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Goodbye to an icon

Goodbye to an icon
Roger Moore passed away on Tuesday and radio stations throughout the world played music from Diamonds are Forever, Live and Let Die and A View to a Kill – to mention just some of the Bond movies Moore starred in. He was quoted several times considering himself to be only the fourth best actor to have played Ian Fleming’s secret service agent James Bond on the screen, after Daniel Craig, Sean Connery and George Lazenby. But Moore was our personal favourite, with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour that only he could have given to the world’s most famous film spy.

But Moore was quite a lot more than Bond, too. He starred in numerous film roles, often as a playboy and/or detective and sometimes played parodies to his Bond charachter, too. Here fiddling with the ejector seat button of his car in The Cannonball Run, which used a mildly ‘amended’ version of the famous Bond theme. But he was also Ivanhoe, The Saint, Simon Templar (seen above) and our personal favourite Brett Sinclair, the debonair Persuader of the series of the same name, set at glamorous places in Europe and the US (oh - those brilliant opening titles!). Many of his roles included car chase scenes in exotic cars at similarly exotic locations. These fitted the man so well that Moore moved from the UK to Monaco and Switzerland later in his life. He served as a goodwill ambassador for Unicef too, for which he got knighted in 2003. 

(Words editor, pictures Pinterest)

Thursday, 25 May 2017

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The three-litre Healey with a difference

The three-litre Healey with a difference
When you think of a three-litre Healey, 99.9% of classic car enthusiasts will think of the well known Austin Healey with its big Austin-sourced six-in-line. We like to think, however, we are part of the 0.1% of classic car mankind who have that car as a second thought. There’s more to Healey than just Austin, you know. This year’s Mille Miglia showed just a bit of that. So how about a three-litre Alvis Healey? With the Alvis sourced engine, good for 2,993cc and 106bhp, it’s surely not as quick as its later siblings, but with just 25 of them built between 1951 and ‘53 they are certainly a lot rarer.

The car shown here, offered by Moss Green of Australia, wears its chassis number 16 since it was delivered new in June 1953 by Brewsters of Long Island, New York. It comes with its original key on a ring from Brewsters. The original bill of sale, denoting the price paid and recording the part exchange of a 1951 Singer Roadster, is still there too. Buyer was Leverett Saltonstall Miller, a professional polo player who’d married Hollywood actress Ava Norring. Moss Green adds to the mystique: “It is recorded that on 26th July 1957 Norring’s best friend, another film and TV actress, Barbara Nichols was injured in a car accident in Long Island, New York whilst being driven by Miller, which resulted in an enormous court case and heavy financial settlement. Was it possible that the car in which this occurred was this very Alvis-Healey?” That could well indeed be the case – more information here.

But true or not, the car ended up Down Under in 1988, where the major restoration the car needed so much, was never undertaken. And so it retains its highly original but somewhat sad state you see it here. Now, if you decide to restore a big Healey with a difference, go for it.

(Words editor, picture courtesy Moss Green Auctioneers)

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

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Glamping in the 1960s

Glamping in the 1960s
Camping may have the name to be anything but prestigious, but since the 2000s or so a high-status version took a flight: glamping. That’s glamorous camping, with the luxuries of five star hotel accommodation alongside the adventure of sleeping into the great wide open. Looking at this photograph, the camping on its own appears to be rather, erm, traditional. There’s a tiny little tent, some fold-up seats and a table, but that’s about it. Oh - is that a pair of swimming pants hanging on the tent’s tensioner line? And what’s in the red bucket? The dishes needing washing? But then the vehicle! That is about as glamorous as things could get back in the 1960s, when this photograph was taken.

The car is the BMW 507 Roadster when owned by Hermann Beilharz. Yes, it’s one of 252 made and a rare Series 1, too. What’s more: Beilharz owned it for 51 years and it still shows just 73,000 kilometres on the odometer. Beilharz became the 1957 car’s third owner when it was six years old. He kept it for the next 51 years until 2014. He cherished it and used it on his wedding day. Only in 2014 he sold it to the fourth owner, who plans to keep it for a considerable shorter time span. Originally white, Beilharz decided the current shade of sea green fitted the car better, and it still wears that. The car comes with a set of colour-coded Rudge wheels, but no mention is made of the colour-coded tent, seen above. Full description by RM Sotheby’s, who are offering this rare oily rag for sale this weekend, here.

(Words editor, picture courtesy RM Sotheby's)

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

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MG memories - do you have them?

Somehow we missed it, but it appears that MG is not dead after all. They are in fact building a crossover SUV hybrid kind of utility called the GS. It's perhaps not quite the thing you expect to wear the fabled Morris Garages badge, but at least the advertisement they air in Australia is quite nice, as above. It made us wonder: what are your MG memories..?

Monday, 22 May 2017

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