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The Magazine

Two heads are better than one - Fiat 501

My Fiat 501

On the 4th of January 2018, we received the following message in the PreWarCar.com mailbox:

''This is my Fiat 501, slowly becoming a real car from as many original parts as I possibly can find. According to the archives of the Fiat Centro Storico it was made in November 1925 and delivered as a bare chassis to the Finnish importer Walfrid Alfthán, but sadly I only have the left front wing and windscreen frame from the original coachwork. Luckily, I have now a good 501 radiator, bonnet catches and most importantly I have loaned well preserved original wood parts for a factory torpedo coachwork for patterns to make my own. Alfthán had a white 501S racer that was raced in Helsinki, Stockholm and possibly in Estonia in the 1920s, so my plan is to recreate that car as accurately as I can. For the base of my projects, I have several complete Tipo 101 and 103 engines, the best one is a very rare Fiat-Tamini 503 motopompa, as well as lights, radiators, axles, wheels, hubs, several Fiat-Metron gauges and many other parts for recreating a 509A, most of a 1928 507F fire-car (dismantled in the fifties and found almost completely in parts under a barn) and two good 520 sixes. The water pump was saved literally in the last minute when a fellow enthusiast sad it hanging from an excavator in a waste tip site, so sadly the water tank was damaged a bit. The hunt for parts is far from over and most importantly I am missing all the cardan parts including the cast tube and the cardan joint, as my only rear axle has been cut with a hammer as a trailer axle! Also, I would like to find a steering wheel, the fusebox/cutout case to the behind of the dashboard, original canister type tail light and a facsimile of period Fiat workshop book.''

''I would like to find other enthusiasts of 1920s Fiats to swap parts and knowledge for the benefit of all these wonderful vintage projects still existing, so do not hesitate to connect me if you could have something for me. I am a professional carpenter and I intend to make small series of every part that I eventually will make, such as body panels and woodwork. Anche parlo un po italiano et je parle aussi un peut francais. This is my first prewar project, which I bought in the Christmas holidays three years ago sitting under a spruce tree in the yard of a famous cinema car builder in Finland. Since then, my old garage has turned to a real barn-find -barn and I am truly devoted in searching more clues for possible vintage parts to complete my projects. It is a long journey and I have a lot to learn, at the moment I am struggling with dismantling the brake drums, I wonder if I really need to take the hub apart first to get to the brake shoes as I can't pull the drums out as I expected?''

Is there anyone who can help this very enthusiastic man? Help would be very much appreciated, please comment below so we can bring you two into contact. If you have a similar story, do not hesitate to ask! Please send it to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Two heads are better than one!

  

 

Wednesday, 24 January 2018 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail
   

The Drivers Lunch: a huge success

The Drivers Lunch: a huge success

Surely you have read on these pages that Joris Bergsma, our former editor, planned to organize a Sunday get-together, a small event eligible only for pre-war cars and their drivers. The event was held last Sunday at the Hotel Belvédère in the picturesque town of Schoonhoven in The Netherlands. An amazing crowd of almost twenty pre-wars turned up, most probably helped by the unexpectedly sunny weather, as the day before the temperature was not much above zero degrees Celsius. Apart from driving to and from, it was a static event, yet the participants had much to talk about at lunchtime. There was a prize for the driver who had driven the most miles to Schoonhoven. It was awarded to Hubert Kranz, who came all the way in his Alvis from Straelen in Germany, a mere 150 kilometers (100 miles). Yet we feel the next time there should also be an award for the driver with the least miles, as one driver needed just six kilometers (four miles), as he only had to cross the river by ferry! There are already plans for the next Drivers Lunch, probably in April. Of course, we will inform you in time on these pages. 

Text and photos: Rutger Booy
     
Tuesday, 23 January 2018 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail
   

Getting a mystery cab, in Egypt.

