1929 Alfa Romeo Grand Prix - 2007 H&H Classic Auctions (archived: 22 Jan 2007)
COMPETITON CARS INCLUDING 1929 GRAND PRIX ALFA UNDER STARTERSÃ¢â‚¬™ ORDERS FOR H&H MARCH 1 SALE
Following another milestone year in which they set numerous world records for cars and motorcycles, H&H Classic Auctions are starting 2007 in style with a sale at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 1. Set within the magnificent surroundings of the Centaur Complex, it will be headlined by a 1929 Grand Prix Alfa Romeo.
Grand Prix Alfa
The 6C 1750 Super Sport 3rd Series Supercharged Alfa Romeo enjoyed an illustrious start in life, winning the 1929 Irish Grand Prix Eireann Cup at Phoenix Park in the hands of former Russian Imperial Guard officer Boris Ivanowski. The Hon. Anthony Brunner had registered UU 79 only a matter of days before he made a leasing agreement with the British concessionaire for Alfa Romeo, F.W. Stiles, for the car to be raced by Ivanowski. The Russian drove to victory at an astonishing average of 76.4 mph round a circuit made hazardous by melting tar and acute corners, beating the Bentleys of Britons Glen Kidston and Henry Birkin into second and third place respectively.
After its success, the car was returned to Brunner in the exact state that it had raced and finished in Ireland. He is believed to have used it for light competition during the s, and A.T. Ã¢â‚¬Å“GoldieÃ¢â‚¬ÂÂ Gardiner drove the car at the Brighton Speed Trials in the mid-s.
The current owners Ã¢â‚¬' renowned Alfa Romeo collectors and racers Ã¢â‚¬' acquired this important piece of motor racing history some four decades ago. Since then they have had to replace the crankshaft and sundry other engine internals, but have wisely left the bodywork and trim as untouched as possible in order to preserve the carÃ¢â‚¬™s unique provenance. UU 79 has been a regular competitor at all manner of events both at home and abroad for the past 30-plus years. This exceptionally original road racer is in timewarp condition and carries an estimate of £400,000-450,000.
Other racy offerings
Other competition cars lining up on the grid for March 1 include a sprightly 1936 Supercharged MG PB with period Brooklands and Goodwood racing history (estimate: £68,000-75,000), a 1969 Sturdgess SL1/3 sports racer, one of just three such cars commissioned (estimate: £28,000-34,000), a 1963 Merlyn MK4A Sports Racer (estimate: £65,000-70,000), a 1957 Elva MK2 Spider Sports Racer (estimate: £45,000-50,000) and a 1951 Joe Potts F3 Single-Seater that is expected to fetch £8,000-10,000.
With ideal timing for those looking towards a spring or summer wedding, a whole fleet of specialist wedding cars is also on offer at Cheltenham on
March 1. No less than nine are available, ranging from a 1966 MKII Jaguar (estimate: £12,000-14,000) to a very fine Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III (estimate: £22,000-26,000).
The wedding ‘bellesÃ¢â‚¬™ also include some American classics, for those happy couples looking for transatlantic style for their big day. The very beautiful 1931 Ford Model A Victoria Coupe carries an estimate of £14,000-16,000, while the 1963 Buick Riviera is likely to make £13,000-15,000.
The eclectic wedding collection even includes a black stretched Range Rover. Believed to have cost £139,000 when new in 1994, it was built for the Sultan of Brunei and features all the creature comforts one might expect. It has covered just 14,000 miles, is virtually as good as new and has an estimate of £24,000-28,000.
Further information on this and all other H&H sales can be found at
www.classic-auctions.com or by calling +44 (0)1925 730630.
1929 Alfa Romeo 1750 Drop Head (archived: 22 Nov 2006)
1929 Alfa Romeo James Young model 1750 drop head convertible. A wonderfully original car with leather upholstery. Runs and drives perfectly. Just purchased by us out of a European collection. One of the best original 1750 Alfas in existance.
1929 Alfa Romeo 6C Gran Sport 1750 maroon (archived: 28 Jul 2000)
1929 Amilcar GC SS (archived: 03 Jun 2010)
1929 Auburn Race Car (archived: 18 Mar 2008)
1929 Auburn Race Car
95 hp Lycoming motor.
