MotorMarques Team

MotorMarques Team

Sunday, 17 July 2011 07:03
Published in Editorial

Email from Picardie

An interesting email came during the week fromJacky Pasek - a man who creates space. His business name is CREA (CRÉATION RÉSTAURATION ESPACE AUTO) His website is Jackie comes from a small town called Mélicocq in PicardieClick here for Google Map for 60150 Melicoq France. Mélicocq est une ville de France, située dans le département Oise, de la région Picardie.Les habitants de Mélicocq sont appelés les Mélicocquois, Mélicocquoises.Les 665 habitants de la commune vivent sur une superficie de 7 km² avec une densité de 95 habitants par km² et une moyenne d'altitude de 50 m.Le maire actuel de la mairie de Mélicocq est Monsieur Michel FLAMANT. Les villes voisines sont Chevincourt, Machemont, Longueil-Annel,
Saturday, 16 July 2011 13:14
Published in Melbourne Desk

Rob Roy Challenge Series - Sunday 10th July 2011

Photos by Richard Abey, Martin Stubbs, Bill HunterMain story with kind permission of Graeme Raper   Altogether, there were 60+ cars entered for the Club Challenge event at Rob Roy Hillclimb in midwinter 2011. Cars varied from a Mini Moke to a brand spanking new Fiat Abarth (Ab4th) 500 in glorious Italian racing red.   As usual, a good number of Austin 7s showed up. The evergreen Trevor Cole was in car 93, Martin Stubbs ( car 182) Peter Ward (car 43) John Marriott (car 50).  All were fitted with skinny tyres that, generally speaking, did not like the cold wet track.   Cold wet weather was good for some and bad for others. Tony Kaefer (Below)  in the yellow and black Ford Escort, explained why the  supercharger fitted tohis car performed well in the cold air, but the racing tyres fitted to his car did not. Click here to see video.
Tony Kaefer - Supercharged Ford Escort
austin7white_S minimoke_S escort_200 Ab4rth_S
Peter Ward - Austin 7 Adam Coakley - Mini Moke Ute Tony Kaefer - Ford Escort s/c Peter Bartold - Fiat Abarth
Tony Kaefer (Ford Escort - car 76)  talks to Bill Hunter about his car on Youtube .
Buchanan Special
The lovely little Buchanan (above) was caught out later in the afternoon -  its tyres losing traction on the cold wet track. The car went off the road and became badly damaged, and the driver required ambulance attention.   The big bangers - power and glory Jim Russell’s fabulous Ford V8 (Testa Plata)  roared up the hill in its usual style.   There were a few other big banger Fords present at the meeting, including Graeme Raper’s ex-Frank Walters/ George Reed-built SoCal Special - Car No 41, seen below.  
Above: Graeme Raper warms the engine of the SoCal special
    Car No 41 (above) represents a quality that typifies  the early post-war days of Australian Motor Racing. It was was written up in the "Sports Cars and Specials" magazine of November 1956 (Price 3 shillings)   The writer - John Bartlett - described it as one of the best-known and most consistent cars ever to race on Australian circuits. It was strongly built, could easily run at 120 mph, and often beat some of the most expensive imported cars.   SoCal was never a non starter, and never retired, in the 70 odd races that owner-driver Frank Walters entered during the two and a half years he owned the car. And in those races -- averaging one a fortnight -- Walters usually managed to finish in the money.   What is more remarkable still is the fact that he always drove the car to every meeting he competed in. He used the car as a personal transport around Sydney between meetings, and did all his own maintenance work on the SoCal in his home garage.   George Reed, Jesse  Griffiths, Frank Walters  &  Alex Xydias    George Reed built SoCal in 1948 using a Ford chassis, a Mercury V8 engine and a standard four box as a basis.   Jesse Griffiths took it over and put in a Wilson preselector box. This was not particularly unusual. Tom Sulman had one on his old Maserati.   Griffiths, who was not at the time a member of the Australian Sporting Car club, took the car to Mt Druitt. But since he was not permitted to race, he offered the car to Frank Walters to drive in the last race.   The cars were already going into the grid. Frank hopped in and drove to the end of the airstrip and back to the grid. That was all the practice he had in it. And SoCal won the race.   Frank was clearly impresed with the car, and managed to buy it. Soon after, he got in touch with an American V8 specialist, Alex Xydias, who ran the SoCal speed shop in Burbank, Southern California.  From then on Xydias actually developed the car by correspondence.   Xydias first sent out the Edelbrock head which was regarded as the basic step.   That worked fine but the stock ignition wouldn't handle anything past about 4200 revs per minute. The American sent out a Kong Guild ignition set up.  With this system Xydias said, the engine could go to 8000 rpm. Frank never exceeded 5500 rpm, and at that speed the engine was as 'clean as can be'.   With the Kong ignition such a success, Frank decided that a special camshaft would be in order. he drew a map of the Mountt Druitt circuit a and marked the rises and falls,  making a note of  the engine’s rpm at various points, the change points -- the lot.   Then he wrote a long description of every move he made during one lap of Mt Druitt. He posted this information to Xydias.   A new camshaft was made specially to match the car to Mt Druitt. Then Xydias completed the job by sending out an Edelbrock triple manifold setup.   All done by correspondence !   Reliabiity   One time, Frank drove the car to Bathurst, took off the windscreen, fitted the aero screen, turned the headlights around and went on the track.   He won one event and came third in the main event after leading up to the last lap, when the brakes failed at the top of the last straight and he had to coast down the straight round the corner and over the line. Two other cars passed him in the process.   He fixed the brakes in the pits, drove to Orange the next morning, ran sixth in his event and drove home to Sydney that night.   In all the SoCal took part in about 70 or 75 races . Frank won the Racing Car Championship at Mount 1954.
Friday, 03 June 2011 10:10
Published in Melbourne Desk

