WITH TWO TO ZELL AM SEE – PART 2

About a year later I was with the jolly group of Bugatti friends who I have already mentioned in my article titled “The incredible unknown Atalante barn find”.

A new member who I had not met before was there and he told me that he had acquired a quite stunning T57 Stelvio (the convertible model) about a year earlier. He then went on to tell that, since he was dealing in natural stones, he often stayed in the south east of Austria. One lonely evening, while having a drink in the hotel bar, the barkeeper told him that there was a Bugatti in the basement of the hotel, which had been sitting there for many years. Being a small collector himself, I believe he had a Peugeot of some sort at that time, he showed interest in seeing the car. It must have blown his minds when he made his way into the basement and finding the forlorn Bugatti there.

He managed to strike a deal and brought the Stelvio home in the back of one of his heavy dump trucks in which he normally transported his natural stones.

An intriguing story, but now comes the best part… Continue reading

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WITH TWO TO ZELL AM SEE – PART 1

This was the title of a most entertaining series of articles published in the very thin and poorly printed, as well as poorly illustrated, Dutch magazine Motor during WW2.The Dutch language version of the title was much better, i.e. “Met z’n twee naar Zell am See”, with See rhyming with twee.

The series related the story of two Dutch motorcycle friends who, shortly before war broke out, had made a holiday trip on their motorcycles to Zell am See in Austria. Zell am See is located in the Salzburgerland, about halfway between Salzburg and Innsbruck.

In the early seventies I was living in a student’s house on a canal in the center of the old city of Delft and I clearly remember the day when one of my housemates brought home a small pile of De Motor magazines that had been given to him by an uncle. Of course I had to take a look and I was stupefied by a small picture, showing the two motorcycle friends in the company of a smashing Bugatti T57S roadster… Continue reading

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THE ANTI BARN FIND RANT – PART 2

This is not to say genuine discoveries cannot be made, we know of many many cars that disappeared, and periodically they reappear, for example Wayne Carini’s Stutz discovery. But look at what he did with the car, replaced a few key components, took it to Pebble Beach and kept it. (It should be noted that even that Stutz was known to people, but the owner had held off selling) Those of us who live in rural areas see many old neglected barns with potential treasures inside, but the car magazines and auction companies are not talking about this.

Going back to the Baillon Ferrari, or indeed any of the cars from that collection, those that can be restored should be. The Ferrari has many incorrect later modifications, the engine and chassis should be completely restored mechanically, replacing old fuel lines and wiring etc. At Retromobile this year a restoration shop proudly displayed a Baillon Talbot they are rebuilding. This will show us… Continue reading

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THE ANTI BARN FIND RANT – PART 1

More and more we see cars being presented in scruffy, patinated condition. Whether because they were dragged out of cold storage that way or ‘restored’ that way. Regardless of the authenticity of the condition, these cars are being made ever more popular and more valuable, largely as a result of the auction companies selling them and the automotive press looking for the next big find.

This push for what I call authentic decay is reaching extreme levels. Case in point, the new owner of the Baillon/Delon Ferrari does not allow it to be driven more than 35 mph to keep the dust from flying off. Dust that accumulated in a Paris garage, not on the estate. The dent in the boot lid is from someone storing magazines, not from an incident during a… 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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FROM BIEN HOA TO BALD MOUNTAIN – PART 4

Other gear came in from Bart Loyens, the Amsterdam stockist, including a correct steering wheel and the lovely Marchal headlamps. “New” brake drums came variously from a friend in Massachusetts and another in Colorado. The latter wouldn’t release his pair until I had arranged for another set for his car to be shipped from England. All this took a bit of doing, but it was fun, also.

