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Whatisit? PreWar Christmas Quiz day 1

The past ten years our annual Prewar Christmas Quiz has become a nice ritual as we published our first quiz in 2007. The year 2017 will not be different as we are eager to continue the tradition. This year the questions are very easy (although we don’t know about the answers). We are going to show you a barnfind, an abandoned wreck or any other car in a sad state. Up to you to tell us what the make of that automobile is (or was in many cases). To participate it’s enough to mention the make, but extra points can be earned by adding the model name (where appropriate). As usual we’ll start with an easy one, but it’s a promise, they are getting more and more difficult.

We don’t know where today’s rusty hulk was found, but it was displayed at the manufacturers stand at a well-visited classic car show in Germany a few years ago. Obviously there were emblems on the hubcaps, but to make this question not too easy, we have whizzed them away. It will be enough to tell you they resembled a propeller.

Now, the only thing you have to do is to think of the name of this automobile, write it down, but please DO NOT send us your answer before the last part of our six-day quiz has been published. Of course you can contact us on all other topics, because the offices are always staffed! From the participants with all answers correct, four names will be drawn at random. All four winners will receive the famous T-shirt. Good luck and if you like puzzles, try your hand at the PostWarClassic X-mas Puzzle. Enjoy this holiday season!

Tuesday, 26 December 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

A Christmas Tale

A Christmas TaleIt was the end of November, that I was traveling by train towards Sussex Downs. I was a nurse by profession and was engaged by a man to look after his wife who was mentally ill. A cab brought me through the cold and wet evening to the house of the family, where I was welcomed by the husband and wife. Although her skin color was pale and yellowish, the wife was very kind in appearance and didn't look to be ill at all. The couple was clearly very fond of each other, but something that had happened in the past seemed to have come between them. Each evening they would go for a walk, but would invariably return pale and dejected. The man would go immediately upstairs and lock himself up in his room.

When alone with her for a moment I asked about her disease, but she replied that she wasn't ill: it was her husband who was going mad, seeing, hearing and smelling things that were not there. I asked her why she thought that and she got tears in her eyes: 'Our daughter was killed by a motor a few months ago, it had a violet color. Isn't that the mourning color for queens? Our daughter was our queen …' I now understood the cause of it all. It was grieve that stood between them.

One evening I went for a walk near the cliffs when I suddenly heard the wife nearby crying to her husband: 'No, no, there is nothing ..'. 'Can't you hear it, why don't you see it?', he shouted and pushed her into the bushes on the side of the road as if a car rushed by. I could see them vaguely in the light of a lantern, but I didn't hear or see any car passing.

The next day I confronted the husband with my experience of the evening before and he replied: 'I'll tell you. The man, who killed our daughter, was new to our town. On the day of the inquest, he didn't show any guilt. On the evening after the funeral, while walking alone near the cliffs his violet car came by and the driver asked me the way to the next town. It was dark and a fog came up. The road ended at the top of the cliffs but the man, new to the area, didn't know that of course. In a flash, I told him just to go straight ahead and so he did … Since that day I have to go there every night to see that car. Every night the car passes, but my wife never sees it, hears it or smells it.' Filled with compassion I said to him: 'Let me go with you to look at the car. Maybe I will see it!' Although unwilling at first, he suddenly agreed.

It was Christmas Eve the evening we went out together. It was wet and slightly foggy, like real English Christmas weather. Walking down the road towards the cliffs we suddenly heard a roaring sound coming closer fast. Lights were shining through the foggy darkness and we stepped aside. Then, the car almost being at us, without any warning the husband jumped on the road, shouting: 'No, no, no more!' At the same moment, the car hit him and smashed him on the ground, the wheels passing over him. Horrified I watched the car racing by, without stopping. When it passed I could see it's violet color, but also that the driver's seat was empty ... In a second the car had disappeared in a cloud of smoke. I turned to him and immediately saw he was dead. At the inquest the doctor told the coroner that the cause must have been heart failure and that there weren't any signs of a car has gone over his body: his body showed no other marks than those caused by his fall on the road.

The only thing his wife said was that it was best for him and I believe her. I'll never forget the peaceful expression of his face, while lying there on the road: it even seemed as if he was smiling, having been finally reunited with his daughter. 