Part 2 of Magnificent Winton

Magnificent Winton - Part Two 1927 LANCIA MEADOWS single seater  - Rob Harcourt  Great Aussie Special - Car No 87
"The sight of a single seater chain gang Fraser Nash in full flight over the first crest at Collingrove Hillclimb, South Australia in 1961 inspired me to own a vintage racing car.      My dream of owning a Type 35 Bugatti, P3 Alfa Romeo or a Talbot Darraqc was not possible as I was a University student, so I decided to build the next best thing, a 'Vintage Special'.    In 1967 I found a car in Broken Hill called the Meadows Special, and then I acquired aLancia Lambda Special without an engine from Melbourne. I combined the best of each to create the Lancia Meadows and competed at the 1968 Collingrove Vintage Hillclimb.      My goal then was to beat the times of my earlier dream cars.  In the next 3 years I betteredthe times of the Bugatti, Alfa Romeo and the Talbot Darraqc culminating in setting a newhillclimb record at Collingrove for pre-War cars of 39.7 seconds, breaking that illusive 40 second barrier.    Over the past 40 years, the Lancia Meadows and I have travelled the eastern states ofAustralia; sometimes winning, sometimes not, but always enjoying the thrill of competing in a car that I have created.     The Lancia Meadows has competed at Collingrove , Mallala, AIR, Adelaide Grand Prix, Philip Island, Winton, Lakeland Hillclimb, Geelong Sprints, Leyburn Sprints, Mt Tarengarra Hillclimb, Amaroo, Oran Park, Eastern Creek, Wakefield Park, Grafton Hillclimb, Lakeside, Surfers Paradise, Albert Park, Picnic Point Hillclimb, Mt Cotton Hillclimb,Noosa Hillclimb, Rob Roy Hillclimb, Speed on Tweed, a sprint at the old Leyburn Circuit and has held the lap record for Group J at Amaroo, Oran Park, Lakeside and Eastern Creek.    In addition, both my sons have enjoyed competing in regularity events at the various circuits. One year at Philip Island, the Lancia did 256 kilometers in racing and regularity events.     The chassis is 5th series Lancia Lambda  front end, differential, gearbox and brakes are 7th series Lancia Lambda; the motor is a 1923 4-cylinder Meadows of 3.0 litre capacity.     2011 Historic Winton commemorates 40 years of circuit racing for myself and the Lancia Meadows."Dirt-track car once owned and driven by  Sir Jack Brabham (OBE) - Andrew Halliday
 Above: The signwriting on this car tells it all. Rob Harcourt's Lancia Meadows (#87) is  in the background.
.The little yellow car shown above was built in 1947 for American Johnny Schonberg who raced it for a short while before handing the wheel over to Brabham, who went on to race against other "greats" such as Revell, Brewer, Peers, McGovern, Beasley, Playfair, Discombe, Paynr and Bradshaw.    It was also driven to many wins by Len Golding and Murray Hoff. Among Brabham's numerous victories were the New South Wales title (1948/49 season) one Australian and two South Australian titles and even an Australian Hillclimb championship.       Originally powered by a 1000 cc JAP 8/80 it is presentled still as raced in the 50s and 60s with a 1400 cc Brabham copy of an 1100 cc JAP driving through a dog clutch and Amilcar differential.  The body is all steel.      Brabham raced the car at the Sportsground and Showground, Parramatta, Windsor, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and New Zealand.  Brabham in this car held a 12 hp record at the Sydney Showground for several decades.       The car was awarded Vintage Speed car Association restoration of the year 1990.  We were lucky enough to talk to its current owner - Andrew Halliday.    The photo above shows his car alongside Rob Harcourt's Lancia Meadows Special.(#87)Andrew has met Sir Jack, and when Motormarques asked him if he had raced the car himself. He answered that he only demonstrated it these days at vintage speedway meetings and occasional hillclimbs.    Andrew: We travel all over the country - New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Victoria. We go to Murray Bridge - all over the place.    