The main problem now was that the Bugatti never seemed to get finished, so I finally persuaded Russ Sceli to take it on as one of his projects for 1971. In the fifties, Russ had operated one of the first foreign car dealer-ships in Hartford, and had restored several Bugattis of his own before retiring to the quiet of his hilltop retreat in Canton, Connecticut. Here, he would take on one car at a time in his meticulous garage–! was glad to have the T-40 in his care. Russ took everything apart, and… Continue reading

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In Piazzo san Marco, with a happy driver

 

 

FROM BIEN HOA TO BALD MOUNTAIN – PART 3

While the Jean Comte crew were working away on the body proper, I busied myself trying to learn what a correct T-40 Bugatti really looked like, what sort of instruments were needed, and a million other essential details. Letters went out to various information sources in England and America, and bit by bit some information came back. A brand new Rene Thomas steering wheel turned up in a local Chinese general store; the Jean Comte machine shop was making up carefully copied parts from unsalvageable originals; and when I heard there was a group of vintage enthusiasts in Singapore, I hied myself down there for a look. It was great fun, and I met some wonderful people who were enormously helpful. I even found two Bugattis in my prowling, but they were the property of a terribly keen Chinese race driver and, at that time, were not for sale􀀕 This man’s house was crammed from floor to ceiling with the most amazing collection of parts I had ever seen, and before leaving… Continue reading

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In Saigon, after the restoration

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

FROM BIEN HOA TO BALD MOUNTAIN – PART 1

Stopping my Bugatti in a public place these days frequently brings forth the awful probe, “what’s it worth?” I never know quite how to reply, and usually try to duck the question. It’s not because I’m particularly shy; rather, I am ever appalled by what the traders and general inflation have done to vintage car values. You see, it gives me no real pleasure to know that my car is supposed to be too valuable to use on public roads, run in competitive events, or be parked in front of the IGA–all of which I very much like to do. I prefer to remember that I got the Bugatti for $150, and this is the story of how that came to pass.

In 1956 I was assigned to the American Embassy in Saigon, which, during my tour of duty there, was a pleasant and peaceful city. Soon after my arrival, I met David Mize. David had preceded me by about a year, during which he had managed to find not one but two Bugattis… Continue reading

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As found on a side street in Vietnam

 

BONHAM’S INVISIBLE RUNWAY – PART 2

Let’s first finish the older selection with the Edwardians. How are those vehicles doing in the current market, and how wanted were they in the Grand Palais?

The 1914 Renault 22CV Type EE Limousine with coachwork by Letourneur et Marchand did not go for €180,000 – 240,000. That same year the 1914 Adler 35/80hp Phaeton was built, and it is a sole survivor of only four made! Not rare enough as it didn’t go for the estimate of €130,000 – 160,000. Again, from the same year was the 1914 Peugeot 14hp Type 144A ‘Coloniale’ Tourer, which sold for €34,500. But it was a no go for the 1906 Ford Model N Cabriolet. An estimate of €25,000 – 35,000 seemed too much. The 1912 Clément-Bayard AC4A 10hp Tourer had been owned since 1958 until the moment in Paris, when a new owner had €26,450 in his pocket and spent it. The 1913 Renault DG Tourer was again another woody goody in the wheels and did sell for €41,400, also a new owner after a long time… The previous ownership had been since 1968. Hard to tell if they are really that high in demand, since it was a bit of a mixed bag here… Anyway, I think they didn’t do too badly and fetched very reasonable prices.

Now the real treat for me… Continue reading

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POTW-A LIMERICK BREAK FROM NYC

Lets take a short break before we go home from Paris with this great limerick and magnificent photograph with probably a T23 Bugatti Brescia. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Whoever invented that jack

Knew it would work front and back

 A quickContinue reading

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BONHAMS INVISIBLE RUNWAY – PART 1

The last spectacle of the Parisian week starts with a little war… The day before the Bonhams auction in the Grand Palais the party already took off and since Mr. Brown ‘from London town’ and his wicked friends chose this auction over the RM one, I followed. However, before we arrived at the Grand Palais we ended up in a taxi war. Since the fake Uber taxis are not appreciated by the official ones, the official taxis parked their cars in the middle of the roads and left them there as a protest. Were we glad that we were fit enough to simply walk and not spend hours in a taxi!

The Grand Palais is incredible, just look at the view of the roof construction. I saw something even better then stars… Continue reading 

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RM SOTHEBY’S PARIS ‘BARGAINS’

The first auction that was to be held in Paris during Retromobile was the RM Sotheby’s sale at the impressive Place Vaubain. Earlier on I presented you my shopping list of a few of their more affordable stars. Let’s now take a look how they actually did. I took a good look at the lots during my preview and I will make a list of the, for me, most striking ones. But first my shopping list from an earlier article.

