THE THORNLEY KELHAM PALACE

Time to go back to this year’s adventures, one of which was our visit to the VSCC’s Prescott Hillclimb last July. A couple of articles ago I showed you around in Keith Bowley’s Ashton Keynes Vintage Restorations workshops and garage. A most interesting restoration business with a fascinating time-warp machine shop. Directly after that wonderful visit I rushed with my dad to the next restoration workshop, Thornley Kelham Ltd. This was so cool, as a follow up after Bowley’s, because it is a completely opposite world… Going from old school to hyper modern… Continue reading

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AN EXPERIENCE NEVER TO FORGET! – 1

First of all my apologies for my radio silence, September is a busy month… You will get the Prescott report and all the other reports soon, but let’s first start with the latest rally I did in Italy and Switzerland.

Last Thursday we trailered Amillion for some 1000 km to the start of the Escapade Cyclecars et Grand Sport – Le Tessin et ses Vallées in Brig in the Rhone valley in Switzerland. After a glimpse of Molsheim and the famous Bugatti heritage, the first serious mountain pass that Amillion faced was the Grimsel Pass (2,164 m – 7,100 ft) and my reliable German Black Beauty did a great job pulling the red dandy across the pass. Of course there are many ways to Rome and we choose the Grimsel Pass to say hello to my dad’s fave Swiss Alps hotel, the idyllic hotel Baeren in Guttannen.

After a 10 hour drive it was time to meet new friends… This rally had been organized by the Swiss representation of the Cercle Pegase, the French Amilcar Club. A nice turnout of all kinds of cyclecars and light sports cars with around 40 equipes were ready to… Continue reading

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THIS IS WHAT A LEGENDARY WORKSHOP LOOKS LIKE! – 2

Preservation of cars whenever possible is what AKVR is striving for, of course all in close consultation with the customer. It is wonderful to see so many cars being preserved and the extreme craftsmanship that goes into this ‘artwork’. I think the most surprising fact of the visit was to discover that the mechanics crew also includes a young female mechanic, about as young as I am. So a young female petrol head can also be a mechanic at Keith’s workshop… and why not?

There was one car which was for me the most striking, a Riley. Between all those great cars I pick this Riley because it looked so special and so eccentric. It is to Keith a very special car, which he has owned for a very long time. The body looks very unusual, all aluminum with a light ocean blue chassis. There are some notable parts made on the body that are very clever but that remains… Continue reading

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THIS IS WHAT A LEGENDARY WORKSHOP LOOKS LIKE! – 1

Let’s finally start with the reports of some great visits my dad and I made in the UK. The main purpose of our trip was the Prescott hillclimb, and visiting our friends of the Bugatti Trust, but fortunately we had scheduled a number of other visits as well. However, before I report about all this, I like to briefly mention the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Best of Show winner. I was delighted to see a Lancia Astura Pininfarina cabriolet winning Best of Show this year, although I am a bit sad that neither a Delahaye or Chapron coachwork won the award, since it was the year of the Delahayes and Charpon bodied master pieces. The Lancia features that typical Pebble winner’s look, i.e. black all over with chrome wheels and chrome elements, just like last year’s winner and more than one of the years before.

Back to the UK… After a long drive, first to Calais and then via the Euro Tunnel train to Dover and then heading for Cheltenham, we had a very nice treat… 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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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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