MM: It's a very unusual looking engine.    Andrew: Yes. It's a 1400 cc engine copied from JAP 1100 cc castings, rocker boxes, etc.    MM: It sounds like it could put out plenty of power. What is its top speed?    Andrew: Oh, top speed is not its main feature - specially with with these small wheels.    MM: The wheels are unusual even for those days - wire wheels with narrow tyres..    Andrew: That and the fact that it was never built for flat-out sprint racing, it would be somewhere around 80 miles an hour. It was designed for dirt track racing. This is the original Jack Brabham car that he used to race before he got into what you might call the big-time when he used to race at Sydney Showgrounds. Car No 133 1932 MacDonberg Special – Keith Robertsmacdonberg_800 Here's a little synopsis from its present owner, Keith Roberts.     The MacDonberg Special was built in South Australia by the McDonough brothers during the 1930s to specifically race at Lobethal meetings. It was based on a 14hp Amilcar chassis and running gear plus a Wizard Smith Essex motor, and sported a most attractive Monoposto body.     At the end of WW2, after a rather unsuccessful racing career and a change of interest by the McDonoughs, the car was sold in a dismantled condition to John Opatt who rebuilt it; but again, it was no world-beater. The next owner solved the performance problem by replacing the Essex engine with a more powerful side valve Ford unit.     After passing through numerous hands, all the time being "bastardised", including a conversion to a two seater sports with disc wheels, it finally ended up in the late 1950s lying in a Victorian farmer's paddock, who had bought it solely for the V8 engine.     The present owner stumbled across the remains forty-plus years later and spent an arduous eight years bringing it back to original pre-War configuration, but retaining a V8 motor.     2009 Historic Winton was the first public outing for the MacDonberg Special in more than fifty years. Chris Terdich
Chris Terdich lives in Mount Eliza. His ‘toyshop’ is an old factory in close-by Mornington where he stores and does maintenance work on his 2 Wanderers (one of which was formerly owned by Lex Davison) and a newly-acquired MGB.      The German firm, Wanderer was established from 1911 as a builder of superb tools, bicycles, motorcycles and cars. In 1924 the firm produced the 1550 cc 4 cylinder car. Its engine had a cross-flow head with roller cam-followers and rockers.      With DKW, Horch and Audi, Wanderer became part of the Auto Union in 1932.      1n 1924 the Wanderer was said to have a top speed of 86 mph. But Chris has no desire to get his car up to more than 90 km/h – due in part to the fact that it has only rear wheel brakes that are 1” wide and 6” round. And despite its technical qualities, it is not what Chris would call a ‘hill stormer’.      Chris: Of course the main thing about maintaining a car like this is that things always need to be tightened. For example, the banjo on the differential came apart. It was quite easy to tighten up, but everything works itself loose.      MM: Is it a car with a lot of vibration?      Chris: No it's not bad actually. It rides surprisingly well. It just doesn't like going over things like potholes and speed humps especially on full lock. It's a good little car to drive but I must admit it has no power up hills.      MM: You mentioned something about an Austrian Alpine Rally.     Chris: Yes I have a book that includes the story of an Italian guy who used to race it in rallies and things like that. And he won an Austrian Alpine Rally which is 1000 km. That was in the early to mid 1920s. In fact the car had quite a racing history. But the history was governed by the fact that it was spend between the two world wars, and did not survive. But this is the only racing Wanderer in the world. It must never be locked away. Vaux3098nSinger_800  End - Magnificent Winton 2011    
Thursday, 02 June 2011 00:29
Published in Melbourne Desk

