Finally the great day had arrived. On Sunday the endeavour began seriously, as my friend and I were cleaning his Hispano before the judges started their work. I was looking at these wonderful cars gathered in the yard of the Coppet Castle, one of the most significant Swiss castles. More than fifty automobiles were participating in this event, divided into twelve classes, defined by Chief Judge Adolfo Orsi and Honorary and Chief Judge Ed Gilbertson, the great Ferrari expert. Twelve prizes plus five special ones, such as Best Line Award, Miura’s 50th Anniversary prize, etc., were going to be… Continue reading
The sight of all these automotive jewels coming from the past, with the beautiful XVIIIth century castle as a backdrop, was incredible. I allowed myself to have a nice walk among all these beauties, admiring their wonderful shapes handcrafted by the best craftsmen from the 1930-1960 era. The Pourtout bodied Talbot Lago was so sporty and elegant and at the same time la crème de la crème of Pourtout styling, while the unusual Thrupp & Maberly bodied Hispano H6C was looking perfect in all aspects.
A bit further there was a Swiss UFO, a 1920 PIC PIC R2 which has retained its original Parisian torpedo body. This car is powered by a patented sleeve valve engine and fitted with a 14 disc clutch (yes 14!), anyway it’s exotic specifications is too complex to cite here. Next to the Pic Pic, Jaap Braam Ruben‘s early… Continue reading
A while ago the organizer of the Swiss Concours d’Elegance, Mathias Doutreleau, contacted me (thanks to Rosemarijn Atalante) to ask if I was interested to become part of the organizing staff of his new Concours, as a contributor as well as Master of Ceremony. What a great honor, being part of such an important event and furthermore being among so many famous connoisseurs. It was like a dream come true.
Mathias Doutreleau is really a very enthusiastic and dynamic organizer. Many people know him as member of staff of very important concours and race meetings, such as the Quail Lodge, Le Tour de France Automobile and many others. He immediately saw great potential for his Geneva event. With the help of many important sponsors, such as Zenith watches, Watchonista and Rolls-Royce, this first edition of the Swiss Concours d’Elegance was surely to become a success…. Continue reading
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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!
How does a young (female) car fanatic achieve her goal of chasing the “classic” of her dreams? I’ll gladly take you on my journey to achieve this and the outcome.
Nice meeting you, I am Rose Atalante Veenenbos from CRANKHANDLEBLOG, the author of this article. The editors of the Louwman Museum newsletter had asked me to put the events of my quest for a vintage/classic car on paper. Perhaps a bit unusual as a young woman, but this gives the story a nice twist.
If you want to get hold of a classic or vintage car, a detailed plan is required, much more than with a modern car. Elements of such a plan are the following… Continue reading
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
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
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
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
Some 3700 kms later (last week)… Excuse-moi, I had a very busy week with all those FANTASTIC events, so forgive me that I didn’t publish as much as I used to… Lets get back to business, get ready for some nice reports!
The other GREAT surprise I have in store for you (after the Frederiksen auction) is the invitation to the Strøjer Museum by Jørgen Strøjer! First of all this was a VERY pleasant surprise for me as I was incredibly happy to get to know the new owner of the Hispano-Suiza H6C Kellner cabriolet de ville that is so special to me. I always say that things work out as they should… Continue reading
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
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 reading
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 reading
Yeshwantrao 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
First 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
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.
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
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!
Click here for more pics of Alwar 2, taken earlier in its life (before 1981) when still more complete!See more CHB pics by clicking this button!
Sadly no great adventures to be found about this special Daimler, but the photos have enough to tell! WOW, what a car! I think the Maharaja of Rewa must have been quite a frivolous man that he needed a mirror this big!
The Barker-bodied all-weather tourer weighed a whopping six tons with all its nickel and silver! The maharaja of Rewa used the car for shikar (hunting, especially tigers) expeditions. The very rare Daimler has (present time, because the car still exists, although not in India anymore) a custom nickel and silver plated body with cobra-shaped horns and a massive hood ornament. One of the… Continue reading
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.
With 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
Most of the glorious coachbuilders we can remember have disappeared, but Pininfarina is of course still very much alive (sadly not literally, because big boss Battista Farina as well as his son Sergio aren’t there anymore)! We know Pininfarina for its magnificent classic designs and the Italian design house continues to come up with highly refined designs, like for instance the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé, also thanks to their expensive windtunnel and R&D that I briefly discussed in the intro.Carrozzeria Pininfarina is an independent Italian car design house and coachbuilder in Cambiano, Italy. It was founded by Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina in 1930. A fun little fact about the name ‘Pinin’ is that… Continue reading
This article is an add-on to ‘GO WITH THE AIR-FLOW, THE AERODYNAMICS OF A ZEPPELIN…’
Some time ago I found 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