars are followed by service crews, journalists and fans, too, so this could be a tricky matter. Read the full article here, and feel free to comment below.

(Words Jeroen Booij, pictures courtesy Carrera Panamericana official website)



Tuesday, 14 March 2017

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