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Edward P. Zerė and his C6 Amilcars
Anyone interested in the C6 Amilcars imported to UK by Vernon Balls in the late 1920s may be aware of Edward Zerė who ran a workshop called Z.N. Motors Ltd. at 904, Harrow Road, London, NW10. He was in partnership with a Scotsman whose name, therefore, may have begun with an N. Zerė himself specialised in tuning and is reported to have been involved with the final tuning of Widengren’s offset C6 Amilcar, whilst the car was being prepared by Automobile Supertuners, in preparation for 1100 cc record-breaking runs at Montlhėry in 1932. Zerė himself ran a red, Eldridge cowled, Surbaissė 4 cyl. Amilcar. At about this time Zerė purchased 2 x Amilcar C6s, one of which chassis 11014 had an extensive Brooklands racing history and another of uncertain origin as a spares car. Zerė’s intention, according to a March 1936 Motorsport article, which has 2 photos of the partially rebuilt Amilcar, was to rebuild a lightened and modified car to run in outer- circuit races at Brooklands. Apart from this one article little other references to Zerė is to be found in the motoring press of the time, so what is known of this skilled automobile engineer?
Born Illya Pavlovich Zerekidze in 1888 in Russia, Zerė appears in a poor quality early group photograph around an aircraft with A.V.Roe, Bert Hinkler and others. It is known that Russia ordered 2 Avro fighters in 1922, perhaps Zerė had some aviation engineering background before coming to England? In 1932 Zerė applied for naturalization as a British Citizen and was known as “Paul” in England, living at 181, Chamberlayne Road, Willesden. His very attractive wife was named Vera. In Motorsport dated March 1949, Z.N.Motors advertised “Two Six-Cylinder Racing Amilcars” for sale. In due course, a group, subsequently naming themselves “Equipe TNC” purchased all of Zerė’s Amilcar parts and together with parts from another Amilcar C6, built up a pair of much-modified racing 6cyl. Amilcars Reg. Nos. OXW1 & OXW2. This team, particularly OXW1 driven by John Tozer, were very successful in many VSCC and other club events over several years. Both cars still exist and recently the ex Tozer car has undergone an exhaustive restoration to near original condition but retaining some of the Zerė modifications like the triangular lightening holes in the chassis longerons, the extended wheelbase, and gearchange mechanism.
I am indebted to the current owner of this car for researching what little we know of Zerė’s background and the fact that he died in London in 1965. There were apparently no children. A senior member of the UK Amilcar Register remembers an article about Zerė published in a post-war UK motoring magazine, but to date, this article has not been identified. There also exist a number of photographs of an elderly gentleman closely examining the TNC cars at several meetings, perhaps this could be Zerė in retirement? I should be most grateful if any of your readers can add anything to the rather sparse information we have concerning this most interesting motoring personality.
Words and photos by Richard Lane (Amilcar Archivist to the UK Register)
Published: Monday November 13th, 2017
A shame really as the modifications were an important part of the car's history.Comment
Perhaps the postwar article is actually just prewar? The Motor published an artcle on him in August 1939 (probably August 1st) but unfortunately I do not have an actual copyComment
A small correction to the description of the restored car: in fact standard rear-springs fitted and now wheel-base of car has been return to standard.Comment