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  1. #1
    Milner for PM!
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    London Concours 2019

    Not too much to report on from this event, which isn't all that surprising considering how concours rarely spare much thought for American or modified cars, but the London Concours, to its credit, does give them a look-in. As concours go, I don't believe the London Concours is anything special when compared to the Concours of Elegance and others that I've only read about, such as Pebble Beach and Villa d'Este. The attraction of concours for me is the amassing of dozens of coachbuilt whimsies from the pre-war years, the fantastical styling exercises of the '50s and '60s and thundering racing cars, the last group preferably being in preserved rather than restored condition.

    The London Concours offers precious little in that regard, seeming, instead, to have plucked all its exhibits from The Big Book of Dream Cars. I've always thought the number of modern supercars far too high in proportion to pre-1970 cars, though that seemed to have been addressed slightly this year, but since a ticket costs the same as it does for the Hampton Court Concours, I would expect to see cars of the same quality as Hampton Court delivers. This year's London Concours, to give you an idea, featured two Jaguar C-Types, two E-Types (both Series I), two Dino 246 GTs (one modified), two Lancia Aurelia B20 GTs (one modified), two very similar Citroën DS23 Pallases, two identical Ferrari 288 GTOs and seven near-identical Lamborghini Miuras. By concours standards, that's all fairly unremarkable even without the repetition. Still, it did have an impressive assembly of American and modified cars, so I didn't mind checking them out and I'm sure you won't mind viewing the photos.


    Not a concours entrant but in fact displayed with a sponsor, this 1978 Lincoln Town Car was sent for some cosmetic surgery by Silcco when it was new. The Southern and International Lincoln Custom Co. completed 12 such conversions between 1977 and 1979, of which I understand four survive. The conversion most significantly involved removing the roof, making the car a convertible, with a steel spaceframe built into the area underneath where the rear screen used to be. A Continental kit was created for the spare tyre while, bizarrely, a false spare tyre hump was worked into the shape of the boot lid, giving the illusion of a second spare. The rear wings are fibreglass and the headlight covers were by customiser Les Dunham, in the Harlem pimp style popularised by the 1972 film Super Fly.


    Last year's concours winner, the prodigious 1911 Fiat S76 with its four-cylinder, 28.4-litre engine, was invited back, inexplicably and underwhelmingly displayed on a low turntable, though the small pot of complimentary ballpoint pens promoting the turntable company was a generous touch. Stuck somewhat out on a limb, the poor old Titan didn't seem to attract much attention this year. Anyway, the Fiat was constructed to snatch the Land Speed Record title from the Blitzen Benz and it achieved a speed 132.27mph at Ostend in December, 1913, but was unable to complete its return run; it thus became the fastest car in the world but only in an unofficial capacity. Two S76s were built, with Duncan Pittaway acquiring the chassis of one and the engine of the other to restore the car in time for the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed.


    This year's overall winner was the 1952 Jaguar C-Type which Stirling Moss drove to victory at a sports car race at Reims in 1952 - the first victory for a car with disc brakes.


    Personally, though, I much preferred the battle-scarred looks of this 1953 C-Type


    1949 Ferrari 166 Inter Touring, one of the earliest offerings from the Maranello marque


    1951 Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica

  2. #2
    Milner for PM!
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    Invicta was a short-lived marque founded by Noel Macklin and Oliver Lyle and extant from 1925 to 1950. Their early low-chassis cars were advertised as being good for the ton and this 1934 S-Type is reputed to have been sold new to an Indian prince. Apart from the fact that it was discovered in India in 1965, I can't present any evidence to suggest that that's anything other than local hearsay, however.


    Understatedly elegant A.C. 16/80 from 1937. I've recently been looking into the business of Kevill-Davies & March, who designed sporting bodies for various 1930s chassis and I believe the 16/80 was one of the models that benefited from their pen. The March of the name was Lord Freddie March, the aristocratic enthusiast who kicked off racing at Goodwood.


    1933 S.S.1 was the immediate predecessor to Jaguar. This is just the kind of rakish, swoopy Art Déco frivolity I expect to see at a concours. The interior was splendid, with bold sunburst patterns on the door cards capturing the spirit of the time perfectly.


