SWISS COACHBUILDING MASTERS – 3

Walter Köng had a very interesting life. In fact he was more a designer than a coachbuilder. He began his career working for the famous Italian coachbuilders Cesare Sala in Milan. In 1927 he moved to Paris where he went to work for coachbuilder Louis Gallé. At the age of barely 20 he became their chief designer and was responsible for many of Gallé’s luxury bodies on expensive chassis. Among his designs was a wonderful Bugatti Type 38 Tourer, but sadly this one was never built. In the late 1920s Köng went to work for the Chrysler Corporation in the USA and later was employed by Packard as designer. He left Packard in 1935… Continue reading

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SWISS COACHBUILDING MASTERS – PART 2

Hermann Graber (1904-1970) is without doubt the most famous of all Swiss coachbuilders, and his personal style is easily recognizable in most of his designs. In 1924 he took over his father’s wheel making business, and quickly converted it for the production of car bodies. Graber creations soon became very sought after by clients who were fond of his style, mixing classical elegance with a sporty touch. He coachbuilt numerous great and prestigious chassis, such as Duesenbergs (he is one of the few who dared to cloth a roadster without the traditional Duesie‘s radiator shell), Packards, Hispano-Suizas, Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, Talbot-Lagos (sadly Graber rebodied a wonderful T150 SS „Teardrop“ by Figoni et Falaschi after the war as a roadster, and scrapped the magnificent original body) and Bugattis, of course. Graber Bugattis are in most cases… Continue reading

Prince Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, seen here in a picture which is believed not ever having been published before, so this might be a scoop for CRANKHANDLEBLOG!

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SWISS COACHBUILDING MASTERS – PART 1

When we think of Switzerland, most will immediately think of chocolate, watches, precision and tax evasion. But did you know that during the golden era of the automobile numerous talented coachbuilders were active in this mountainous and austere country? Swiss coachbuilders are of course not as famous as their French, German or English colleagues, but you will see that some of their creations are really worth taking a closer look at. And then you will realize that you may have already seen Swiss coachbuilt cars before, without even having noticed. Many prestigious chassis such as Duesenberg, Isotta Fraschini, Bentley and Alfa Romeo have been clothed by Swiss craftsmen, but let’s focus on Bugatti in particular… Continue reading

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HOW MUCH CASH IN OLD SOCKS ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

A number of articles ago, CHB presented a special one-off concept car for those who still have hidden socks with cash. On December 10th RM Sotheby’s held their NYC Driven by Disruption auction. Our NYC correspondent Walter Jamieson was present and noted down for you the hammer prices of his favorites, which he dealt with in a previous article about great dashboards.

The following prices are… Continue reading

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TWO YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING FAME IN PARIS

I expect not many CHB readers will know today’s coachbuilder, Hibbard et Darrin, contrary to others like Chapron, Saoutchik, Figoni, etc. So let’s put Hibbard et Darrin in the spotlight! As I am trying to gain more knowledge myself as well, I got the idea to feature these great artists thanks to a magnificent Hispano-Suiza of a friend of my dad. It won Best of Show last year at the Concours d’Elégance Palace Het Loo in the Netherlands and went on to win the coveted Ullman Trophy at Pebble Beach this year. Since then this Hispano-Suiza belongs to the cars that are special to me, so let’s dig into the history of the men who were responsible for such fantastic coachwork and of course also Paris-based, as many famous coachbuilders of the era were!

Though based in Paris, this company was run by two Americans, and counted among its clients many Americans visiting or resident in France. Thomas L. Hibbard (1899-1982) from Brooklyn, New York had set his… Continue reading http://crankhandleblog.com

HIGH CLASS FROM VANVOOREN

As we continue with the Parisian coachbuilders, today is the turn for Vanvooren who was located with his workshop in the north-western Parisian suburb of Courbevoie. This coachbuilder was one who built on high class chassis like Hispano-Suiza, Bugatti, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Delahaye and Delage. A great example of one of his creations is the 1939 Bugatti 57C Atalante that won an award at Chantilly. Vanvooren is best known for his work from the 1930s on those grandiose chassis of the era, but the company had already been active from 1910 and persisted until 1950. Vanvoorens style could be described as advanced with a conservative elegance, combined with very high standards.

Achille Vanvooren did good business with those expensive marques… Continue readinghttp://crankhandleblog.com

AMBITIOUS ART DECO ARTIST JACQUES SAOUTCHIK 

This week I didn’t succeed in presenting as many coachbuilders as I had planned to, but after Chantilly next weekend I will make it up and continue with some grandiose coachbuilding legends from Paris!

The master coachbuilder of today’s article is Jacques Saoutchik (1880-1957), who was based in Paris, but his history goes back to the Russian Empire near Minsk. There he was born in a Ukranian-Jewish family as Iakoc Saoutchick.

Saoutchik left his fatherland in 1899 and moved to Paris, where he started a career in the furniture business. As a cabinet-maker he went into… Continue readinghttp://crankhandleblog.com

HENRI CHAPRON, THE VANGUARD AMONG THE GREAT FRENCH COACHBUILDERS!

The next couple of days CHB will be dedicated to some great Parisian coachbuilders, kicking-off with Henri Chapron! Of course… because we have two Delahayes with Chapron coachwork.

Henri Chapron is definitely a big name when talking about prominent French coachbuilders. His influence can be detected in nearly every custom-built French body from 1935 to 1955, regardless of the house by which it was designed and built. His designs are sober as well as elegant, in an outstanding way. His identity could be described as vanguard, never ahead of his time.

Let’s first take a look at where it all started, how he developed into this profession and how his style and his business evolved… Continue readinghttp://crankhandleblog.com