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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

“Manchester Show – are you coming too?”

Are you coming to the show?

The lady stepping into her motor car seems to be suggesting that we would be welcome to join her. And such is the case. Our Friday Lady, according to the advertisement from which this image is taken, is inviting us to a show – but, although the motor car is a Hotchkiss, the show is not in France but in England: the Manchester Show that started on 17th February 1911. Her words make it clear: “Manchester Show – are you coming too?”

The car in question is a 16/20 h.p. Landaulette. Hotchkiss, hitherto manufacturers of large cars for the luxury market, moved into the high-quality light car field in 1909 with the 2.2-litre 12/16 h.p.; the following year the company was offering a five-car range in the United Kingdom – the four-cylinder cars were the 12/16, priced at £340 in chassis form, the 16/20 (£440) and the 20/30 (£565). And there were two sixes, the 20/30 (£600) and the massive 40/50 (£890). Hotchkiss cars were always made to the highest quality standards. Indeed, from the start of motor car production in 1903 their engines, including the crankshaft, wherever possible used ball bearings rather than plain. The ball bearing engines lasted until the 30CV type X of 1910.

Hotchkiss had elegant showrooms in both Paris and London – their London offices and showroom at Davies Street in the West End relishing in the highly up-market name of “London & Parisian Motor Company.”

The appearance of Hotchkiss at the 1911 Manchester Show, represented by their local agents Messrs. H. H. Timberlake of Wigan, is not surprising given the importance of Manchester as a centre of industrial prosperity and growth. But there is another, although perhaps tenuous connection: the Englishman Henry Ainsworth was born near Manchester and studied engineering at Manchester School of Technology. He went to work in the Hotchkiss drawing office in St Denis in 1904 and rose to the position of chief engineer – holding that position from 1910 to 1914. After a short period as an intelligence officer in the British Army in 1914, he set up a machine-gun factory for Hotchkiss in Coventry. In 1919 he converted the factory to engine manufacture and sold it to Morris in 1923. He then returned to France and was Hotchkiss General Manager until World War 2 and, with a break for further war service, he worked for Hotchkiss until his retirement in 1950.

Whatever may have been the Manchester connection, Hotchkiss was certainly promoting the 16/20 h.p. in our picture as a luxury motor car for the gentry of Manchester – as we can detect from the distinctly flowery text in the advertisement that is worth repeating in full: “Look closely into every detail of this luxurious landaulette. It merits your consideration; for it is replete with that true refinement which only a close study of car comfort and its practical application can give.” Well, Madam, if you put it like that, we’ll come with you!

Words by Peter Moss.
Friday, 19 January 2018 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A brilliant jubilee despite some Bentley misery

interclassics 2018_airline_470
Interclassics Maastricht has grown in 25 years from a local fair in its first year 1993 into a leading European show, the kick-off of the classic car season.  No wonder that once again the visitor numbers went up. The overall level of the cars on display was very high and still there is attention for the small budget car.  Renowned Bugatti dealer Fine Automobiles from Holland not only had a magnificent 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 on show, but aside that an equally maroon coloured Austin Seven Chummy! The overall presence of pre-war automobiles seemed to have grown again reassuringly since last year. We counted in order of appearance no less than 35 pieces (see below).

The organisers made a very nice line up of showstopping vehicles from the most important show themes of the past 25 years. Including 100 Years Alfa Rome0, British Royals, Bugatti GP Cars, Pre-War Racing Legends and many more. This year's Best of Show of the pre-war era was the above magnificent 1936 SS Airline 2 door Saloon. Well chosen; though personally we had a special liking for the more refined machinery of the 1932 Delage D8 Figoni. Our special attention was drawn by a 1921 GN liberated from long time museum confinement. The car's chassis and engine were dry as cardboard so it will need buckets of grease and oil from a caring new owner to start with...  This 4.5 litre High Chassi Invicta may be well know to some of you. This 1928 high chassis 4.5 litre was bought from a Germany not so long ago after finishing his homework that he bought the Team Car as used by Saunders Davies & Fiennes.  At the BMW clubstand we saw a 1939 321 saloon, a very rare find in its unrestored and quite well preserved condition. 

A bit sad we were about the presence of a handful of Bentley lookalikes. Post-war machinery in "pre-war" fresh made attire. It's my personal observation that Interclassics can learn from the worldfamous artfair TEFAF that is being held under the same roof at another date. Tefaf is very-very strict in what artdealers can come up with. Anything questionable is banned from the venue. We think that Interclassics would grow even more if there would be more attention for the subject. Still Interclassics Maastricht is the yearly place to be. If not for the cars than for Maastricht itself, often named the Paris of the Netherlands... See you next year!