    The 'Made in Germany' class was irritatingly Yuppie-orientated, except for a Porsche 904 GTS, a Mercedes-Benz 300SL 'Gullwing' and this 1938 B.M.W. 328. It's not at all hard to picture it competing in some pre-war Continental road race.


    So many Vintage Bentleys have had their beautiful saloon or tourer bodies lost forever in the process of creating a long succession of identical Le Mans replicas which are, at best, unimaginative and, at worst, a waste of unique and vastly more interesting passenger bodies. Developed by 'Bentley Boy' Sir Henry 'Tim' Birkin, only 50 4˝-Litres were originally fitted with Amherst Villiers superchargers in order to homologate five for Le Mans, though many replicas have been built. This was no. 25 of the original 50, but annoyingly it was one of five to be fitted with a saloon body (by Freestone & Webb in this instance) which it has since lost.


    I've featured this here before and outlined its history, but it's such a beautiful car that I see no harm in a recap. This 1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50 h.p. Silver Ghost torpedo phaeton was ordered new by Rolls-Royce Bombay to be used for trials, with Rolls-Royce's General Manager Claude Johnson naming it Taj Mahal with its destination in mind. The Maharajah of Nabha bought the car late in 1913 and it stayed in his family for over 60 years before the present family acquired it, importing it in the 1990s. During the Second World War, the Indian Air Force commandeered the car, painted it battleship grey and fitted truck wheels. It has a tropical wiring system to cope with India's heat, a high body for the uneven terrain and chain-mail extensions to the mudguards.

  3. #3
    Milner for PM!
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    The collection of noted motoring journalist and Americana enthusiast Julian Balme, who may also be of interest to fans of punk and new wave music, having designed various vinyl sleeves including Madness's One Step Beyond, The Clash's Bankrobber and Rock the Casbah and Adam and the Ants' Kings of the Wild Frontier, is where Yanks and rods enter the equation. Balme doesn't own any modern cars, which makes him quite a cool bloke, though it helps that he's probably quite wealthy...


    1970 Lotus Elan Plus 2 sometimes fulfils daily-driver duties


    Triumph TR4s, like Balme's 1962 example, are commonplace enough in road and competition trim, though it's not often you'll see one finished in the style of a period S.C.C.A. racer


    '64 Ford Falcon Sprint


    '64 Ford Galaxie 500


    Julio Balmez's '54 Lincoln Cosmopolitan Wooly Bully competed in a re-run of Carrera Panamericana road race

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2g9UBJw]
    Kandee Twist, a 1957 Ford Del Rio Ranch Wagon gasser, is a familiar sight at Gasser Circus meetings at Santa Pod


    Hailed by many as the most beautiful pre-war American car, and Frank Lloyd Wright was a fan, this Lincoln Continental is one of 350 built during 1940, the first year of production. I generally have little appreciation for Modernist architecture, but I will gladly make exceptions where I see genuine merit and I wouldn't protest if I were told to go and live in Fallingwater with one of these in the garage. Mind you, we were lucky to see Balme's one seeing as it has a terrible reputation for overheating.


    I cannot suppress my appreciation for this '32 Roadster resto-rod, which I'm sure must be a survivor from the '60s or '70s. Balme bought it in 2014, and a handful of dash plaques show that it was still attending rod runs in the States in 2013. The paint's an unusual colour but it looks so good for the patina it's acquired, as do the bolt-on wires, and I haven't got to the interior yet...


    Phwooooaaarrrr, yes! One of the nicest rods I can remember seeing.
    Last edited by Nigel Incubator-Jones; 07-06-19 at 04:57 PM.

  4. #4
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
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    LORD HAVE MERCY! how in the Wide World of Sports did that 'lincoln' get in there? How did it even get in the country...? Otherwise, looks like some good stuff there.
    Oh...and that Lotus +2 [which is technically an 'S' model and probably a S130 depending on year] is very nice; actually, this is the best car Lotus ever made if one were actually to use them for a car...really should be blue so it would look like mine.
    Last edited by malamute john; 13-06-19 at 05:00 PM.

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