Cars in Books, September 1984

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

In “Pantaraxia — The Autobiography of Nubar Gulbenkian” (Hutchinson, 1963) we learn a lot about the oil millionaire, not least that in his younger days he drove as fast as he could, for example in the Hispano-Suiza his father had given him, at which time his wife had a Model-T Ford given to her by her father, possibly one of the fifty or one hundred war-surplus vehicles, which he shipped to Cuba. The Ford had red wheels and mudguards to off-set its special bodywork. Around 1925, when the Hispano was new, Herminia Gulbenkian tried to drive it through the gates of the Grand Hotel et des Iles Borromées at Stresa and hit one of the massive stone pillars, which was shifted a few inches. The chassis of the Hispano was badly damaged and it was out of use for four days while a mechanic was sent, at great expense, from Paris to repair it. Going there again in 1960, the millionaire noted that the gatepost was still out-of-true! There is also a reference to the Hispano being driven from Cherbourg to Paris faster than the boat-train, in spite of a lunch stop at Evreux.

Betore that, in 1920, Gulbenkian’s father sent him to Mont Dore to recover from a cold, telling one of the staff at the Paris Ritz to get his son a valet and a car, as he was leaving that afternoon. Not only was the perfect valet found almost immediately but in the Place Vendóme awaited a 40 hp Renault and chauffeur. A lady companion had also been thought of, but she Nubar refused . . . Unfortunately few other cars are referred to, apart from the Rolls-Royce lent to Gulbenkian for his honeymoon by his best-man, Constantine Chadinoff, which was involved in a skid and turned over coming back from Deauville, fortunately when driven by its owner. Other Rolls-Royces, owned by exiled Jews, are mentioned as being abandoned in Lisbon after Western Europe had fallen to Germany in WW2, at “two-a-penny”. What befell these cars, one wonders?

I now have a confession to make. When compiling the lists of Brooklands Certificates for one of the Appendices to my “History of Brooklands Motor Course” I had to decipher these from the hand-written entries in the actual BARC record books. One name was particularly difficult to read but I decided the nearest I could get was “M. Iulkenkian”. I think now that it was probably N. Gulbenkian who had got the BARC to officially time a 36/220 Mercedes-Benz coupé over a flying kilo and mile, which he covered, respectively, at 100.40 mph and 91.37 mph. That was in October 1928, so the Mercedes could have been the successor to the Hispano Suiza, or was this a test, done at Motor Show time, to see whether the multi-millionaire preferred the German car? Unfortunately, the book does not tell us, although the London taxi which Gulbenkian later had fitted with a special body by Jack Barclay Ltd for town work, is mentioned, as are some of the aeroplanes and flying boats the oil baron flew in, and the accident on a road close to Heston aerodrome involving a DH Dragon, from which Gulbenkian had a very narrow escape from being burnt to death. His chauffeur had been told, with the care the very wealthy often devote to themselves, always to wait until any aeroplane in which Nubar was flying was airborne, in case of disaster. In this case his car was quickly on the scene, to convey him to the London Clinic. His faithful chauffeur, Wooster, served him from 1920 until he was pensioned off in 1950, to die in 1964. W.B.

You may also like

Related products