Archive for the ‘cars’ category

Georges Guynemer (1894-1917)

November 9, 2014

Something different for Remembrance Day…

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Guynemer’s memorial in Compiègne, Picardy, France

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GEORGES GUYNEMER is my new hero!  I hadn’t heard of him until we chanced on this magnificent Art Deco memorial in Compiègne — his adopted home town — on our way home from holiday in August this year.  Googling revealed that he was an extraordinary WW1 air ace, having shot down over 50 enemy aircraft (using his favourite attack technique of flying straight at the enemy and ‘not using aerobatics unless absolutely necessary’), crashed and survived seven times (despite not having a parachute), and disappeared in action in 1917 at the age of only 22.

Having discovered him, we were then haunted by the man.  In the Compiègne Transport Museum, there was his car (or what’s left of it)…

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And in the Armistice Museum (the famous railway carriage) outside Compiègne, there were the propeller and some burnt remains of his favourite plane, ‘Vieux Charles’;  and in the rooms full of old stereoscopes, what sh0uld be the first image in the ‘Aircraft’ one but ‘Guynemer preparing for takeoff’…

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(This is a different picture of him)

Great hero, amazing that he is not better known outside France.  Besides Compiègne, there are also memorials to him at the Panthéon in Paris and at Poelkapelle in Flanders, where he disappeared (French schoolchildren are told that he ‘flew so high he could not come down again’).

WWI-FR-Guynemer

More info here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Guynemer

http://acepilots.com/wwi/fr_guynemer.html

 

We shall remember them…

Maserati 3500 GT

September 20, 2012

Spotted in Winchelsea (of all places) last week.  Registered in Belgium (of all places…)

This has instantly gone to very near the top of my own personal ranking of Most Beautiful Cars of All Time (see my previous posts — What’s the Most Beautiful Car of All Time and Most Beautiful… Part 2 )

Didn’t get a close look, but it appears to be a Maserati 3500 GT .

Breathtaking.

Facel Vega HK500 — again

September 18, 2011

Here’s the Facel Vega I spotted on the M25 in July — as promised in my previous post on the subject (and following on from my earlier posts on The Most Beautiful Cars of All Time  and The Most Beautiful Cars… Part 2).

Beautiful!  Do you recognise yourself?  Would be interesting to hear from you.  There are evidently a lot of Facel Vegas lurking in the UK!  I have yet to see one at a Classic Car Show, but perhaps we don’t go to the right ones 🙂

Facel Vega HK500

July 4, 2011

Following on from my previous posts about The Most Beautiful Cars of All Time  and The Most Beautiful Cars… Part 2, it was nice to come across a picture of a 1958 Facel Vega HK500 in Saturday’s Telegraph.  Here’s a link to the article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/columnists/mike-rutherford/8604077/Mr-Money-Buying-classic-cars-as-an-investment.html

Oddly, the picture in print on Saturday — a pretty daffodil-yellow car — was not the same as the one shown online (and above).

Strange that the car is expected to fetch only £20,000-£30,000 at auction.  Perhaps it’s a rust bucket?  I would have thought its rarity value is such that any example would have made more.  Perhaps it will!

musical taxi (happy birthday Chopin!)

March 5, 2010

Who but the Poles…?

Happy birthday to Frederic Chopin, fellow Piscean!

snapped in Pond Road, London SE3

photos of Italy

August 10, 2008

Following my wonderful jaunt to play Rossini’s La Cenerentola in Umbria, here is a photo album for your edification and enjoyment.  Click on the link below:

http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/59739568

album by PhotoBox

The Most Beautiful Car of All Time (Part 2)

March 23, 2008

AstonFurther to my previous post on ‘What’s the Most Beautiful Car of All Time?’, The (London) Telegraph has finally published the results of its survey.  Click HERE to read, and view their Top 100.

It also asks for nominations for ‘The Ugliest Cars of All Time’, but I really don’t think I want to go there…yeucch!

 

 

Oddly, the bottom end of their Top 100 ‘Most Beautiful’ seem to be in reverse alphabetical order, so I suspect a lot of lumping together rather than actual counting of votes.

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Needless to say I am devastated and disappointed that NO HONDAS made it into the top 100!  Pah!  Or that Renault Floride.

And no vintage Bentley?? vintagebentley.jpg

Still, it’s good to see many of the ones I fancied, including Facel Vega, Cord 810, and various iconic Aston Martins

Plus the Lancia Stratos, a little gem I’d forgotten about. 

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And I was delighted to see the Citroen DS at No. 2 (The Telegraph comments:  ‘Did we expect to find a family saloon breaking the sports car stranglehold at the top of the list? None bar this.’

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And at Number One… the E-type Jaguar!  Of course.  What else?

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pictures stolen from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ and various other unackowledged sources — sorry!

What’s the most beautiful car of all time?

November 8, 2007

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The (London) Telegraph has been inviting suggestions for ‘the most beautiful car of all time’.  If  you are at all interested in cars, or aesthetics, or the history of design, it’s worth a look — here’s the link:  What’s the most beautiful car of all time?

bentley.jpgThere is obviously a UK bias, but American cars and exotics are in there too (Cord 810, Facel Vega…).  I must say I was genuinelycitroends.jpg surprised to find myself (so far) in a minority of one for proposing the name of Honda;  the general consensus seems to include Citroen DS, Jaguar E-type, vintage Bentleys. and various Aston Martins, Lotuses (Loti?) and Alfa Romeos (Romei?) past and present – none of which I would disagree with.

What emerges is that it’s difficult to separate abstract ‘beauty’ from other factors such as nostalgia, envy or pride of ownership.  One or two commentators point out that there are very few new cars in the list, in this age of computer-aided design.  Speaking as someone who likes to drive a car that ‘looks like a car, not a jelly-mould or a steam iron’, I second that. 

That new Alfa does look nice though.

There are some odd, and downright silly, suggestions (Morris Minor?  Renault 4?), and some that stir forgotten memories. std_61_renault_floride.jpg

Oh – I’ve just thought of that beautiful Renault in the 1960s – what was it called?  Floride?  Caravelle?

But I think my favourite has to be ‘Any car driven by my wife!!’

Aaaahh…

Honda — perpetual motion machine

October 27, 2007

my car!(tempting fate, I know!)

Just got the Huge Friendly Giant back from its MoT ( = annual roadworthiness test) which it passed without a hitch, with well over 101,000 miles on the clock.  (As the man at Elite Motors said:  ‘It’s a Honda… if it fails, it’ll be on something silly like a light bulb.’)

This is just to express my admiration to Honda for making such a beautifully engineered and reliable machine.  When I bought this Prelude two years ago, I was worried about its high mileage:  ‘What do you call high mileage?’ said a friend. ‘83,000 miles.’  ‘My Honda’s done 140,000 and it NEVER goes wrong!’  (Famous last words… eventually hers lost its brakes and shunted the car in front.  But she had already decided she’d like a new one by then anyway.)

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For its 100,000th birthday I treated it to a service and a new pair of chrome exhaust trims (the previous ones having, er, mysteriously disappeared).

Of course there are (more…)