SOME MORE CONCOURS DANDIES

I have showed you the muddy part, so now we head over to the luxurious part of het Loo, the iconic palace were most jewels were parked. I think next time the awards ceremony should be here again instead of the stage on the muddy field. My walk around the Palace was at the end of the concours, so thats why is looks a bit abandoned with not all cars present anymore… Look at that De Tomaso, 2000GT, Regal Underslung Racer, Daytona prototype, Bentley 3 liter and Amilcar with a secret under the hood… It has… 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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A PLAYBOY MANSION FULL OF BENTLEYS AND A MYSTERIOUS MURDER – PART 2

Barney Barnato brought his three nephews Jack, Woolf and Solly Joel into the business, but this may have lead to his death…

With that said, Barney becomes even more interesting when looking at his death in 1897. At the time Woolf was only one or two years old. The death of Woolf’s dad has been verdicted as suicide, but rumors went around that it was actually a murder because of some mysterious circumstances… The waters between South-Africa and Londen are the only ones which know if Barney drowned himself, or if someone else pushed him overboard. This accident happened when Barney, his wife and three children, of which Woolf was one, were on their way to the England for a holiday in their fatherland. Beside his family, nephew Solly also journeyed with them. One of the rumors is that Barney was on deck with Solly and that they were arguing… Did Solly push Barney, or was he trying to stop Barney from jumping? Did Solly have a motive to commit a murder? Personally I don’t think it was suicide, because two other things might suggest that it was a murder committed by one of Barney’s heirs, Solly…

First of all Barney’s other nephew, Woolf Joel, was shot and killed a year later his business offices in Johannesburg by a blackmailer. Secondly… Continue reading

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A PLAYBOY MANSION FULL OF BENTLEYS AND A MYSTERIOUS MURDER – PART 1

After yesterday’s introduction of the Blue Train races, we continue today with the life of the most famous Bentley Boy. The bespoke playboy Woolf ‘Babe’ Barnato (1895-1948) was a British financier, like his dad, but most of all a daring racing driver of the 1920s. His life consisted of sex, drugs and cocktails with a lot of roaring Bentley engines and exhaust fumes.

Why you should never ever have gotten into one of his daily cars? Well, those were blinded with curtains. You probably already know now what the reason was that his cars really were a playboy mansion on wheels… Next to his image of being a Woolf, he was a true star in the automotive and racing world. He won three times the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a row, and of course also the Blue Train victory in his Bentley Speed Six with body by H.J. Mulliner.

To start at the beginning though, there was a most interesting family history behind this man. Our protagonist was… Continue reading

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SPEED, RECORDS, FINE AUTOMOBILES, A PLAYBOY AND ALL THIS IN A BLUE ENVIRONMENT… – AN INTRO

One of the things we petrol heads like is speed and this is something that gave us so many great stories thru history. The Land Speed Records are one amazing example, but the Blue Train Races were most exiting races as well. So let’s get back to these glorious races, with first some blues to end up later in a crazy world full of sex, drugs and cocktails, the life of one of the most famous  playboys as well as an important man in Bentley history.

But first the blues. Back in history there were supercars just like we see today and as we petrol heads are a bit crazy, we come up with great and crazy ideas. One of these ideas was The Blue Train race. A series of record-breaking attempts between automobiles and trains in the late 1920s and early 1930s. I am not sure if there are people still holding such races today, but sadly times have changed and it would be impossible to beat a high speed train nowadays, unless you… 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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THE 100 MILES OF AMSTERDAM, DITCH DANGER… – PART 2

As we drove over some typically Dutch dykes, without any light (the headlights were ‘a bit’ weak), we almost hit the water when falling half into a ditch! Well, okay that might be a bit exaggerated… Those narrow dyke roads were the best ones, but also the most difficult as we drove into some black holes full of surprising bends.

After many spooky dykes there was a checkpoint in the famous walhalla for shopaholics, the Chopard store (sponsor of the 100MOA) in the PC Hoofdstraat in Amsterdam. As I am not addicted to shopping we raced down the luxury street, off to more of the city centre and some more spookiness… Continue reading

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THE 100 MILES OF AMSTERDAM, DITCH DANGER… – PART 1

Driving 100 miles thru Amsterdam and surroundings at midnight with an out of date roadbook (on purpose)… can it get any better? Most of us petrol heads will probably have the Mille Miglia on their bucket list, if not already completed! Please add this 100MOA rally to your list as well, it is something you just have to experience once or more in your lifetime.

Last Sunday/Monday was THE day! And I can ensure you it isn’t about chilling in the sun… Although it was not cold at all and no snow whatsoever, YEAH! I was probably one of the few who was happy with a normal view without white flakes all over.

Sadly Amillion, my Amilcar CGS, wasn’t ready yet to perform, so I had to… Continue reading

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AN UNEXPECTED 8C ADVENTURE THANKS TO FB…

My dad always tells me to plan and organize or prep a bit more, not really my kind of thing… The best days are when I get in my car unprepared to experience some great adventures! To name some very nice examples, I went to Denmark on my own, to join that great Bonhams auction of the Frederiksen collection. You can read those reports by clicking here for part 1, or here for part 2. Unexpectedly I left for Denmark, without any plan but getting to the auction in time. Where to stay? Just see how it goes, no commitments, just total freedom and fun. This adventure crossed my path thanks to a great friend who knows a lot about the fine art of Saoutchik and Figoni & Falaschi. That reminds me, I still need to write that article about Figoni… Expert Peter Larsen and his companion Ben Eriksen invited me to come to the action and that is what makes this blog so rewarding, these unexpected encounters! Peter Larsen is author of a number of magnificent books, so make sure to check them out via the Dalton Watson site.

The second example of a great day was when I… Continue reading

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THE SPORT OF SHIKAR, AT YOUR SERVICE YOUR HIGHNESS!

http://crankhandleblog.comIf you heave read the previous ‘Maharaja’ articles, you may have noticed the term shikar several times. Before Independence in 1947, the Indian Royalty had an exclusive privilege for hunting, known as the sport of shikar. As a vegan quite sad to write about those shikar expeditions where many of those beautiful and now very rare (Bengal) tigers were killed. Anyhow, some very fine shikar vehicles were involved with this ‘sport’! It was a way of sharpening the senses, keeping the reflexes up to date and being active. The Maharajas needed to be prepared for war at all times… Continue reading

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

WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU HAD TOO MUCH MONEY IN THE BANK?

This week we dive into a world full of decadence and madness with the new theme ‘Maharaja automobiles’! Get ready for some real crazy stories where money is immaterial! It is all about the Indian Princes, many of whom were Maharajas, but also other titles, about which you can read below.

http://crankhandleblog.comWith this introduction article I will attempt to briefly explain the culture of this ‘princely’ world. Until Independence in 1947 (when India was freed of British governance), two-fifths of the Indian sub-continent comprised over 565 Princely States, ruled by Maharajas, Rajas, Ranas, Jams, Nawabs, Mirs and one Nizam. This Nizam was once considered… 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