Out of the past, March 1994

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From time to time readers send us most interesting letters and sometimes photographs of cars for identification; I regret there is not space to publish many of them. But they liven up the task of writing the V-to-C pages of Motor Sport.

For instance, I have had some pictures from a family album of a reader of some 40 years, depicting interesting cars owned by his late father, who was keen on motoring. and springer spaniels which he took to shoots and field-trials. He was a Mercedes enthusiast and the first picture is of a very early car of this make, I would think of 1902/04 vintage, as it has the very narrow radiator shell and raised header-tank which was also a feature of some veteran Peugeots. The next photograph is of a bigger pre-war Mercedes, of about 1910/12, with an obviously enthusiastic spaniel as front-seat passenger. Then a most interesting pair of cars, presumably both Mercedes, one almost certainly a Gordon Watney-bodied four-seater sporting model, probably a Ninety, with the expected disc wheels and outside drop exhaust pipes. I thought the other car was another Gordon Watney conversion but a rather unusual radiator and the fact that the four outside exhaust pipes emerged at two different heights, whereas on all such Mercedes and Benz I have seen they are level, and because a big vee-cowl had been added to the radiator, caused doubts.

The next photograph was especially interesting, because it was of a rare Morriss-London tourer, thought to have been taken in India when the Colonel was serving in the Royal Horse Artillery — which seemed to add up, because this make, based on the American Crow-Elkhart, was intended for export. Next there was what I think to be a Silver Hawk, the only identification difficulty being that these enticing little sports-cars usually had well-louvred bonnet sides, which this one didn’t, and the exhaust-pipe was on the off-side. The last of these fascinating pictures was of a supercharged 33/180hp Mercedes-Benz saloon, photographed in Bournemouth in the early to mid-1930s. Soon afterwards the Colonel cut the roof off, the better to accommodate a large number of his beloved springer spaniels! His son would like to know if the car has survived and this completely open big Mercedes may be recalled by some one? W B

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