One of my fave lots was the 1965 Maserati Mistral 3.7 Coupé by Frua. The Mistal is one that is making a good name and so it was not a surprise that this one sold for… Continue reading

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SEQUEL TO “BACK FROM PARIS! – PART 2”

Remember Artcurial’s auction in Paris on the Champs-Elysées last year June 22, and the formidable price paid for the Ugly Duckling, the barn find 1925 T13 Brescia Bugatti with sporting body by Maron-Pot et Cie?

Sold for 834,400 EUR, chassis 2628 reappeared at Retromobile in fine fettle, as if reborn after a swift restoration. Fortunately its new owner has kept some of the original patina, although its colors have changed to match its patinated appearance. And of course he has removed… Continue reading

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BACK FROM PARIS! – PART 2

Let’s continue the party with two Atalantes. As an Atalante myself, I am obviously always on the hunt for those masterpieces made by hero Ettore. The Bugatti stand exhibited a 57 with a strange color combination… moss-green and yellow. But the real treat was at the Lukas Hüni stand, a 57SC! I understood that this ex Dr. Williamson Atalante had long been in Japan and agreed with the color combination, it is fabulous. Lukas Hüni is known for high class automobiles and the collection which was exhibited didn’t disappoint, on the contrary. Next to the 57SC, I was really impressed by the stunning Alfa 8C 2300 Figoni cabriolet, Jaguar D Type dans son jus, the Bugatti T59, a smashing black Mercedes 26/120/180 Saoutchik, an Aston DB3S, and pretty much everything else Lukas had on display. What I also really like is to meet young people with the same interest and luckily I did.

To continue with Alfa, I have a very special one for you in store, as the price might be approaching that of a GTO. It is probably even more… Continue reading

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SNOWMAN FOR THE SUPERCAR OWNER

These past weeks the Northern hemisphere was paralyzed by piles of snow and ice. Who had expected that you could snowboard on Times Square in The Big Apple? Undersigned could even reach his work with constant wheelspin last week. It is often said that only children fancy playing in the snow, but the child in us often comes alive when the snow starts to fall. As our fingers are too cold to work on our restoration project and the children don’t need to get entertained by daddy or mommy, the car owner can let off steam by slipping and sliding.

I have heard of many classic car owners who were not fainthearted, going out to have a spin in their valuable classics (please send me your pics). But in the past snow was pure business. For instance, the race… Continue reading

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THE GREAT ARTCURIAL MOTORCARS AUCTION CINEMA

We have all been waiting for the legendary sale of the Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti, or as my mom called it, that “little red car” of the auction. The Retro week was quite busy with three major auctions, but for sure Artcurial stole the show in a typically passionate French way. A large collection went under the hammer, and 80% sold for a total of €56 million, a European record, of which the 335 is claimed to be the world record for a motor car at auction. The 335 sold for €28 million, but with premium added, it actually yielded €32.1 million! A price unaffordable except for the few. Four automobiles were sold over a million, so enough ‘bargains’ still.

The big and black room downstairs was incredible and very very busy! The auctioneers knew how to fill the space with their voices/songs, and even if they made a mistake, I still like them. The 335 was one big spectacle. The lights were switched off and then… A movie started showing in full song the excitement of the 335. It took a while to… Continue reading

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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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THE MOST FAMOUS INFAMOUS CARS – PART 4

To end this series about the worst criminals in history, we take a look at one of the ‘best’. CHB loves the cars of maffioso’s, so we sorted out Al Capone for you.

AL CAPONE

The world’s most famous gangster seems to have been, for his part, a Cadillac enthusiast. The king of bootleggers is reported to have owned at least two fully armored Cadillacs.

Although Capone had amassed a certain amount of wealth during his reign as gang czar of Chicago, his personal net worth may have been exaggerated somewhat. The huge amounts of money made by “The Outfit” belonged and was spread amongst “The Outfit”. Capone’s share as CEO was a very sizeable one. Problem was that Capone spent… Continue reading

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THE MOST FAMOUS INFAMOUS CARS – PART 3

Italian temperament is famous and Alfisti Mussolini was a great driver who looked for extremities. Sadly he also had a very evil mind and the combination made him one of the most atrocious fascists there ever was. Nevertheless his car is a marvel!