Straight eight, 4900 cc with rare Ricardo high-compression head.
The entire running gear is genuine ‘29 Auburn apart from the front shockies - 3 speed Warner Muncie gearbox, Columbia rear axle, Dayton wire wheels, Schebler twin throat carburettor.
Great effort was made to locate quality Michelin tyres.
This vehicle was converted from a four door sedan into a race car in 1960 in New Zealand and then during the next decade, raced with considerable success considering the huge weight of the machine. During conversion, the chassis was cut in half and the rear end turned upside down, make the diff underslung which unwittingly was identical to a 1929 one-off factory speedster and the ‘29 Trexler Special which competed in the 1930 Indianapolis 500. This vehicle, unlike the other American pair, also has its engine and gearbox lowered to promote faster cornering.
Won Fastest Time of the Day - FTD, and best local entrant, in the many New Zealane grass racing track meets, hillclimbs, and standing quarters it entered in.
1929 Bentley Tourer (archived: 18 Jan 2008)
Sold For: $800,000
Specifications: 110hp, 4,398 cc single overhead camshaft inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, front suspension via beam axle and semi-elliptical leaf springs, and rear suspension via live axle and semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 126'
After engine trouble in 1962, the 4 1/2-liter engine was rebuilt by Ralph Buckley of Antique Auto Shop in Northfield, New Jersey. Mr. Kimes owned the car at least through until 1978, working on it himself, and frequently ordering spare parts from Britain ? gaskets from Hoffman and Burton, and rubber seals from Creech Coachtrimming Centre in London. More recently, XF3505 was owned by Mr. Frank Alloca of New Jersey, who enjoyed it for many years after its tenure with Mr. Kimes. Within the last three years, the car has benefited from an extensive mechanical reconditioning, accumulating less than 1,000 miles since.
1929 Bentley Blower - Ralph Lauren Collection (archived: 16 Nov 2009)
1929 Bentley Speed Six - Greatest Car Series (archived: 10 Jul 2004)
Driving Today: Greatest Car
Bentley Speed Six
By Jack Nerad for Driving Today
Somewhere in Motor Racing Heaven W.O. Bentley must be smiling, because, after more than half a century, the company that bears his name (and his bother's) has been liberated from Rolls-Royce. Of course, neither famed British marque is independent. BMW owns Rolls-Royce, while Volkswagen is the caretaker of the Bentley brand, but there is no doubt that W.O. would prefer that circumstance to the previous administration in which Bentleys were little more than Rolls-Royces without the famed radiator shell.
W.O. (he hated his first name Walter) and Henry Royce battled for supremacy in the British luxury car market for more than a decade, and by an odd coincidence, both began their careers as railway apprentices. It is said that Bentley didn't care much at all for automobiles as a youth, and instead he pursued his dream of building big locomotives. Only his hobby of motorcycle racing turned him from his passion for railroad engineering and moved him toward enthusiasm for internal combustion engines.
Bentley rode a Rex at Brooklands in 1909, and then climbed astride an American-built Indian as his racing exploits broadened. Finally, in 1910 he got the car bug, buying a Riley V-twin that year, and in the Teens he purchased two Sizaire-Naudins.
Quickly he let his railway apprenticeship fade, and for a time he worked as a mechanic at the National Motor Cab Company, and then he joined his brother, H.M., as a principal in a DFP automobile dealership in London.
Unlike most salespeople, he took a genuine interest in the mechanical aspects of the automobiles he was selling, and soon he was modifying them to produce better performance. One of his neatest tricks was to substitute lighter aluminum-copper alloy pistons for the DFP's standard-issue pistons. Later he reconfigured the car's camshaft for racing versions of the car as well.
The success with DFP was short-lived, however, because World War I intervened. In uniform, Bentley redesigned the French Clerget rotary aircraft engine, equipping it with (not surprisingly) aluminum pistons, and the re-done engine delivered significantly better performance. In his honor, the new engines he labored on were designated BR1 and BR2 (for 'Bentley Rotary') and Bentley was promoted to lieutenant.
