PREWAR WALHALLA HETZBERGER GALLERY

The upload issue is solved, so here are some more pix as I promised. Computers are a bit like cars, just never give up. There is always a solution if you are patient enough and think logically… Continue to see more pix

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PREWAR WALHALLA AT THE HETZBERGER TROPHY

You may never have heard of this event before. The Hertzberger Trophy is a very discreet Dutch event for a specially selected group of owners of amazing prewar cars. This is a 2-day rally with tour and sports class. The participants are battling for the Hertzberger trophy, which is a brons sculpture. Another prize was a nice limited edition watch made by jewelers Schaap – Citroen from Amsterdam and designed by Van der Klaauw from Friesland. The rally goes from one historic estate to the other, while making sure the drivers and especially their navigators are put to the test to follow the rules, which is of course not made easy!

This year’s Hertzberger Trophy was the third edition and since this is a young event, the zest is increasing each year. A prestige event with 45 dream cars and many interesting participants. It all started with Eddie Hertzberger himself. Eddie was a Dutch race driver and the first and only GP winner until… Continue reading

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CAPTURING THE TRUE TECHNIQUE

As the development of the successful Hispano-Suiza automobile engines has a direct and strong link with the aircraft sector, it must be clear that Hispano car engines are not just some cute machines. As often as we speak about the master pieces of Ettore Bugatti, I don’t hear many people saying that they admire the master pieces of Marc Birkigt. By showing you plenty of his wonderful technical genius, I hope to gain more respect for his amazing automobiles with their beautifully designed engines. Where others developed their cars often thru trial and error, Birkigt was capable of developing successful products right on the drawing board.

The beauty of Hispano engines is that they are made with only what it really takes to build a great engine, although this is not making the restoration process easy at all. Every Hispano is unique, which means that you cannot… Continue reading

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BACK TO THE HISSO CANDYSHOP!

As you know this is my ultimate place to spend hours and admire all things surrounding me. The place to be for a girl with a Hispano obsession. Just like in the past I used to drive 40 km to admire my horse, I now drive some 630 km to admire our Hispano and all its sisters of course. Great trips I do with my dad in one day (1260 km). Nothing better then driving all day and setting another record in traveling time and then ending up in a world that is like magic. I think I will just show you a nice slideshow again, since I am short of words to describe all there was to admire. When you look thru the slideshow you will even find two J12 engines, one is the more usual 9.4 liter and the other a 11.3 liter! This larger J12 engine is a very uncommon and rare one that was also used to drive trains.

Since the owner, and best Hisso mechanic in the world, is a great friend and also an addicted… Continue reading 

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SERIOUS BUSINESS AT TECHNO CLASSICA ESSEN – 4

Hello, I am your host for today, and may I present you my next tour around Essen’s treasures. When I was walking between those irresistible automobiles, I found my next holiday location, Osnabrück! This might sound not so exotic, but I found out that it actually is… This is why: a Porsche 904 GTS, Maserati Mistral, Horch 853, Jaguar D-Type, the streamlined Fiat Abarth 1000 Pininfarina Record car and many more from tropical Osnabrück.

The great thing about exhibitions, concours and most of the auctions, especially if I go there with my dad, is that I learn so much. After such an event I realize that I have discovered so many new icons of automobiles and many other exciting cars. Perhaps you forgot, but it was only one year ago when… Continue reading

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THE STOLEN USTINOV HISPANO – 2

Sadly the car was stolen sometime in the 1980’s. Peter Ustinov hired the best private detectives to trace his beloved car, which was a bit funny since he performed the famous detective Hercule Poirot so many times himself. Unfortunately all this was to no avail and it wasn’t until many years later that the car resurfaced. Ustinov hired a lawyer to get his car back from its new owner. Alas for him the court decided that the car had been bought in good faith. Demoralized the actor said: “The outcome was predictable. Napoleon rewrote a French law to justify his own thefts and the French don’t like anyone other than Frenchmen owning the best car they ever made.”