BENITO MUSSOLINI

The Italian dictator surely was much less powerful than his fearsome German allies, but when it came to cars, Mussolini was not afraid to look for the boundaries and go for the extreme. He is reported as having been a keen driver and faithful supporter of Alfa Romeo. He even saved the Arese brand from going into liquidation in the early 30’s. Alfa Romeos and Lancias were his favorites. He owned… Continue reading

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THE MOST FAMOUS INFAMOUS CARS – PART 2

Another infamous automobile you’ll love, like I do. Let’s have a look in the garage of another nasty criminal.

HERMANN GOERING

The infamous, but flamboyant Reichsmarshal had been one of the key figures who enabled the German dictator to took power of his country. He then helped his master in his evil plans which lead to world destruction.

Goering was also a car enthusiast. He used to visit most of the Automobile fairs and ordered a lot of one-off… Continue reading

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Blue Goose posing with its new owners and saviors

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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SHOPPING IN PARIS AT RM SOTHEBY’S

On February 3rd it is shopping time in Paris at the RM Sotheby’s auction, the first of their 2016 European calendar. Here is a great opportunity to get yourself a fine thematic collection of 1950s and 1960s top class coupés at ‘affordable’ prices. And what is more, if you happen to be so eclectic that you want to acquire one from each major automobile manufacturing nation, i.e. Italy, France, Germany, Great Britain and the USA, then here is your chance!

To begin with, there is this splendid 1965… Continue reading

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Photo Credit: Daniele Tenconi ©2015 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

THE MOST FAMOUS INFAMOUS CARS – PART 1

As I was standing in front of and admiring a friend’s Mercedes 500K, the owner told me that wherever he went with his jewel, he often heard people yelling “Oh Hitler is out for a ballade again”, or even worse: “Who could be mad enough to own such an infamous car?”

I suddenly realized that public opinion may associate some of my favorite cars with cruel and devilish dictators who owned likewise models, like in the case of my friend’s 500K. Are these cars to be blamed for the suffering in an earlier life? It’s a matter of opinion, but a car cannot choose its owner, nor its destiny.

Sometimes our beloved vintage cars may have a horrid… Continue reading

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THE INCREDIBLE UNKNOWN ATALANTE BARN FIND

About 40 years ago, when still a student, I frequented the Saturday lunch of a group of jolly Bugatti enthusiasts. One of them told me how, in the early sixties, he had acquired his Bugatti T44 in France and that the owner had two. So, who knows, perhaps the other one might still be there, I thought.

The name of the village was not fully known, but with the World Atlas of Time Magazine, I figured out where this Bugatti might possibly be hiding.

The next summer, this was 1977, on a holiday trip, I stopped in the supposed village at around two in the afternoon, when everybody had dozed off to sleep. A small garage business in the main street was still open, and I walked in to ask if the good man knew if there was perhaps a Bugatti in the village? “Yes”, he said!

Dear me, could this really be true? “Drive down the main street a bit further and turn into a narrow dead end street on your left, and you will see… Continue reading

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AN ADDICTED 57S ATLANTE COMES TO HER SENSES, TIME TO CONFESS

Dear CHB reader,

Today I planned to write you the last part of the Barnato story, but I need to clear up something first.

As many of you know, I am a young Atalante, who started this blog less than 8 months ago as a rookie with VERY little knowledge. This blog is among other things for me a way to learn as much as possible about vintage- and classic cars, especially because I enjoy exploring such fantastic automobiles! I am so enthusiastic, perhaps a bit too much, that I now found that I also make errors, like many others do, and I am not ashamed to admit this. That’s how a Bugatti 57S behaves, sport stands for speed…

As I publish every day with pleasure, I now see that… Continue reading

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CAN INTERCLASSICS BEAT RETROMOBILE? – PART 3

You probably know that petrol heads can talk for hours… I became just the same in less than a year. Today the final part of my Interclassics adventure. I hope my reports made you enjoy the event, especially if you weren’t there. Or that you can now look back at this event to remember what made it so nice.