Magnificent Winton

Part One - Photographs by Martin Stubbs and Bill HunterStory and interviews - Bill Hunter
 .Winton Raceway is close to the New South Wales/Victoria border.The aerial photograph above gives an idea of the topography of the circuit. The Administration area and the garages are seen top centre. The start of the  'Long Circuit' can be seen leading out  from centre left of the picture. The photograph was taken from a single engine Cessna Skyhawk, flown by my grandson Patrick whilst we were on a flight from Moorabbin to Canberra in February this year. The aircraft was flying at rather less than 1000 feet at that time. I was too busy taking picturesto take notice of the  instruments.   Tthe Raceway is quite a distance from  Melbourne  --  Over 200 km,  Something like 600 km to Sydney.  Competitors and spectators came from Queenland, South Australia.Tasmania and Western Australia. One competitor came from Japan. In the past cars and drivers have come from further afield, including America, UK,and Europe. Whilst the course is brilliant, the event itself is even more remarkable .No fewer than eight cars racing there were built before 1930, some of which are featured In the story that follows. .I feel that, with the hullabaloo about the Formula One Grand Prix circus going on at the moment, it's good to reflect on the fact that all the hyped-up performance has its origins in meetings like this - where the excitement and wonder of the sport began.Note: In the series of photos below, click on each one to get an enlargement.   
alfa#97_S FNReplica_S 2MGs_S Austin7#44_S
Above: 1928 Alfa Romeo 6C 1934 Fraver Nash TT Replica Above: 1933 MG J2 Above:1931 Austin 7
stevens_S Macdonberg_S MG#54_S MG1931_S
Above: 1928 Austin 7 Special Above: Macdonberg Special Above : MG TC Special Above: 1931  MG
start_800More to follow: Click here for Part 2
Thursday, 05 May 2011 04:30
Published in Melbourne Desk