Paraphrased after “The Violet Car”, written by E. Nesbitt (1905) and slightly modified by Ariejan Bos
 Illustration by Weiluc (1901) in a special edition of L'Assiette au Beurre, called “Les Tueurs de Routes” (The Killers of the Road)

Monday, 25 December 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

How a chauffeur was to bring peace to the world

How a French chauffeur was to bring peace to the world

It was a review for a new novel that we read. A novel named ‘Archivist of the world’ about a superlative plan from the early 20th century. It’s a true story, too. In 1908 the opulent rich French banker Albert Kahn hands over a state-of-the-art camera to his chauffeur Alfred Dutertre and tells him to learn how to use it. Kahn trusts him his paramount plan: capture all the tribes of the world in full colour to create his ‘Archive of the Planet’. The greater idea behind it is that these pictures are capable of taking away all the fear and prejudices for strangers and thus bring people together. The eventual purpose is cross-cultural peace and understanding. Peace to the world through photography, six decades before John Lennon thought of it through music.

Our first thought: would he have driven the world by car? And if so, were there any images of Dutertre and his motor? Until recently, the massive collection of 72,000 autochrome pictures and 183,000 meters of film taken in 22 years time remained relatively unknown with the majority of the material unpublished. Chauffeur Dutrertre had not been on his own, as Kahn commissioned several more people to go out and discover 50 countries of the world. In 1986, the archives were nationalized and came to form a museum in Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris. When the BBC got hold of them some years ago for a then-new book and television series, the incredible collection became better known to the public.

It is now known as the most important collection of early colour photographs in the world, as Kahn and his men documented France’s everyday life before the outbreak of World War I, the collapse of both the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires and the last traditional Celtic villages in Ireland to name just a few. His team took the earliest-known colour photographs in countries far away, showing people in their natural habitat before the industrial revolution. Some examples here. Sadly Kahn died in 1940 during the Nazi occupation of France, when peace to the world seemed further away then ever. And his chauffeur Dutertre? There’s not much to be found, but this appears to be him on one of his travels somewhere cold. The picture above, from the Albert Kahn Museum, could also well be him, possibly with the car he chauffeured Kahn in? You may even know the make? Dutertre died in 1959 having travelled the world in order to bring peace for his boss. He didn’t succeed.

(Words Jeroen Booij, pictures Albert Kahn Museum)

Sunday, 24 December 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

About What is it? Quiz #460: 1901 FN type A

About What is it? Quiz #460: 1901 FN

Not that often that we have a colour photo on the quiz, but this week we do have one as the answer to last year's quiz. A 1901 FN is what we see. A Belgian arm manufacturer that got into cars in the begin of the last century. This car is still on display at the Bruxelles Autoworld. We received quite some good answers. One even with a copy of a post stamp with the car on it.

The first good answer came from Alan Spencer, who told us more about the FN name: Fabrique Nationale. An abbreviation of Fabrique Nationale d'Armes de Guerre. He also told us more about the car. Michael Hortig also added 'This particular car was discovered by Henry Malartre in southern France restored and moved into the Chateau of the Museumpark near Lyon. Later Malartre changed it with his longtime friend Mahy Gislain for a 1900 Noel Bennet Two-seater with four-wheel drive, cause both cars fit better in the hands of the other'

Not all answers were correct, as the car wasn't a Scania, nor was it a George Richard or a Brunn. Another question mark is the number of cars produced. Leon Mitchell said there were 100 produced, John Hughes was certain there were exactly 189 examples of this model produced and Luc Ryckaert said they built 100 cars with a 3,5hp engine and 280 in total. Fried Stol said the same thing about the total number as Luc did. As we don't know the exact number ourselves, we won't take this in our judgment.

As a lot of you had a correct and complete answer, we had a hard time choosing the winner. Finally, we decided that this week's winner is Fried Stol. He will receive the full 5 points for his answer: "FN started in 1886 as a company in armory, but when a few years later the German Lowe group took over the assembly of the Mauser rifles it was time to look for other means of business, e.g. bicycles followed by motorcars. The first car was designed by Italian J. de Cosmo it had an air-cooled 3.5 hp 2 cyl engine, a two-speed belt transmission, and final drive was by chain. This is a 1901 Tonneau with a water-cooled engine of 4.5 hp in that year 280 cars were built with illustrious names like Duc, Jardinière, Victoria and Wagonette."

Other good answers (and therefore will receive 3 points) came from: Alan Spencer, Michael Hortig, Robert Hafner, Gerd Klioba, Ace Zenek, Leon Mitchell, John Hughes, Neil Beadle, Luc Ryckaert and Henk Visscher.

Thank you all for your participation. All that rest us is to wish you a good weekend and the top 5.
1. Gerd Klioba - 39 points
2. Alan Spencer - 36 points
3. Henk Visscher - 32 points
4. Luc Ryckaert - 28 points
5. Fritz Hegemann - 27 points

Saturday, 23 December 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail

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