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The Magazine

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

About What is it? Quiz #461: Bugatti T57 Brown

About What is it? Quiz #461: Bugatti T57 Brown

Some might have recognized the car from our 'Weird Wednesday' feature from a few years ago, where the Bugatti T57 Brown was spotted at the Interclassics Show in Bruxelles. This car was in much better condition than the one that was spotted at a scrapyard near Tours around 1974. And yes, it was a feature at but as most of you knew, it was actually a pre-war car. No less than 36 answers came in, most in time, a lot of them correct. Not all. To start with what it is not: It is not an Aston Martin by Ghia. Not is it an ugly Morgan, as Larry was thinking.

Anders Svenfelt was the first to answer and gave the right car. He also told us that it was made of the new material fiberglass, Jason Palmer was the first to tell us that the car is currently at Autoworld Belgium. Horst Schultz was saying the car is at the moment at a Volkswagen Chassis, and not anymore on the T57. Ted Wilmarth was very accurate in his answer but his answer was based on the present and not based on the photo above. Gerd Klioba told us that the body saved 250 kg. He said the fate of the second car is unknown. Marco Gastaldi was the first to mention the different wheels (16"instead of the 18"). He also told us a bit more about the French sculptor James Jacques Brown: Born in 1918 in Paris, he received a law degree and became official at the Ministry of Finance1942-1945. Then he began an artistic career. 

We would like to invite Eric Duchenne for more photo of the car. Just as Luc Ryckaert, who promised us an article for about the car, as he knows the current owner. And Henrik Schou-Nielssen, as he has copies of letters between the former owner.

The most complete answer came from Josef Boers but unfortunately, he used more than 100 words (just as Henrik did). The best answer, within the limit, came from Henk Visscher: "in the early 1950s, sculptor and Bugatti-owner Jacques Brown from Paris embraced polyester as a medium for modern art. In 1954 he was commissioned to equip a 1938 Bugatti T57 chassis with lightweight aerodynamic polyester bodywork. The result was shown at the 1955 Salon de l’Automobile. Two cars were made (T57-chassis #57645 and #57723), differing in the presence/absence of air inlets underneath the headlamps. The pictured car may be identified as #57645. Chassis and body have later been separated. The chassis now bears a replica Aérolithe body. Mounted on a VW-chassis, the polyester body can be admired in Autoworld, Brussels."

So congratulations Henk, you are closing the gap with the number one!

Top 5:
1. Gerd Klioba
2. Alan Spencer
3. Henk Visscher
4. Luc Ryckaert
5. Fritz Hegemann

Saturday, 20 January 2018 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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