CARS I HAVE FOREGONE – 1

It was 1987 when I came across the fabulous Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Pininfarina roadster seen in these photos. I had been given a lead that the car, which apparently belonged to a notary in Geraardsbergen in Belgium, was languishing in a garage and for sale at around 600,000 BF (just over 15,000 Euros!). However, when I finally got to see the car I was disappointed with its condition and I also didn’t quite like Pininfarina’s double headlamp design. So, I left the car where it was and forgot about it. Until many years later, when prices for the 6C 2500 SS with attractive coachwork soared. In 2011 I placed an enquiry on postwarclassic to see if anyone knew what had happened to the car subsequent to my visit in 1987. Strangely there was only one response, from a gentleman who said… Continue reading

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FROM BIEN HOA TO BALD MOUNTAIN – PART 2

Although the French word “carcasse” can be used to describe an automobile frame, “chassis” is far more common and one can only suspect that “carcasse” meant what it said –namely, a carcass. After 1950, the T-40 passed through several more hands before ending up with Cao van Tung who apparently had some notion of using its engine in a small ferryboat somewhere in the delta. Fortunately, this project never got beyond the stage of naval (sic) contemplation, and the Bugatti came to its penultimate resting place on a side street in the aforementioned city of Bien Hoa.

David brought the car to a garage in Saigon which is where I first saw it. Picture, if you will, in a dank corner of a fairly run-down establishment, this veritable carcass of a Bugatti. The unmistakeable radiator was flanked by the empty sockets of what once had been the headlights. The cycle fenders were dented, sagging, and badly rusted. The body shell was so porous in places that a finger could be put through by poking… Continue reading

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The 40 before restoration with David Mize’s 57

CAN INTERCLASSICS BEAT RETROMOBILE? – PART 2

Since we were now in the barn find corner, I spotted another ‘dans son jus’. This was again a very special experience, because I saw two different worlds… On the left we see a Porsche 356 AT2 in excellent condition, while on the right we see the true ‘dans son jus’ 356. This is something that impressed me, and what you don’t see very often. Most special cars in this show I saw double or even triple, and I was not stoned! I saw a discrete ‘dans son jus’ E-Type between the other well restored E-Types on the stand of E-Type Center Europe. The ‘dans son jus’ look is something I really appreciate, and I hope we all will continue preserving rather than restoring everything to the finest detail. Although some cars can handle that perfectly restored look very good… like for instance our Delahaye 135M Chapron convertible super star.

Just around the corner, I saw an unfinished Mercedes 190 SL, a super sexy car that caught my attention. In the same corner, I saw a 1958 Porsche 356 A Cabrio, which told my to mint (mint green…) my own business. Well, sometimes you also meet cars with a grumpy attitude… I wonder if you must first complete a study to become a Porsche expert, because… Continue reading

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CAN INTERCLASSICS BEAT RETROMOBILE? – PART 1

As promised, here is a report about Interclassics Maastricht. It was my first time visiting this “Premiere Classic Car Show of the Benelux”, and I did not expect all that much, since Retromobile really is the holy exhibition for my dad and me. Earlier on I wrote you a report of Interclassics Brussels, which is a nice exhibition, but it needs to mature, which is not unusual for such a young show… So there I was with my lovely dad, the most popular day, Friday. In the parking it seemed that there was quite a crowd accompanying us. While entering the arena, a DB5 and a DB4 welcomed us with a tempting wink. I was already in trance ; )

Divided in three spacious halls, there was a wide range of stands and cars. Obviously you see that post-war sports cars are high in demand, especially the famous classic Porches 911, of course. Classic sports cars continue to gain compared with for instance prewar cars, because the mid-aged generation is now able to purchase their dream poster car that was once hanging above their beds when they were a kid. Not many of them may have had a poster of a 1947 Alfa 6… Continue reading

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THE HAUNTED SALOON-PART 2

Oh my God, we have been discovered. Where is my wife? It took me minutes to recover, but it seemed ages… She was already talking to the apparently unfriendly guard with his dogs, explaining that we were not thieves and that we were advised to go into the yard by the nextdoor neighbour.

The yard attendant did not seem to be impressed at all by my wife’s story, but as he could clearly see my only tool was a camera, he let us escape. Phew…. That was an unpleasant experience.

Next year I decided to make my way back to Phill Passey’s yard to see what could be salvaged from the saloons. As usual on these sort of excursions, we took the trailer down as well.

On arriving at the yard we had no trouble finding the owner this time. We enquired about the MG SVW (SA, VA and WA models – Ed.) cars that we had seen in his yard in the past, but it seemed he couldn’t remember having any. “Ah”, he said, “You mean those large bangers?” And then: “we have had a fire, you see… Continue reading

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THE BARN FIND OF AN ATLANTA-PART 1

“An impressive story this is exiting till the end! As an Atalante myself, I love to read about one of my look-alike sisters ; )”

One day my father was called to make an appraisal for furniture and other pieces of art and as usual, I joined him. We arrived at a wonderful but faded Louis XVI style castle from the late 18th Century. As we entered the yard we were told that the client hadn’t arrived yet, which gave my father and me time to admire the wonderful small castle and two very nice period stone barns. The barns were closed by very heavy wooden doors. I did just what you expected me to do, I opened one of the doors to see what was hidden inside. As I looked into the dark barn, I saw a dusty and dirty car frame hanging on the wall. This frame looked familiar to me and I decided to inspect it more closely. My initial thought was that it looked very much like a Bugatti frame… Continue reading

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MYSTICAL BARN FIND DISCOVERY 

I must make a confession while it is still 2015. I found something hidden in a church, a church find! Who doesn’t dream about finding a sleeping beauty hidden under dust and behind broken windows. I know you are a barn find junk too, so I need your help. Who can tell me which car this is? I looked for hours at the photo, but I can’t discover what it is.

But let me first tell you a nice and exciting story which will give you so much adrenalin, like I felt that moment. I was doing a prep drive with a friend just before the 100 Miles of Amsterdam when the friend told me about a place he knew with a mass of barn finds… Continue reading 

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