Thank you for another of your necessarily infrequent articles on the restoration of a really important car. I am surprised, however, that you did not mention the performance of the 1902 60 h.p. Mors in the first Circuit des Ardennes race, which was run almost exactly a month after Paris-Vienna. In this, Mors finished 2nd and 3rd driven by Gabriel and Vanderbilt to Jarrot on a 70 h.p. Panhard. Fastest lap (of 53 miles) was made by Baron P. de Crawhez on a Panhard at 57.1 m.p.h. and second-fastest by Gabriel at 56.2 m.p.h..This result, I feel, gives a better indication than Paris-Vienna of the relative performance of the two fastest “heavy” cars of 1902.
Furthermore, is it not more likely that the “scrutineers” stamp CA as a cypher, refers to the Circuit des Ardennes than to a possible tender-car outing in Paris-Madrid, for which the cars were not entered and would not have been scrutinised? The XC (90?) stamp is more baffling. If it is numerical then it could relate to Paris-Vienna where there were more than 90 entries but not to the Circut des Ardennes, which had less. An examination of the other surviving Paris-Vienna car, the 16 h.p. Renault in France might help here, but the whole thing may be a red herring since scrutincering in thOse days seems to have been confined to weighing the cars, and the stamps may only be manufacturer’s marks.
One other point worth investigating is that at the Circuit des Ardennes, Baron de Caters “Ran into a wall and smashed his car”. Now if drivers in those days used the same car for the season (Jarrott used the same Panhard for both P-V and C des A), then perhaps Mr. Lake’s Mors still bears some reminder of the Baron having “lost it”.
By the way, the upper photograph on p. 134 is of Fournier, not Vanderbilt, as you are no doubt tired of being told.
“30/98” [Name and address supplied.—ED.]