(txt & pics Joris Bergsma)

(all prewar cars on show) Marendaz 1933, Fiat Topolino 1938, Peugeot Bebe 1913, Bugatti type 13 Brescia, Bugatti type 57 Ventoux Gangloff, Cadillac Lasalle 1930, SS Jaguar Airline Saloon 1936, Riley Special 1936, Oakland 1910, Ford 81A Tudor 1938, Buick Master Six Roadster 1927, Alvis Special 12-70 ( BJ) 1938, Rolls-Royce New Phantom 1926, 1930 Delage D8 Cabriolet by Figoni, 1921 GN runabout, 1926 Amilcar CGS 'gutterwing' Roadster,  1936 SS Roadster Special, 1935 Bentley V12 RR Gurney Nutting Special, 1934 Aston Martin LWB Mk II, Lagonda LG45, Bentley 4.5 litre DHC 1936, Delage D8 Cabriolet Figoni 1930, Austin Seven Chummy, 1928, Bugatti T54 1931, Renault type I  1902, MG PB 1935, 1928 Bentley 4.5 L blower, 1935 Mercedes Benz 500 K Spezial Roadster, Lagonda M35 1934 2 door sports tourer, Lagonda LG 45 Team Car 1936, Invicta 4.5 High Chassis team car 1928, 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 swb team car,  BMW 315/1 Special 1936, 1937 Riley Big Four Special 1937, BMW 321 saloon 1939, Mercedes Benz cabriolet B.
Thursday, 18 January 2018 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

Mystery solved, really!? How?

Mystery solves, really!? How?

About a month ago, there was a feature about a mystery car on the platform of the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway. There were some suggestions made and Ariejan Bos was quite certain about the make. After that, the sender of the photo wasn't quite convinced he (and some others) were right so they emailed to each other to find out what it really was.

As we want to show you how Ariejan came to the conclusion, we will share you his thinking: 
"There are always many details, which can be used as identification features, but in the case of European cars normally only those parts which belong to chassis (American cars regularly have standard factory bodies, making these part of the id process). In this case we have: the bonnet, the number and pattern of the louvres, the dumb irons, wheel hubs, cooling package, front axle and steering system (here: steering head and tie rod), gear levers etc.. The steering wheel itself (including possible hand levers) is unfortunately not very well visible. Also, the presence of chain drive is unclear, is probably not present, but it cannot be ruled out. The angle of the picture prevents to observe this part. Details which can be found on both Georges Richard and Mors models of 1902-1903: this type of bonnet with louvre pattern and divided lid on top of the bonnet, the cooling tube package between the dumb irons, the transverse bar connecting the dumb irons and supporting the crank handle. The crank handle normally is positioned asymmetrical (on the left side for the Georges Richard; in the case of Mors normally on the left, but sometimes on the right): the transmission to the crankshaft is by two differently sized gear wheels. The relatively long wheel hubs can be found on both Georges Richard and Mors, as is the case with the steering gear and front axle shape. Distinguishing features like chain drive and hand levers below the steering wheel are not visible as mentioned.

So what is left: the side levers, three in total: the larger ones for forward gear shifting and braking, the small one for reverse gear. This type of outward curved braking gear I observed only on Georges Richard, as well as the grip of the small lever. See for this the photo of the smaller 12hp Georges Richard. Another detail is the shape of the dumb irons, strengthened in the shape of an inverse T. These seem to have been used only on the larger Georges Richard cars like the 24hp and 40hp (see pictures). The only Mors car which used them as far as I could find was their type Z 40hp racing car of 1902, but this car had a very differently shaped bonnet. The 40hp Georges Richard was very similar to this Mors, by the way, having chain drive too. The reason for the similarity of the Georges Richard and the Mors is of course very clear: Henry Brasier had worked for Mors before joining Georges Richard in 1901. He had worked especially on the racing cars and wanted to do the same in the Georges Richard factory. This was the main reason that Georges Richard, who lost interest in racing at all after a serious racing accident in 1903, left his own firm end of 1904 to establish the Unic factory. In 1903 already the cars were called (Georges) Richard-Brasier, but I believe that the cars were called only Georges Richard in England still for some time. 

So resuming, the car is, in my opinion, a Georges Richard (-Brasier) limousine of 1903, probably a 24hp model indicated by a large number of louvres (12). Maybe not 100% certain, but for me at least 95%!"

Photographs by Ariejan Bos.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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