Myrniong Part 2

Lloyd Hocking - car number 105 Austin - Renault. "Renault Dauphine engine. 840 CC Gordini tune. It has had a fair bit taken off the head and it has only been ported and polished. It runs one great big carburettor. A big SU. It runs on heavy oil because if you don't it develops a real flat spot because the piston rises to quickly. I have had the car for 23 or 24 years."   MM:- It's a good-looking machine.   "Yes, yeah. David Lowe's wife used to race it back in the 1950s. It is extremely reliable, but having said that it will probably conk out. It revs very freely. Up to about eight, eight and a half. I bought it in pieces years ago for $3000. I have had about $20,000 worth of fun out of it."    
  John Hardy - Renault Alpine. Car number 110. He gives me the Renno Alpeen pronunciation of people trying to get the sound right. "I just say Alpine Rennoh. We're in Australia now not France."  MM: - The engine looks rather hotter than I would have expected.  "It is a full works group 4 specification car. It was never run by the factory. It was sold with a heavier body than the works car."  MM: - What's the body made of?  "Fibreglass. It has a central backbone chassis. The engine is a Marc Minutet(?) - Alpine's specialist engine builder. The Gordini engine had a 125 hp engine: this one has 165."  MM: - Was that originally a Gordini design head and all that sort of stuff?  "Yeah, but Minutet developed it. It runs a 11.3:1 compression with significantly more domed pistons, bigger valves. Makes maximum horsepower at 7800. Today I am using eight grand and a couple of times. I go to Phillip Island and Sandown and I run some of the Rob Roy historic events, and I will also do Mount Tarrengower in October. We were in France last July/August. I had long service leave from work that started in 1976. We need 12,000 km through France Italy and the UK. It was different this time because last time we went I spent such a long time at Dieppe where the Alpine factory is located. In Paris I went out to Billancourt drove on their track one of the Alpine mid engined Megane Sports - a 3 1/2 litre, 390 hp, six, under the care of Jean- Pascal. I had met him at the last Grand Prix at Adelaide in about 1995." 
nigelsinger270 photon270 geermans270
Nigel Gray - Singer Dick O'Keefe - Photon Ted Geermans - Lagonda Rapier
  jagandam_800 Don Green approaches the steep section of the hill in his Jaguar MK2 - apparently not noticing water in the dam for the first time in years
Monday, 11 April 2011 22:55
Published in Melbourne Desk

Tethercars in Melbourne

From: Warren Evans   I first saw tether cars run In Melbourne in the mid 1950’s at the Exhibition Building in Carlton at a model fair . The cars were run In The Great Hall.The sound stayed in my memory  until 10 years ago when I read an article in “Rod And Custom” Magazinethat triggered my memory .Since then I have taken on the tethered car hobby and now have over 30 cars that  inlude Doolings. McCoys, Bunches, Kings, Morrisons, B.B.Corns, Satans, Dallaires, Rowells, Popp and several customs and one-offs.I find It an Interesting hobby and tried to get a trrack going in Melbourne .But to no avail  The only people interested had nomoney or were not prepared to put up any. as I was.They have no real Interest in the hobby but only want to make a quid out  of it. Here are some photos of  my collection of tether cars .and my 1938 Hinman Sprint Car.I also have a half built tether car portable track, 35 foot In diameter.I will keep In touch as I hope to have the track running  later this year. 
                                                         Above: The 1938 Hinman Sprint Car.
Saturday, 09 April 2011 20:54
Published in From France

