Researching a c1904 PICCOLO in Western Australia
Unidentified car

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A challenge from China

A challenge from China
Looking at the winner of the 1907 Peking-Paris race in our main picture, we can imagine the fearsome physical obstacles facing the cars and teams as they set out on 10th June 1907 from Peking (then known in Britain as Pekin) to drive to Paris.  But there were cultural obstacles, too.  A first report in the British Motor magazine for 11th June summed it up beautifully: “On Monday the motorcar race from Pekin to Paris starts, unless the Chinese authorities succeed in their efforts to oppose the venture.  The Mandarins have strange doubts and fears concerning the true purport of the intrepid adventurers.  They entertain grave suspicions as to the political designs of the competitors.  They are believed to be engineers under the guise of tourists, and it is thought that they have been ordered by European Governments to secretly plan some remarkable railway system.”
But the concerns of the journalists soon passed to the physical: “…there will be places on the journey at which it will be necessary to carry the cars.”  And, “After the difficulties of the Mongolian Mountains have been overcome, the cars will face the infinity of the Gobi Desert.”
Prompted by a challenge laid down in a Paris newspaper in January 1907, the race had forty entrants – but only five teams shipped their cars to Peking to start the race: the Itala of the eventual winner Prince Scipione Borghese, accompanied by Ettore Guizzardi, one Spyker (which finished 2nd), one Contal cyclecar (which did not finish) and two De Dions (which came 3rd and 4th).
Although the race followed a telegraph route that made international news coverage possible, contemporary press photographs show just how difficult the whole enterprise must have been.  One of our pictures [Picture 2] shows a veritable quagmire in an otherwise bustling town, is entitled “A specimen of roads encountered on Pekin-Paris route.  The principal street in Kouan Chenzy.”  
It was accepted at the time that the achievement of the four finishers could not have been accomplished without external aid, but the vehicles’ ability to withstand the hauling and rough usage in the mountains of China and the swamps of Southern Siberia was, according to the Autocar, “proof of the extraordinary strength of the cars.”
Indeed, another of our photographs [Picture 3] shows just such an example, including these words in the caption: “Large gangs of Chinese coolies were engaged to assist the cars through some of the passes.”
Autocar illustrated the toughness and excellent preparation of the winning Itala in another of our pictures [Picture 4].  The caption tells us: “The mudguards are arranged so that they can be easily taken off and utilised as planks for crossing fords, and soft places.  The large petrol and general supply tanks will be noticed.”
In rural districts, even in Russia, motor cars were still a rarity.  In Kazan, two youths fled in terror when faced with the appearance of a “horseless car”.  But in Russia the reception was usually friendly – apart from an incident near Nijni Novgorod where the Itala frightened a horse.  The angry locals advanced on the car, throwing stones, until, as the Automotor Journal relates, “…the sight of a pistol levelled by a steady hand caused them to withdraw.”
Prince Scipione Borghese’s Itala was so far ahead of the other three surviving cars – 17 days at one point – that he had time to attend four days of celebrations in Moscow and shorter but equally rapturous receptions in St Petersburg and Berlin, before his triumphant arrival in Paris on 10th August.  The Spyker and two De Dions were sadly unable to arouse the same enthusiasm as they finally passed through.
Our last picture [Picture 5], from Motor, shows the winning car on its arrival in Paris in the rain, with the Prince at the wheel.  He has clearly not posed for the camera – but we suspect that the manufacturer has made sure that the Itala script (which is covered in grime on all other pictures of the car during the race) has been added to the image before publication.  And why not?  This was a magnificent achievement by a famous Italian make and its intrepid Italian team.
Words by Peter Moss.  Pictures from the Richard Roberts Archive.
    
Tuesday, 17 October 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail
   

Faded car photos from 1903 in Hungary

Faded photos from 1903 in Hungary
Photos of old cars are sometimes very good but in this case definitely not. Sent by Pal Negyesi. A photo we like, a photo in old style 'The year is 1903, the place is probably somewhere in Hungary. Despite the different size of the rear wheels, I believe the two photos depict the same car. There is absolutely no information regarding the car, so any info on what this might be would be warmly welcomed. And no, there was no company in Hungary at that time which made a similar car.'

Enjoy your week!
 