Identifying this car

Let's grab a cab! Normally this refers to a yellow cab in New-York or the famous black ones in London. But what does one take when one is in El Fayum, Egypt? John took this taxi when he was in El Fayum in August 1980. He decided to take a photograph of the car, which reminds him up to the present day of an unforgettable drive. "There was nothing to identify the marque and I believe the engine had been changed to a diesel. In several other small towns, we observed similar vintage vehicles. Does anybody have any idea what make/year this might be? Maximum speed was about 30 km/hr, and on the way back our driver, older than the car by at least 25 years, inexplicably took a shortcut through a field containing the only standing water for miles around, promptly getting stuck fast. We ended up taking a horse-drawn carriage back to our hotel!"

Who can identify this car/taxi and complete the story of this adventure for John?

Photograph by John.

Monday, 22 January 2018 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail
   

Fifty years ago: the start of a serious discussion on collecting, restoring and driving old cars

Fifty years ago: the start of a serious discussion on collecting, restoring and driving old cars

At the third Interclassics in Brussels, last November, I bought the catalogue of a very special car auction which was held in February 1994 in France. It was, in fact, the dispersion of the famous collection of, mainly, French cars once collected and partly driven by Serge Pozzoli. The man who sold me the catalogue was an older British dealer in automotive literature and during the short conversation we had, it appeared that he didn’t know who Pozzoli had been.

This struck me indeed. For me, Pozzoli is a name almost identical to collecting and caressing old, mainly prewar, French cars of the less known makes. For decades, Serge Pozzoli (1915-1992) was thé man who seemed to know everything about these cars and he wrote it all down in his own magazine, the ‘Fanatique de l’automobile’. He was also one of the most important collectors of classic cars, was involved with museums and with historic racing.

He was also active in uniting people who had the same love of old cars. So it comes as no surprise that in 1967 he was one of the founding fathers of what is called the FFVE, the French Federation of Historical Vehicles. Today about 1200 clubs are a member of the Federation and it is estimated that these clubs represent more than 230 thousand car owners and enthusiasts! Last October, all these people have been asked by the FFVE to fill in a survey from which it must become clear what kind of cars they collect and drive, how they use their cars, etc.

In the same year the FFVE was founded, 1967, also another important event took place. And it was organized more or less for the same purpose as the FFVE survey: what ideas have people on collecting old cars. Naturally, I would say, Serge Pozzoli was one of the participants of this First European Congress of Great Collectors of Historical Cars, held in October in Florence, Italy.
I had never heard of this conference until I discovered and bought the proceedings of it last year. It appeared that the Italians had quite accurately written down what had been said during the main sessions. There were about forty participants - from Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, England and Denmark - and the ‘lingua franca’ during the meeting seems to have been French.

In a couple of contributions to this Magazine, I would like to inform you about some of the issues that were discussed in Florence fifty years ago and I hope that some of you will react and give your opinion on these issues. I am very curious to know whether the points of view have changed (much) since 1967. And whether there are still clear differences between the English and the Continental attitudes.

The first issue I would like to address concerns the modification of old cars. On October 9, 1967 Mr. Philip Mann explained to the audience which alterations to cars were accepted by the Vintage Sports Car Club. One of these rules was that the owner of a car could change its wheelbase. From the proceedings, one can infer that a kind of shock must have gone through several of the attendants. One of these was Serge Pozzoli and I will try to translate part of his reaction during the discussion of Mr. Mann’s talk: “I know that [the English] are proficient but there are certain things that pass the limits. Changing the wheelbase of a car, what is that? If a car maker has provided two different wheelbases for a model, one for tourism and one for sports, and when a tourism car is modified into a sports car and at the very moment that one gives it the sports wheelbase, I understand but giving the car just any wheelbase, that seems to me absolutely énorme. And if you can also change the brake drums, by putting on bigger ones, what remains of the original car?”

Do you think the English are still more ‘tolerant’ with regard to modifications? What do you think of M. Pozzoli’s point of view?

Words and photographs by Fons Alkemade.


  
Sunday, 21 January 2018 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail
   

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