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 TOW TRUCK THAT PROVES THAT EVEN THE BEST IS FUGITIVE

My grandfather René has always been a very open minded and active man. After the war, money was really hard to earn, that is why my grandpa decided to start a business with rental cars with chauffeur, in addition to his antiques dealing business.

In Switzerland there were plenty of rich people who were looking for that kind of rental car service. My grandpa’s best client was the son of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. To please his clients, René purchased some prewar cars since they were very cheap, classy and comfortable. His rental ‘fleet’ consisted of a Chrysler, a Packard and a Lancia Astura drophead by Pininfarina. The Pininfarina Lancia was particularly… Continue reading

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LE CORNIAUD GANGSTER – UN CAPOLAVORO FRANCESE!

http://crankhandleblog.comAnd … ACTION! Let’s get into some French humor with the incredible Louis de Funès movies! I’ve been watching all those movies and the Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez series since I was very young and I continue to just love it! And another good thing about these movies is that they used great cars, as well as funny ones, on the set. Not to forget the ultimate French actors Louis de Funès and especially Bourvil, who plays truly convincing as a naïve Corniaud, which… Continue reading

PURDAH CARS, THE HISTORY OF TINTED CAR WINDOWS

http://crankhandleblog.comTinted car windows are not a hype of the 21st century, they were already used since the 11th century for the purdah, which means the seclusion of women. Purdah found its way thru India by the conquest of the Islam. The Royal Muslim as well as Hindu Maharanis lived quite unseen. Outside of their zenana (secluded women’s apartments) they were moved around in different kinds of vehicles like palanquins and (animal dawn) carriages, that were shuttered with heavy curtains. And of course later also cars with blinded windows… that we still use today!

Traveling in purdah wasn’t very easy… 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

BIG SPENDER HIS HIGHNESS SIR JAI SINGH THE MAHARAJA OF ALWAR

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.

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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

THE INDIAN LANCHESTER CAR HYPE

The 40HP Lanchester was very populair amongst Indian Royalty, so let’s talk about those Lanchesters and of course Lanchester himself!

Frederick William Lanchester, or Fred as he was called, was the founder of the Lanchester marque. The incredibly gifted engineer and designer was holder of some 426 patents! His 1896 Lanchester Engine Co. was the first car that he built. He also wore the honor of building the very first… Continue readinghttp://crankhandleblog.com

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

WAS THE FIRST CONCEPT CAR EVER THE BROOKE SWAN CAR?

This extraordinary ‘Swan Car’ – a 1910 Brooke 25/30 HP – is just all about madness! A bizarre peace of art with its very special and FUN gadgets! Possibly the first concept car in the world! The car was built by JW Brooke and company in Lowestoft, England. It was a combination of both car and boat, which was what the Brooke’s manufactured. By the way it must have cost more than three times a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost…! By now it’s just priceless!

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The special one-off vehicle was commissioned by the wealthy ‘mad hatter’ (Alice in Wonderland term) Robert Nicholl Matthewson from Scotland. The genius wasn’t bored when he placed the order for the swan car, but wanted to… Continue reading

COACHWORK-LEGEND PININFARINA AND THE WEIRDEST FERRARI EVER! – PART 1

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.http://crankhandleblog.comCarrozzeria 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

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

TWO ROLLS-ROYCE SILVER GHOST SHOOTING-BREAKS HAMMERED DOWN TODAY

Just being a little hyperactive lately… Looks like blogging about these incredible cars is becoming addictive, and so I just couldn’t resist writing about these very cool vehicles after noticing two of them on the PreWarCar sales page. Both are gone by now because the auction was today…

The announced (hilarious) article of this weekend, with outrageous French high-class cars, will be published tomorrow. So you will have something to enjoy on Sunday too!

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These Silver Ghosts both have a shooting-break body, or as the French elegantly say ‘break de chasse’. This coachwork-style evolved over time and has more than one meaning. At first the term was used for horse-drawn carriages built for hunting. Later the term was also used for motorized vehicles. Early 19th century shooting parties used such vehicles, because they offered enough space for all their hunting gear. Later the term was also used by high-end coachbuilders for custom-built station wagons, which we now affectionately call woodies… Continue reading