When the war was over and he and the service parted company, Bentley rejoined his brother in the car dealership. But after the success of his mechanical exploits while in the military, he yearned to do more than peddle cars; he wanted to build them.
In the summer of 1919 he formed a company called Bentley Motors Ltd to do just that. Teaming with Frank Burgess, a former Humber competition driver who had become well-known for drawing up the dual overhead cam engine that competed ably in the pre-war Tourist Trophy races, Bentley conceived a motor car that was quite advanced for the day.
Understandably, the chassis design owed much to Humber, but the engine was significantly different and the heart of the new car. Though the engine had but one camshaft (driven via a shaft from the crank), it did offer four valves per cylinder, quite a novelty in 1919. It used two plugs per cylinder, a more common practice at the time, and its crankcase was cast of light alloy rather than being a steel stamping for weight savings and rigidity. Block and head of the engine were cast in a piece, and the engine had an exceptionally long stroke of 5.8-inches and a 3.1-inch bore. (This odd combination of bore and stroke was no doubt influenced by British tax laws which calculated taxable horsepower by extrapolating from the engine's bore, ignoring the stroke altogether.)
Bentley broke with tradition by calling his creation a '3-Litre.' At that time it was common practice for British auto manufacturers to label their cars with their horsepower (the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost was the officially called the 40/50, for example), but the calculated horsepower for the Bentley was just 15.9, which would have been marketing suicide and was inaccurate on top of it. Actual horsepower from the sophisticated engine was more than double that figure.
Aside from the engine, the Bentley 3-Litre was conventional in design. Substantial girders joined by four cross members served as the frame. Semi-elliptical springs were used at all four corners, and the original wheelbase was 117.5-inches.
The 3-Litre used a four-speed gearbox operating through a rather un-modern cone-type clutch. The right-hand mounted gearbox lever was most often affixed exterior of the bodywork in what was obviously a right-hand-drive vehicle. Until 1924, two-wheel brakes were used, and then the Bentley works added drums to the front wheels as well.
The sad fact that dogged Bentley Motors Ltd throughout its life was its weak financial situation. The company was started on less than $50,000, and it approached automobile manufacture with a cottage industry style. The catch-as-catch-can nature of his manufacturing operation didn't stop Bentley from going racing, however. In 1922 his three-car team won the team prize at the well-respected Tourist Trophy race on the Isle of Man, with individual cars finishing second, fourth and fifth. This smashing success against the best from England and the Continent immediately grabbed Bentley Motors some much-needed recognition.
The coup on the Isle of Man was followed two years later by John Duff's victory in the 24-Hours of Le Mans, but despite racing successes, Bentley's sales trickled along -- 21 in 1921, 122 in 1922, 204 in 1923 and 402 in 1924. Still Bentley's success in motor racing, including what might be the most fabled Le Mans victory of them all -- the win by the 4-Litre in 1927 after a crash had seemingly put it out of the race - gave the company panache far outstripping its sales numbers. One has to remember in that era, cars very much like the Le Mans-winning racers could be bought straight off the showroom floor and driven day-to-day, so the marque's dominance was a huge marketing tool in moneyed circles.
This esteemed clientele prevailed upon Bentley to build a longer wheelbase version of the 3-Litre that would accommodate more elaborate bodywork. The result of their lobbying was a 130-inch wheelbase chassis, though that, too, was most often outfitted with a four-seater open touring body accented by cycle fenders.
Even as the 3-litre was enjoying success, W.O. Bentley was toying with the idea of building a more refined six-cylinder car, and he had a prototype built with a 4.5-liter in-line six-cylinder engine built in time for the Le Mans race in 1924. But the car wasn't built to race in the event; it was built so that W.O. could drive it to and from the race course. While in France, the story goes, Bentley was piloting this 'one-off' when he encountered another prototype, the Rolls-Royce Phantom I. The two engaged in some impromptu competition, and though the Bentley prototype held its own, W.O. became convinced that more displacement was needed to preserve his winning margin.