Reims Historique - 2011

Parc des expositions de ReimsPhotos de J-P Bush"A Reims cette année les clubs respirent la passion et les prix "provinciaux" qui me conviennent mieux que la folie des grandeurs qui gagne Rétromobile."
Above: Fiat 514 Berline 4 cyl, 1438 cc. 82 km/h (1939 - 1932)
The Reims Classic Car Salon is held annually, and is one of the biggest of its kind in Europe. Featured this year, among the great names of French motoring history, were 10 'marques disparues' (classic cars that have now been relegated to history).  Displays included cars for sale,spare parts, swap meet, models, precious books and documentation.   As our headline suggests, many visitors appreciated the laid-back provincial style (and prices) that seemed lacking at the massive Rétromobile showheld earlier in the year in Paris.   
Le Salon du véhicule champenois de collection de Reims est l'un des pricnipaux du genre en Europe. Il permet de découvrir les grandes marques de véhicules de collection, des pièces détachées, des miniatures, de la documentation et une bourse d'échanges. Cette année seront aussi mises à l'honneur 10 marques disparues. "Belles et bielles" sera le thème de cette édition 2011, qui aura lieu les 12 et 13 mars au Parc des expositions de Reims.  
Delahaye Tourer 134 N - Phillippe GAGNE. (voir en dessous) Citroen B2
Donnet Zedel CI6 Donnet Zedel engine
In 1934 Delahaye presented two new cars, the four-cylinder 12CV(2150CC) and the six cylinder 18 CV(3200CC).    Delahaye was successful in racing and the touring cars sold very well. Hotchkiss took over Delahaye in 1954 and built only lorries. 
La Citroen B2 - 1920. Caroserie: Torpédo - 4 places.Motorisation: 1452 cm2. Vitesse 75 km/h. 20 cv @ 2100 tr/min. Boite:3 vitesses. Absence de freins a l'avant. Allumage par magneto. Pas d'amortisseurs. (!)                              
Citroen B2 -1920. Body - 4 seater Torpedo. Engine: 1452 cc. Speed 75 km/h. 20 bhp @ 2100 rpm. 3 speed gearbox. Magneto ignition.No shock absorbers. No front brakes.Donnet Zedel. (1924 - 1934) France-Switzerland. This company had its origins with Zucher-Luthi, a motorcycle manufacturer . The  first Zedel voiturette was a 1128 cc  machine built in Pontarlier (Fr) in 1906.  A 10 hp (1791 cc) 4 cylinder car made its appearance in 1908. In 1921, Zedel merged with the French company Donnet to become Donnet-Zedel. Ultimately the company was sold to Simca.
Issue de Zédel, la firme produit des voitures légères de 2, 4 et 6 cylindres. La CI-6 (1924) fut une 4 cylindres de 2120 cm3, 34 cv, 4 vitesses. La marque fut rachetée par Simca..
CGV - 1901 - 1906 Licorne
 Au dessus (gauche): La C.G.V - Charron, Girardot & Voigt. Son moteur est de 4 cylindres en T, 4900 cc. Boite 4 vitesses. Transmission par chaines. Carrosserie: Coupe trois quarts. Vitesse en palier: 65 Km/h.Les fondateurs de cette société :Charron, Girardot et Voigt étaient d’anciens coureurs chez Panhard qui ont construit de puissantes voitures de 4 à 6 cylindres. Ils construisirent même une voiture de compétition de 7,2 litres de cylindrée avec un moteur 8 cylindres en ligne. CGV fabriqua aussi une auto mitrailleuse. La voitue à droit est une Licorne. (1901-1950). Succédant à la marque Corré, La Licorne produit, à Courbevoie, des voitures de tourisme de 5 à 14 cv, des camions (3 500 kg), des autocars, des tracteurs agricoles, des véhicules militaires. Au volant d’une Licorne, Michel Doré remporta la 1re place de sa catégorie (1 500 cm3) sur le circuit de Gueux derrière Estancelin qui pilotait une Bugatti. La marque participa quatre fois aussi aux 24 heures du Mans.
.The CGV shown above (left) is a CGV (Charron, Girardot & Voigt) Its engine is an unusual T head - requiring two sets of pushrods.It has a 4 speed gearbox, and the transmission is by chains. It has a top speed of around 65 km/h.The founders of the Charron, Girardit & Voigt ran 4 and 6 cyl. racing cars for Panhard who also built a straight 8 motor of 7.2 litres. The car on the right is a Licorne, that was built in Courbevoie. At the time Licorne was producing 5 and 14 hp touring cars as well as 3.5 tonne lorries, buses tractors and military vehicles. A driver named Michel Doré had a class win for 1.5 litre cars at Gueux behind Etancelin driving a Bugatti. Licorne contested Le Mans 4 times. 
Friday, 25 March 2011 21:43
Published in Melbourne Desk

