Vintage Postbag, March 1984

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Discovering lost Cords

Sir,

I was interested to see the reference in January’s MOTOR SPORT to the Cord unearthed in a Derbyshire barn, and would agree with you that it is not the only one left in this country. There is another in the Manx Museum. My friend Norman Sharam, owned a very rare six light saloon, which I think is still in Britain. Coys had a Sportsman two-seater for sale not long ago, and I believe there is one lurking near Romsey, and another in Basingstoke – as well as the Sportsman in my own garage. Also, could it be a 1931 model? I think that production of the L29 Cord stopped in 1934, and the 810 model appeared at the 1935 New York Motor Show.

Reading how this car was discovered reminds me how I found the two Cords I have owned. In the early 1960s, I advertised for one in the London Evening Standard. A reply came from Sydney, Australia. A ship’s engineer from Chandlers Ford, in Hampshire, had happened to take a copy of the paper on board with him, but only read it after the ship docked. He had such a Cord for sale, and when he returned home, I bought it.

Later, someone wrote in a magazine that, this was the only Cord in the country – which prompted the owner of a garage in Tipton, Staffordshire (a few yards from where they made the Bean) to wheel out a Cord he had owned since before the war, and which had been standing in a shed since the 1950s. Someone told me about this, and I at once drove to Tipton, bought it, and out of the two has been fashioned the one I still drive.

Salisbury JAMES LEASOR

Firsts

Sir,

In the January 1984 MOTOR SPORT, page 73, Mr Heal quotes Coatalen as saying that, the 1914 war robbed him of the credit of being the first to market a twelve-cylinder car. He was notably non-specific as to the size, as anything else, of the intended model. But even if Sunbeams did have a V12 nearing production, they would in any case have been anticipated by the highly successful 1915 Packard 6.9-litre ‘Twin Six’. You also say that dry-sump lubrication was a ‘novel idea’ of Coatalen’s in 1913, but Henry’s 1913 GP Peugeot of that year also had a dry sump.

Lezayre, IoM CECIL CLUTTON

(But, surely the point Mr Heal was making is that, Packard’s purchase of the pre-1914 9-litre V12 racing Sunbeam led to the American Company to introducing its ‘Twin-Six’ model? Coatalen presumably implied that, had aero-engine work during the war not intervened, he would, himself, have produced a production V12 Sunbeam. Why this was not re-considered after the war remains the mystery. – Ed)

Rainer Special

Sir,

I thought the enclosed photograph might be of interest. It was taken by my father on a family picnic to Dartmeet in the summer of 1928. I do not know what model Isotta-Fraschini it is, but I would think the open two-seaters would be rare, even in those days. It is a pity he has not photographed the whole car. I wonder it if has any particular history? I have no idea what the onlookers find so fascinating! From other photographs taken on the same outing, it was obviously a warm sunny day. From the dress one could be forgiven for thinking it was mid-winter!

Incidentally, the family had taken in Dartmeet as part of a day-tour from Camborne in Cornwall in my grandfather’s Standard tourer (RL 2976). Not a bad distance for those days!

Halesowen PAUL H. SHAW

(This is obviously a rather special Isotta-Fraschini, judging by the float-type running boards, triple steps to the tonneau and even what looks like an unusual hood, does anyone remember it? – Ed.)

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