Monday, 16 October 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail
   

E.R.A. transport in style

1936 Bedford E.R.A transporter

E.R.A were supplied with four Bedford transporters that carried the team and the cars to British and European venues in the thirties where E.R.A's broke many records and won at most of the international events the cars entered.

The 1936 Bedford W series still has its original 2.7 litre stovebolt engine fitted. Bedford's parent company GM produced the engines which were in production from 1929 till the early fifties producing 54-57hp. They were a reliable means of transporting goods worldwide and widely used during WW2.
Recently restored by Mark Palliser in Leominster with graphics designed by Robert Bruce, the transporter is ready to be used and shown.

Words and photos by Stewart.

          
Sunday, 15 October 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail
   

About What is it quiz #455: Brennabor Type A

About What is it quiz #455: Brennabor Type A

So here we are with the solution of quiz #455: Ok, at first, I have to apologize for one term in my quiz-text: I wrote “Production ended during World War II (…)”, but forgot to tell, that the automobile-production ended already in 1933/34.But afterwards, the production was still on with bicycles and motorbikes.

So now for the car, we searched for: It is, of course, a Brennabor Type A and regarding Hans-Heinrich von Fersen's book “Autos in Deutschland 1920-1939”, the exact Type should be the “AS Landaulet”, built in 1929. But after reading your answers and some research, I´m not quite sure, if it really is this Type. Well, ok, I´m VERY sure that it is not, as a Type called AS never existed. Brennabor built the Types ASL, ASK, AL, AK, AFL and finally the AFK, which all look very similar. But what were the differences: The types mainly differed in the wheelbase, the engine, and the gearbox. The “S”- and the “F”- versions had the bigger 3.1-litre engine with an output of 55 HP (2.5-litre engine / 45 HP for AL and AK) and the “L”-versions had the long wheelbase of 3290 mm (3000 mm for the short version). And instead of the four-speed gearbox, the “F”- versions had one ratioless. So how can we narrow down the possible types? The car is a “Landaulet” and by that, we can exclude all types with an “L”, as they were only built with “Pullmann”-saloon bodys. Still, we have three versions, that may fit. But there is one more detail, that only Christian Günzel wrote: The car on the pictures has disc-wheels and (as far, as I know) they were only mounted on the 45 HP cars. The 55 HP cars always had wooden spokes, you could also find on some of the cars with the small engine. Regarding this details, the only conclusion is, that it HAS to be a “Brennabor Type AK”

But because I am not absolutely sure, if there may have been a disc-wheel ASK or AFK, the quiz-answer is “Short-Wheelbase Brennabor Type A”.

And here some additional details, our contestants wrote:

Anders Svenfelt knew, that Carl Reichstein took part in the 1913 Stockholm-Gothenburg competition and also showed up at the Brooklands track in 1910. Fried Stol tells us about the “Brennaborette” delivery cars and Gerd Klioba knew, that the Landaulet body was advertised with the wonderful phrase “the car with open sky”. Well done!

A very good answer also from Salvador Claret. He knew, that the Landaulet body was only sold on the short wheelbase cars while Fritz Hegemann mainly concentrated on the technical data.

Josef Boers answer sadly has more than the maximum of 100 words, but nevertheless, he had some information, including the “Internationale Alpenfahrt 1928”, that Brennabor won with four Type AKS cars and he also tells us about the AKS pick-up at the Volante Museum / Germany.

Sorry, Hans Compter, your answer was too late. Very nice answers from all of you! But the five points go to Christian Günzel, who had at first a good answer, and afterward added the “disc-wheels”. And by considering this, he was the only participant with the correct “Type AK” solution.

So we have:

5 Points: Christian Günzel

3 Points: Josef Boers, Fritz Hegemann, Frank Sauerwald, Fedor, Salvador Claret, M.Steinbrink, Gerd Kiloba, Robert Hafner, Fried Stol, Anders Svenfelt and Michael Schlenger

1 Point: Tom St.Martin


Current top 5:
1. Gerd Klioba 8
2. Luc Ryckaert 5
3. Christian Günzel 5
4. Fritz Hegemann 4
5, Salvador Claret 4


Saturday, 14 October 2017 Attention: open in a new window. Print E-mail
   

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