Phillip Island 2011

Fine weather and fabulous cars attract big crowds to Phillip Island Classic Photographs - Lucas and Bill Hunter
  Above: Sulman Singer and Bugatti - true 'Classics'. (Photo taken early Saturday morning) 
Dale Parsell - Alvis Silver Eagle Nigel Gray - Singer Special Thomas Benson - BMH Spl P. McKnight leads Bob Boast MG
Dale Parsell  is the very active Secretary of the Alvis Car Club of Viictoria.Nigel Gray has owned and driven the Singer Special for about 30 years. Born in Melbourne,  he was awarded AM 1978, and AO 1994. President, International Union Against Cancer 1994-98. His work in Cancer research is acknowledged world-wide.Thomas Benson's yellow car is nicknamed 'Comic Book.' It's a fast goer and sounds anything but comic.Peter McKnight 's car is a 1956 Aarons Lotus Mk 9.  Behind him is Bob Boast driving the MG TC Bruderlin & Thomas Special  
John Hardy - 1967 Alpine Renault Flavio Puccinelli - Lancia Stratos John Briggs (NSW) 1986  5800 cc Veskanda. Greg Russel - Alfa Giulia overtakes Grant Cowie - Frazer Nash
Peter Giddings - Maserati 250 F
Above: Peter Giddings - Maserati 250F - with power on, coming out of T 2
  Born in Eastbourne, England, but now living in California, Peter became interested in sports and competition cars in the late ‘50s.   His first car was a 1932 BSA air cooled three wheeler which he managed to qualify as a “motor cycle combination”, as he was not yet old enough to have a drivers licence. Graduating from the BSA to a Brooklands Riley 9, Peter then owned a succession of chain driven 1920s Frazer Nashes, one of which he restored in the living room of his home!   Subsequently Peter has rebuilt/supervised the restoration of a number of historic landmark racing cars, including the 1924 Lyons GP Bugatti, the Frazer Nash Union Special, several Monza Alfas, two Talbot Lago GP cars, two dual supercharged 8 cylinder Alfa Romeo Tipo B “P3s”, two Tipo C 8C-35s, a Bugatti Type 59, and a Maserati 8CM and Maserati 250F. Click here for Part 2
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 05:04
Published in From France

Cugnot Steam Carriage at Rétromobile

The Cugnot Steam Carriage at RétromobileJ-P Bush and Bill Hunter  
The First Automobile .   Roger Bacon, (1214-94) the English philosopher and scientist predicted that "one day we shall construct chariots with incredible speed without the aid of any animal." It might be remembered that Bacon spent 10 years of his life in prison accused of magic in a pact with the devil.   Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) made sketches of mechanically-propelled vehicles. In the Leonardo Museum in Amboise, France, you can see a model of a clockwork-powered vehicle that he designed..   The inventor of the first mechanically-propelled vehicle that actually worked was a Frenchman - Captain Nicolas Joseph Cugnot of the French Artillery. By 1765 he had built a steam driven carriage capable of carrying three passengers at the speed of just over 2 miles an hour.   He was granted funds from the Minister for War to build a steam carriage capable of hauling artillery pieces. Its construction was undoubtedly made possible by a recently-invented boring machine which permitted, for the first time, the construction of accurately machined cylinders.   By 1769 or 1770 Cugnot's massive wooden tricycle was ready. It had a double walled boiler suspended ahead of the single front wheel from which steam passed to twin vertical cylinders and which moved pistons connected by conrods and cranks to the single front wheel.*  * The transmission to the driving wheel was by connecting rods which actuated a pair of ratchet mechanisms, each turning a notched wheel on either side of the wheel. (from Tony Press) This vehicle weighed 5 tonnes and had a maximum speed of around 3 mph. Its first tests were successful, but later it collided with and demolished itself and a stone wall.