The result of those musings was the Bentley 6-Litre, a car with a powerplant of 6597 cc. In spite of Bentley's affection for racing the new model wasn't meant to be a racer. Instead, it was designed to provide the company's luxury-seeking clients with a platform for big, comfortable saloons (sedans) and town cars. And from its introduction in 1925, through Bentley's continued success at Le Mans in 1927 and 1928, that's how things stood until 1929.
Then, with the stock market booming but a crash looming, W.O. Bentley decided to transform the rather staid 6-Litre 'Standard Six' into the performance-oriented 'Speed Six,' and yet another legendary model. Interestingly, the transformation was accomplished with little more than standard hot-rodding techniques. The compression ratio was boosted and the Standard Six's Smiths carburetor was replaced by a pair of SUs. Those simple modifications and the substitution of a 'hotter' camshaft were all that were necessary to bump the engine from an easy-running 140 horsepower to a still largely under-stressed 180 hp. In race trim, with an even more exotic camshaft, the engine was said to produce 200 horsepower. But of equal importance, especially for Le Mans-style endurance racing, was the fact that the engine could run hour after hour at speed without over-taxing itself.
This combination proved so successful in the 1929 running of Le Mans that the Bentley Speed Sixes won in a cakewalk. In fact, they were so far ahead of their closest rivals that W.O. Bentley insisted that they slow down. He wasn't worried about their durability; he simply didn't want to demonstrate to his competitors - especially Mercedes-Benz - just how superior his cars were.
That bit of genius paid off the following year when the self-same Speed Six that had won in 1929 (piloted by Woolf Barnato and Henry 'Tim' Birkin) took first place again (this time with Barnato and Glen Kidston sharing driving duties.) Two factors keyed the victory. First, the rival Mercedes-Benz team had used the 1929 Speed Six Le Mans times as their performance bogey, not realizing that the cars had slowed considerably once they were certain the game was won. And, second, the Speed Sixes were so durable that all their drivers had to do was wait for the Mercedes-Benzes to break.
Unfortunately, the stock market debacle and ensuing worldwide Depression also forced Bentley to the breaking point. W.O. Bentley's final stab at the luxury car market was his substantial 8-Litre. Essentially a bored-out version of the Speed Six, the 7982 cubic centimeter engine produced up to 225 horsepower, but even as the car was being introduced receivership was just days away.
After Rolls-Royce absorbed his company, Bentley moved on to Lagonda, where he designed several excellent engines, but never again was he able to capture the magic that was the legendary Speed Six.
Â© Studio One Networks
1929 BMW 3/15 PS DA 2 DIXI - The First BMW Car - Model Portfolio (archived: 29 Sep 2009)
80 years of BMW car production. The origins of EfficientDynamics.
* Press Release
Munich. Anybody who was not invited read it in the papers: On the morning of 9 July 1929 full-page ads informed the public that BMW had become a car maker. And guests invited to BMW’s new showroom in the middle of Berlin were able to admire a small car bearing the model designation 3/15 PS DA 2, with the two last letters standing for “Deutsche Ausführung” or “German Version”. In popular language the car nevertheless soon took on a new name, BMW’s first production model remaining a legend to this day as the “Dixi”.
The first of these attractive small performers coming off the production line on 22 March in BMW’s plant near the former Berlin-Johannisthal Airport set the foundation not only for the production of cars by BMW. For although the Dixi was largely taken over from an existing model with parts and components already in use, the car clearly bore the handwriting typical of BMW to this very day: From the beginning efficiency and dynamics were of utmost significance to BMW, forming an integral part of the brand’s DNA. Indeed, BMW had already made a great name for itself as a manufacturer of very economical high-performance products such as aircraft engines and motorcycles, before entering car production.
Before BMW fitted the brand’s white-and-blue logo on the radiator grille of the Dixi, the car had already been updated in technical terms and, as its highlight, boasted a new all-steel body. As a result the BMW 3/15 very modern at its time won the International Alpine Rally in its very first attempt in 1929, successfully completing all large passes in the Alps during the race lasting a full five days.
