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About Tough to Crack puzzle #159: 1965 Radford GT

About Tough to Crack puzzle #159: 1965 Radford GT
Are you not Alfa-enthusiasts? Or was the converted Giulia of last week a step too far? We received just a few answers to last week’s puzzle, all from regular players, with just two of them being correct. Timo Laitinen wrote: “Radford GT, converted by Harold Radford (Coachbuilders) Ltd. The news in 1965 said that this was 'The first foreign car to be offered with what Radford call the London Look'. The price then was 2,199 pounds.” That’s it! Till Jauernig wasn't quite so sure, writing: “Today I am not playing the puzzle! I also don’t remember what this Alfa is, but I do remember, that some 10 or 12 years ago there was one for sale.” Herman van Oldeneel belives so, too, and even mentioned licence plate and current owner! He wrote about the Radford Alfa Giulia Sprint GT: “A customizing trend was CIBIE-ing cars. George Barris did several (Bentley, Lincoln, Mustang, Ghia). Harold Radford 'Cibied' 5 to 6 Alfas. Famous owners were Peter Sellers and Lord de Rotschild, who’s GTA-version came in deep blue with golden coachline, 6 extra air vents. It is now a GTA racer. For the interior even a beer tap was said to be available, like a ‘Cleopatra coach’ and leather seats contoured in Freudenberg PVC.” Well done Herman, you win, as that’s just how we like ‘m!

Saturday, 03 June 2017

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Long may McLaren live

Long may McLaren live
It’s 47 years ago today that a severe crash took place at Goodwood, killing a 32-year-old race driver in a car bearing his own name and at the top of his racing career. This was of course Bruce McLaren, who'd made a career as fast as his cars. Ten years earlier he had become the youngest-ever winner of an F1 race, while just eight years earlier he’d started manufacturing his own racing cars, becoming what may well have been the most successful driver-designer of his own cars. The racing team that bears his name survived him and is going strong to this day. His widow Pat, seen here, passed away in 2016. Good to think a little bit about McLaren today.

(Words editor, picture Jaguar Magazine)

Friday, 02 June 2017

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Golden years

Golden years
There have always been people who think cars are better off with gold rather than chrome. Think Liberace. But cars with gold-plated brightwork are not just for slightly disturbing privateer attention seekers. The motoring manufacturers themselves built some of them for show purposes too. Daimler did, like Austin-Healey and then there were the golden Deloreans made to promote American Express’ Gold Card. Oh, and there was a Jaguar MK2 as well.

Originally built for the 1960 New York Motor show, it certainly was a show stopper, with every bit of exposed metal, inside and out, gold plated- up to the exhaust pipe. At the show the car was accompanied by an armed guard together with Miss Dorothy McDonough, who was dressed to match the car "in a specially designed gown of 24-karat gold thread, 24-karat gold hose, gold shoes, gold and precious gem jewelry including a tiara given to Empress Josephine in 1804 by Napoleon." The tiara, which was on loan from Van Kleef and Arpels, contained over 1,000 diamonds.

It may not have been the kind of car to loose sight of, but after the show the ‘Golden Jaguar’ was sent back to the factory at Browns’ Lane, stripped of its gold, retrimmed and sold as a standard road car. And so it doesn’t exist anymore. Or does it? For one MK2 lover, it became the quest to exactly recreate it. He did just that, and the new Golden Jaguar was ready in 1999, when it made it to several shows and concourses too. But what do you do with a car like this? Yep, it’s for sale now, and seller Bonhams, auctioning it in Greenwich this weekend on behalf of the owner together with some more MK2s from his collection, quotes: “Barely driven anywhere but from the transporter to the show field and back again, only about 100 miles have been accumulated since the completion of the restoration.” See the car for sale here.

(Words Jeroen Booij, picture courtesy Bonhams Auctions)

Thursday, 01 June 2017

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Lifting Pre-War into Post-War

We love 1950s Specials and so had to share this fantastic little 1958 British Pathe film here, showing how a tired family saloon of 11 pounds, with some elbow grease and a little help from a friend, could be turned in a super sleek sports car. That's a Falcon Mk1 you see here. It's one of the better known Specials out of thousands designed and built in the UK in the 1950s. A great number of them will appear in a book that we are eagerly awaiting. It's called 'Special Obsessions' by Les Brown, who built and owned a wide variety of those cars himself. More information here.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

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