More Mercedes Mystery!

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

We note that the rebuilt Ninety Mercedes which appeared at some of last year’s VSCC meetings was among the cars in the Beaulieu auction sale by Christies on December 8th. The catalogue entry for this formidable car poses a very minor but interesting mystery. It states that the car (Reg XK 3202) was built as an experimental chassis for Werner Ducker of Dusseldorf but that he received another Mercedes, this one going to the Mercedes agent in Paris and being supplied in 1913 to a Mr Eddie Spencer. h is then said to have had a brief Brooklands’ association, being raced at the Track by Major R. F. “Shugger” Cooper. Its appearance in the eighth Lightning Short Handicap at the 1921 Easter Meeting was quoted as a memorable occasion, being the race in which Cooper’s friend Count Zborowski brought out for the first time in public the famous Chitty-Bang-Bang, — which won, with a best ‘lap speed of 108.51 mph.

It is true that in this race both the Cooper brothers entered their Mercedes cars, J. H. Cooper his venerable 12.8-litre black car, which non-started, and the Major his smaller white Mercedes. The latter was the slowest of the runners, with a lap at 73.78 mph, although that, implying a top speed of about 85 mph, was quick for a Ninety. But my Brooklands’ records show that not only did this car have an engine of 130 170 mm (9,026 cc) whereas that of the car that was auctioned is given as of 130 180 mm (9,530 cc), but that the engine and chassis numbers are different. So in this respect one is compelled to doubt the accuracy of Christies’ description. However, the rest of the story falls properly into place. The old car is said to have gone to the Wallingford fire-brigade in Berkshire in 1925, when they required a fast auxiliary appliance, and I remember hearing during the war or just afterwards that it had been seen in that locality, by I think D. B. Tubbs, abandoned, and mistaken for one of the Zborowski Chitty-Bang-Bangs. Zborowski had an interest in his local Kentish fire-brigade, which may have been how the Berkshire Brigade heard of the old car, although as neither Cooper nor the Count lived near there, this is pure surmise. It was saved in the mid-1950s by Halkyard, who appeared with it in VSCC events, whether “very successfully” as the auction catalogue says, is a matter of opinion. In 1973 the pre-sale owners took it in hand, rebuilding it and fitting a replacement body. It must be the only Ninety Mercedes in running order in this country and one hopes sincerely that it will remain here after the auction sale. WB