I was sad to leave without completing my to-do-list, but at 8.00 pm it was time to close the doors for the crowds. Of course we left a bit later as it was too cosy at the stand of LMB… Adventurer, world traveller, Bentley driver, Bugattist, and so on… Kjeld Jessen told me all about the Barnato family history, and the Blue Train story. As you know, I recently wrote about this on CHB. There are however some corrections that should be made following Kjeld’s explanations, but that’s not to be ashamed of. This was quite a blooper, talking to a Bentley connoisseur, but luckily Kjeld is… Continue reading

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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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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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INTERCLASSICS BREAK

Dear reader, today was a lovely day at the Dutch Interclassics in Maastricht. This exhibition is one that I will permanently put in my agenda from now on, because it is well worth visiting! Since it was a long and exiting day with many great things, I’ll take a break today and write you a nice story tomorrow again. I’ll also post a fine report of this event very soon, way too much to share with you! : )

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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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WORKSHOP PITSTOP FOR THE NEEDED COMPETITION SERVICES

After the intro of what is going to be an intense story, we’ll make a pitstop at a very nice and impressive workshop located in Wommelgem in Belgium. This area is one I love to come, since there are many great places with fine automobiles, and this is one of the workshops I have to tell you about. By the way, close to this workshop is another one, LMB. The showroom of LMB will be the next home of Amillion, so soon more about that and LMB.

The pitstop I am talking about is at Historic Competition Services. To start with the background of HCS, the knowledgeable owner Julian Messent, has many years of experience working on world’s most exotic and special automobiles, and other exotic machinery. From helicopter engines to race winning pre-war GP cars, endurance rally cars, and just about everything in between.

The connoisseur Julian has earlier been active for LMB Racing, the workshop I already mentioned. Not long ago Julian decided… 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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POTW – ALFISTI DREAM MACHINE WITH MARIO TADINI AT THE GAISBERGRENNEN IN 1933

Today we will forget all the trouble and look at this gorgeous and breathtaking Alfa Romeo – Scuderia Ferrari. This masterpiece is accompanied by the heroic Mario Tadini. As you might have heard, CHB had some trouble with FB and due to this CHB will not be able to share stories, except on www.crankhandleblog.com and the CHB FB page until Wednesday. This is probably the work of FB and has to do with money, which sadly can destroy great initiatives. I hope that all the CHB readers will continue to support the work of team CHB : ) Please support by sharing this link as much as possible in FB groups, your own FB page, or any other great place you know: https://crankhandleblog.com/news/pic-of-the-week/potw-alfisti-dream-machine-with-mario-tadini-at-the-gaisbergrennen-in-1933/

Let’s make sure CHB is exploding all the social media…

Luckily I became good friends with the one and only Brooke Swan Car and she will go and visit to the FB headquarters to steam them all out with hot water, perhaps even… Continue reading (there is some fine Scuderia history to be found…)

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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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VEYRON IN HIS BUGATTI TYPE 51 

Last Year, I spotted two Veyrons casually parked just 20 meters away from my house in front of the Montreux Palace. Montreux, Veyron… these words reminded me of one of my grandfather’s souvenirs: The inaugural Montreux Grand Prix, held in 1934. “This is where I met my hero Pierre Veyron. You know, Veyron was a great driver and even better when driving a Bugatti. He even won Le Mans with one” he reminisced, as he went back to the 1930’s, recapping his youth.

The 1934 Montreux Grand Prix? Most of you may never have heard of this GP, but I think that a race in which VEYRON, MOLL, VARZI, TROSSI and ETANCELIN all took part is worth remembering, don’t you agree?

Montreux, where I live, is a kind of Swiss Monte-Carlo which has always been very appreciated by High Society (Napoléon the 3rd, Strawinsky, The Shah of Iran and so on) thanks to its wonderful landscape, mild climate and quietness. Then, one day, some car enthusiasts decided to turn the peaceful historical city center into a roaring and spectacular racing circuit.

