Millionaire's choice

Author

admin

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

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Millionaire’s choice

CONTINUING THE STORY 0111 IL MILLIONAIRE WHO COULD

buy any car he fancied and was influenced by race results, as portrayed by the highly talented motoring historian and writer E K H Karslake, in MaroR SPORT, how did the fortunate if fictitious enthusiast fare after WW1? He was still in possession of his Alpine Eagle Rolls Royce but went to 1920 Motor Show, which had overflowed from Olympia to the White City to accommodate the 510 car exhibits. He would no doubt have gone to watch the 1914 Lyons GP, where he would have noted that Peugeot and Delage had fourwheel brakes but that the winning Mercedes did not. So his choice of a replacement for his ageing R-R did not have to be so braked. Prior to this our millionaire, now aged nearly 50, had attended the 1919 Paris Salon. There the new 37.2hp Hispano-Suiza would have attracted his attention, and on the strength of the good showing in the 1910

Coupe de /Auto, the acclaim the subsequent Alfonso model had had and the use of Hispano aero-engines in the war, an order would have placed and the arrival of the fine six-cylinder oh-camshaft, servo-4WB car awaited with impatience until the spring of 1920. If the OHC gear seemed somewhat noisy after the quietness of the R-R, the liveliness and stopping power of the French car would have been more than adequate compensation. Anyway, the Hispano was the most elegant possession you could have wished for at the time, but a visit to the 1921 French GP at Le Mans had made our man aware of the straight-eight engine in the winning Duesenberg and the Ballot and Talbot-Darracq entries, and this prompted him to buy a Leyland Eight at the 1922 show, convinced after seeing its creator, Parry Thomas, lapping Brooklands in one at over 110mph. He now had a very advanced car, with single oh-camshaft prodding inclined valves closed by leaf springs. Its triple eccentric drive ensured quiet functioning, the electric starter only operable by putting the gear lever into the neutral gear-slot for safety, and the coil ignition being cut off by suction as the engine was stopped, to obviate an owner not used to battery sparks running it down. With its torsion-bar suspension and other clever technicalities, and headlamps shaped like Thomas’ watchcase, it was wonderful indeed, but our chap was only just

in time, as manufacture of Britain’s first production straight-eight had practically ceased. Nevertheless, the Leyland, even if a reminder that it was a luxury car sold by a lorry maker, was a make the successes of which its owner could enjoy seeing almost every time he went to Brooklands. But the big car, fast as it was, was not exactly handy on the road. It was kept for 2X years. But in 1924 Hispano-Suizas won at Boulogne and Monza, and a journey to Sicily in the Leyland

produced a profound impression when Andre Dubonnet had kept up with the proper racing cars in his 8-litre Hispano in the Targa Florio, coming home fifth. So as soon as the new 45hp model was available, the Leyland was exchanged for one. Our millionaire had now forsaken his habit of going to the South of France for the English winter and instead was enjoying magnificent runs in early spring in the big Hispano to Sicily, to see the Targa Florio. Costantini’s Bugatti performance impressed, and when the Royale was announced our man motored to Molsheim to see it. He did not admire the Packard body on the prototype chassis, which fitted where it touched, but was inspired

by the Stock Market of 1926 to have one of this “golden product”; he may have gritted his teeth when presented with the bill, although hoping the 12,763cc of the eight huge cylinders would loosen his jaded palate.

When the grandeur had palled a bit and something smaller seemed a good idea, the rise of supercharging in racing prompted the purchase of 36/220 Mercedes-Benz in the autumn of 1928. A year later our car-keen millionaire could have had a 38/250, but the lebensraum of such motoring was sufficient, after the giant Bugatti. However, stopwatch figures had been a trifle disappointing, regardless of the thrill the Mercedes-Benz gave. So the Le Mans successes of the Bentleys year after year made our man ‘Buy British’, influenced by the defeat of the Mercedes there and the Speed Sixes’ showing in 1930. That autumn the 8-litre was announced, and WO got an order.

The new possession would have had an engine the same size as that of the 45hp Hispano-Suiza of a dozen years ago but would probably have been quieter, and it had a four-speed gearbox. Only the memory of the lighter gear change of the HS from that of Mercedes and Bentley prompted our friend to invest in a 9X-1itre V12 HispanoSuiza at the 1931 Show, the gear lever on the right in the early ones. This great car, feeling much smaller to drive, sufficed for four years before it was changed in Autumn 1935 for a Rolls-Royce Phantom Ill. The chassis cost almost £1000 less than that of the HS, but the engine was over two litres smaller. But with a millionaire’s foresight it was a car that would hold its value, and with trouble already on the horizon, this would apply when peace returned. If You had been in this happy situation I wonder what you would have bought? Vintage Postbag is no more but given sufficient answers we could summarise them.