Maybe he found comfort in owning his equally good H6C Vanvooren «faux cabriolet », but Ustinov’s love affair with prewar rolling marvels didn‘t stop there… Continue reading

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THE STOLEN USTINOV HISPANO – 1

Everybody will very well remember Peter Ustinov, the unforgettable interpreter of Nero in “Quo Vadis”, the actor who performed so perfectly Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s legendary detective. But Peter Ustinov was much more than an actor; he was a great humorist, a novelist, and a true car enthusiast. A man who had been dreaming of cars all his life, and who spent so much time, as well as money, to satisfy his passion.

In his last interview Sir Peter (he had been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1990), said: “[…] there was no one yet qualified to exorcise an internal combustion engine from a small boy. I know to this day precisely what make of car I was, an Amilcar… Continue reading

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TECHNO CLASSICA ‘BEST OF SHOW’

As promised, I will reveal my ‘Best of Show’ of this year’s Techno Classica, Essen. I must say there were several cars that stole my heart, but only one could be the winner.

When I walked up to this incredible speed-machine, I was so impressed that I entered another world. Already from a distance I knew that this was for me THE highlight of the entire show. This 1925 short chassis Hispano-Suiza 8 liter, with factory Boulogne racing body, is just awesome, to paraphrase an American onlooker. Hispano’s are known for their super clean design and outstanding quality, thanks to Marc Birkigt, and like one of my ultimate idols said… Continue reading

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HISPANO-SUIZA HEAVEN ON EARTH – PART 2

Some more from behind the Hisso scenes, note our flying Venenbos (Veenenbos the French way) Dutchman from down under… And a little quiz for you: find the black sheep of the workshop as it is quite unusual in Hisso heaven.

Tomorrow I will return to heaven, since I miss it so much already, so more to come in the following parts! I mean loads to come, also from the master mechanic himself! Click here for the Hisso gallery.

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HISPANO-SUIZA HEAVEN ON EARTH – PART 1

I made you a nice photo report of the ultimate Hisso heaven, the place to be in the world when talking about Hispano-Suiza, and you can have a look inside behind the scenes. Sit back and relax, there are no more words needed for this… Click here to see the full Hisso gallery!

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BACK FROM PARIS! – PART 1

An event to look forward to all year is the Parisian super exhibition Retromobile. Even though Retro is not as huge as Techno Classica in Essen, the variety of cars is better and, the quality is definitely as good and the atmosphere is just incredible. When entering the hall of fame, it is hard to decide where to start! There is so much to see and of course so many great people to meet.

I had some fantastic days, and will make you a list of the highlights. Four days were not enough to complete my whole to-do-list and I obviously forgot to… Continue reading

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ITALIAN PASSION BRUSSELS

Italian Passion means nothing less than fierce classics. The stallions are resting and behaving well, but somehow you see how badly they want to hit the road again to roar loudly and catch every car in front of them. There was one holy bull featured and it was such an honor to meet a machine like the…

Some of you have already been waiting for this report, so here it is: the report of the Italian Passion exhibition in Auto World Brussels. This event runs from 3 December to 31 Januari and at the same time you can see the standard collection of Auto World, which has the best of Belgian marques on show. All great, but… Continue reading

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LOUWMAN WILL TELL YOU HOW TO PURCHASE A DREAM AUTOMOBILE! – PART 2 

All of this made a great time journey, BUT the real deal started for me when I stepped into the world of the finest of the finest. Before I did, accidentally, I grew like a giant after drinking something from a little bottle. I wasn’t able to get out of the Spyker hall with the wonderful aircraft, which was not a bad place at all to hang around. Luckily I remembered from Alice in Wonderland that I I had to eat some cake in order to get back to normal size. I was now smaller as before, especially when staring at those great historic heroes…

Next I ended up at the section of race icons and wonderful vintage and classic supercars. I listened with interest to some great stories about these heroic automobiles, told by… Continue reading

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POTW–LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGTHER

Let me first wish you a HNY, now that we are in 2016! Today I like to share with you a photo I absolutely love… why? It shows a Hispano-Suiza, an Amilcar and a fierce racer which could perhaps be a Mors? This year I will definitely be on the road in a number of rallies with Amillion (my Amilcar CGS), but there is one more thing I wish for this year. I hope my dad will accompany me in his, hopefully finally completed, Hispano ‘Grand Sport’, so that we can both have fun in our prewar beasts, one of which is a small beast ; ) Hispano Senior and Amilcar Junior, or as Simon, one of CHB’s writers told me, Hispano the elder and Amilcar the younger. These terms are used in the art world and as I call vintage and classic cars art as well, the elder and the younger it is! Or as we say in Dutch, like father, like daughter (although it would usually be son instead of daughter, obviously…).

Also a good moment to show my appreciation for my parents for giving me this most incredible name Atalante, and for my dad for passing on this great automotive passion, which is FORMIDABLE! To come back to a question raised by Simon, my dad started at young age with… Continue reading

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HISPANO WITH AMAZING DUTCH HISTORY

This 8-litre Hispano-Suiza of 1929, with coachwork by Saoutchik, was ordered new by a Dutch gentleman by the name of Mr. Thurkow. He lived in The Hague, on Plein 1813 number 1, and here is the amazing story of his car as The Netherlands was invaded by the Nazi forces in 1940.

Apparently Mr. Thurkow’s chauffeur, an ardent German nationalist, had favored him buying a Maybach, but Mr. Thurkow was bent upon proving that Germany had no monopoly on motoring excellence.

Then Hitler came to power and the chauffeur became an avid Nazi sympathizer. After the invasion of The Netherlands in May 1940, the German occupying forces requisitioned all large and fast automobiles and the, by now former, chauffeur wanted to take revenge… Continue reading

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THE BEST BOND CAR EVER, OR JUST A COINCIDENCE?

I have never missed a Bond movie, if only because of the fierce cars that are acting so well. In addition to the explosions and many gunshots, the real thrills are the chases.

When it comes to choosing your fave Bond car, most of us will say the DB5. Some will go for the one-off Toyota 2000GT Spyder. Most youngsters definitely fell in love with the DBS, but very few will answer that the best Bond car ever was a… Hispano-Suiza! Something that… Continue reading

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UPDATE ON MY APPRENTICESHIP

As promised, I will keep you posted about my apprenticeship at ERK. I must admit, every day this work gets more and more fun! We even have a barn find section in the garage, just to relate to yesterday’s article… ; ) The diversity of cars that come in is large, pre- or postwar, patinated like a Brescia, finely restored like a Hispano H6C (the gorgeous H6C with Kellner coachwork shown below is mostly restored by ERK, also the special Chromos bumpers), or sporty like a Lambo GT400, all great to work on.

A job I really enjoyed, was installing the overhaul sets of the 6-double Weber carburetors for the Lambo GT400 V12. When assembling 6-double Webers you soon find out how they are put together and what every part means for the function of the carburetor – fascinating. With an excellent manual, which had every part numbered, it was almost as simple as assembling an Ikea closet… ; ) While dong the job… 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

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

GRANDIOSE PEBBLE BEACH CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE 2015

Miura has to wait another day, because today the results of the Pebble Beach Concours are revealed! So, sit back and enjoy!

The weather was fine, the people were great and of course the cars, or better say automobiles, were grandiose… as always! The judges have chosen their Best of Show, Best of Show Nominees, Most Elegant Awards Winners, Special Awards Winners and Class Winners.

Best of Show this year was again one of those great European marques from the past, Isotta Fraschini, with the grand 1924 Tipo 8A with coachwork by F. Ramseier & Cie of Worblaufen, Switzerland.

When this automobile was sold at the Artcurial auction at Retromobile in February 2014 and bought by parties which included Rob Myers, chairman and founder of RM, it was obvious that… Continue readinghttp://crankhandleblog.com

THE ART DECO LOVING DANDY MAHARAJA YESHWANTRAO HOLKAR II OF INDORE – PART 2

http://crankhandleblog.comYeshwantrao had a deep understanding of the automobile. He knew exactly which car to buy, how the car’s lines should flow and how the body was to be fabricated. Unlike his dad he was a true patrol head who knew almost how to build a car by himself.