The result was… Continue reading

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HOW A MURDER CAUSED THE FIRST CAR RACE EVER

Sorry for this interruption before moving on to my Louwman story part 2, but today DSJ will tell you a detective story not to be missed. Louwman part 2 will follow soon of course! – RAV

History is often seen as boring, but history also hides many beautiful stories which should be told. Here is one of such stories!

Many people know that Gavrilo Princip unchained the first World War with his murder of Franz Ferdinand. But how many people know that the first car race ever was also unchained by a murder? Probably not so many!

One of the French newspapers of the 19th century, Le Petit Journal, was known for its fast reporting of spectacular events. But in 1894 … 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 HAUNTED SALOON-PART 1

I have always had a soft spot for rusty old saloons. Over the years I have collected several neglected MG VA saloons, put them back on the road and I was usually able to find a new owner who shared my feelings and wanted to care for it.

It is through this weakness that I came accross MG saloon with chassisnumber VA 0251, languishing in a barn in Suffolk. From then on I noticed a certain atmosphere around these, untill then unwanted, MG saloons. In a funny way I felt when there was an interesting history associated with the car.

It was the basis for my interest in the history of MG VA’s. Through VA 0251 I was pulled into the mysterious world of the past and from then on I sometimes started to see a kind of aureole around old VA saloons.

One splendid example of this happened during the SVW… Continue reading

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THE BARN FIND OF AN ATALANTE-PART 2

We went into a very small dusty and cold room filled with a delicious smell of old gas and oil. This so called ‘workshop’ was packed with work-benches, tools, shelves filled with books and wooden boxes all over the floor. While admiring this delightful mess, I noticed a wonderful Bugatti front axle on a work-bench, just like a hunting trophy. “Nice, isn’t it, I’ve just finished polishing it. I’ll show you my treasure, here is a crankshaft, here is another one, some clutch parts should be somewhere here and oh, did you see the engine block behind those shelves?” And so on… The man enumerated all these precious parts as if they were fruits and vegetables. The Bugatti man had been collecting… 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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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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HAPPY NEW YEAR’S DIVE IN A VINTAGE HYDROPLANE

“CHB wishes you a great automotive 2016 with lots of fine automobiles and most of all, to have fun with the old dusty and rusty or shiny and striking historic treasures! What was your vintage/classic highlight of 2015? Let me know in the comments below.”

First of all I want to wish you all the best for the New Year. I hope you will have a year full of rich petrol fumes, gentle patina, and exhilarating exhaust blasts! In the Netherlands we have the tradition of starting the New Year fresh with a dive in the North Sea. It is seen as start of good intentions. Since the invention of… Continue reading

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WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO GET INVOLVED WITH THIS OILY AND GREASY HOBBY? 

As said before, I find it my task to light the automotive fire in the hearts of youngsters, and today I think I can do that with a very interesting video. Step by step I will teach you how to do it and energize you to join us! Even without grease on your face and inhaling oily fumes you will sense the excitement of an era almost 100 years ago now. I advise to also watch the video if you have already joined our hobby – it will remind you why you started all this… Continue reading (vid included)

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REMEMBER “THE ITALIAN JOB” AND THE SPECTACULAR DESTRUCTION OF A MIURA? IT’S NOW FOR SALE…

No, they won’t offer you a crashed Miura that is still lying in the abyss. What they do offer? Just continue reading and you will find out.

If you have been following CHB for a while now, you will probably remember that once upon a time… Some nut heads pushed a Miura P400 off a cliff with a bulldozer! This sounds like madness, because who would ever destroy a Miura on purpose? While digging a bit further into this crazy story, it appears that… Continue reading

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PRESS, BEND… AND MIND YOUR FINGERS!

Today we step into the world of sheetmetal working! Again a nice workshop, as I am addicted to seeing all those great and interesting places which you usually never get to see. Good work requires expertise and this man I visited commits to that rule. He is an allround man concerning sheetmetal work, but he is also an engineer and designed and produced some of his own machines.

The man has a creative mind that blew me away. He makes all sorts of art with sheet metal, like for example a rocket-like set of chairs with table and a very cool prototype of a unique motorcycle, inspired by an old concept that never succeeded because it was too advanced for its time. Another fun thing, he makes steampunk items… Have you ever heard of it?

If you are inspired by his work and want to learn it yourself… Continue reading

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