Every car that Yeshwantrao owned had the ‘Holkar Hallmark’ – an outstanding sense of design and proportion with individually designed interiors. Attention was paid to every single detail of the car and even the door handles were specially designed with Art Deco motifs. Correction, a true perfectionist patrol head!

His cars were all painted in sunglow and black and had black ebony dashboards with orange dials and white lettering. The cars were famed by… Continue reading

THE ART DECO LOVING DANDY MAHARAJA YESHWANTRAO HOLKAR II OF INDORE – PART 1

http://crankhandleblog.comFirst some background! Maharaja Tukojirao Holkar III (1890-1978) ruled the Princely State of Indore (9,519 square miles with 19 gun salutes) from 1903 to 1926. He was already quite an unconventional Maharaja and one of the first in Central India who, around 1906, acquired an automobile! He always purchased (lots of) cars for a reason… for some kind of a utilitarian purpose. He was just more of a practical collector than a petrol head.

Now about that futuristic master dandy, which he really was… Continue reading

BIG SPENDER HIS HIGHNESS SIR JAI SINGH THE MAHARAJA OF ALWAR

Colonel HH Raj Rishi Shri Sawai Maharaja Sir Jai Singhji Veerendra Shiromani Dev Bharat Prabhakar Bahadur of Alwar, was quite a striking Maharaja with some really crazy stories (the one of the Rolls garbage vans is the most bizarre story I have ever heard)! If you have read the previous articles you already know something about this brilliant and eccentric Indian Prince.

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Jai Singh (1882-1937) succeeded his father in 1892 and ruled Alwar until 1933. He came on the throne of Alwar when he was quite young, only 10 years old! Initially he reigned the 3,213 square mile state of Alwar in Rajasthan under the control of a Regency, until he was able to carry the full ruling powers in 1903.

There were quite some rumors around Maharaja Jai Singh, some had a hint of truth, others were mere figments of the imagination… Continue reading

POTW – A TRUE HISPANO-SUIZA PALACE FIND!

Alwar 2, the long wheelbase Hispano-Suiza eight-liter (H6C, chassis 11744), showing pure Indian Royal history. This pic of the ceremonial 1926 Hispano was taken around 1994 in the courtyard of one of the Alwar palaces. As you can see, by this time it was bereaved of its wheels and all its typical Alwar ornaments. Behind languishes Alwar 1, the extended Lanchester chassis, with its unusual landau coach (the Lanchester is also mentioned in yesterday’s article ‘THE INDIAN LANCHESTER CAR HYPE’).

Today Alwar 2 still exists in this stunning unrestored condition at the palace of Alwar! Some people will spend a fortune to patinate their car to get this kind of patina!

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AERODYNAMICS ADD-ON, THE MIGHTY HISPANO-SUIZA BLOWER!

This article is an add-on to ‘GO WITH THE AIR-FLOW, THE AERODYNAMICS OF A ZEPPELIN…’

Some time ago I fhttp://crankhandleblog.comound photo’s of the Hispano-Suiza windtunnel – the so-called ’Soufflerie’ – at Bois-Colombes, a suburb of Paris. This week is a good moment to publish an article about this subject as an add-on to the aerodynamics article of last weekend!

The mighty Hispano-Suiza blower building in Bois-Colombes was built in 1936-1937 to test aircraft engines. This French “Heritage of the twentieth century” is a unique witness to the time when the aviation industry was booming… Continue reading

THE DANISH TREASURE, SPEECHLESS!

After Artcurial’s auction of the wrecks from the Baillon collection last February, Bonhams will sell end September the incredible collection of 48 cars from the Frederiksen collection. This time not a heavily neglected collection, but a ‘PERFECT’ one, with emphasis on perfect!
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Watching the video it seems that Henrik is not entirely sure about his decision… He literally said this when he saw his collection for the very first time lined up outside his wonderful property; “So maybe I should cancel it, to sell, because… Continue reading