Apart from its reliability, the Dixi also appealed to a growing number of customers through its all-round economy and relatively low price: Consuming just six litres of regular fuel, the Dixi was more economical right from the start than rail transport and the customer had the option to pay the purchase price of 2,200.– reichsmarks for the “base” version in instalments, if he wished to do so. This made the BMW a lot cheaper than a comparable Hanomag, with the car coming at about the same price as the best seller back then, the Opel Laubfrosch.
Early type of VANOS technology back in 1938.
Step-by-step BMW’s engineers developed technologies and concepts in the years to come to improve both efficiency and driving dynamics, thus building up a significant lead over their competitors. Even back in the 1930s, for example, BMW looked into variable camshaft management and took out the first patent for this technology in 1938/39.
Several prototypes of the BMW 802 aircraft engine already featured a technology which today, naturally enhanced to a higher level, serves to offer greater efficiency in all of BMW’s gasoline engines in the guise of double-VANOS. On BMW’s 2,500-horsepower aircraft engine, the intake and exhaust valves were masterminded by cam discs adjustable to various settings while the engine was running.
In 1940 BMW introduced a further international highlight in one of the main areas of Efficient Dynamics: lightweight construction. The BMW 328 Kamm Racing Coupé is indeed a particularly outstanding example of the supreme performance of the BMW 328 in motorsport. The car’s tubular spaceframe was made of an extra-light electron alloy and weighed just 32 kg or 71 lb. Together with the outer skin made of aluminium and the six-cylinder power unit, unladen weight was a low 760 kg or 1,676 lb. Superior aerodynamics created by Wunibald Kamm, one of the pioneers of modern streamlining, gave the car a drag coefficient of approximately 0.27. This, together with 136 horsepower coming from the two-litre engine, provided a top speed of 230 km/h or 143 mph.
BMW took up this concept again after the war, following the same philosophy in 1961 in the BMW 700 RS. This new racing car bearing the white-and-blue emblem excelled through its extremely light structure, again featuring an elaborate tubular spaceframe combined with light aluminium outer skin.
In road trim this small racer weighed a mere 630 kg or 1,389 lb, no problem at all for the racing engine specially developed for this outstanding athlete: The 70-hp two-cylinder displaced just 0.7 litres, giving the engine an output per litre of 100 horsepower still quite remarkable today and accelerating the RS to 160 km/h or 99 mph. Particularly with the great German racing driver Hans Stuck at the wheel back then, the BMW 700 RS scored numerous wins in all kinds of hillclimb events.
1968: BMW six-cylinders once again setting the standard for years
Following the outstanding success of BMW’s New Range and the 02-models,
BMW was able in 1968 to once again take up the great tradition of the 1930s with larger six-cylinder power units. So this marked the debut of the BMW 2500 and 2800 taking the Company back into the market for large saloons and coupés.
The engines themselves were the same in both body variants: Fitted at an angle of 30°, the power units came with a crankshaft running in no less than seven earings and incorporating twelve counterweights for vibration-free smoothness further enhanced by the overhead camshaft. This, clearly, led to the concept of turbine-like smoothness on BMW’s six-cylinder power units.
One of the technical innovations on the two engines identical in their structural
features was the triple-hemispherical swirl-action combustion chamber interacting with appropriately designed pistons. This particular configuration ensured an even more intense fuel/air combustion process serving in this case to provide superior power on good fuel economy: The 2.5-litre delivered maximum output of 150 hp, the 2.8-litre an even more impressive 170 hp – sufficient to boost the BMW 2800 into the exclusive group of 200 km/h cars. And achieving a top speed of 190 km/h or 118 mph, the BMW 2500 likewise had only very few competitors to fear. No surprise, therefore, that BMW’s six-cylinders set the standard in modern engine technology for years to come.
A big contribution to this supremacy came from a racing car representing the sporting extreme of Efficient Dynamics at the time: the BMW 3.0 CSL built in 1971. Once again, intelligent lightweight engineering served to make this outstanding model even more dynamic, with sophisticated aerodynamics helping to optimise the car’s driving characteristics. As an example, BMW introduced features at the time such as specially developed downforce flaps and a complete underfloor cover. Qualities of this kind made these light, powerful and fast coupés unbeatable for many years, with BMW winning all but one European Touring Car Championships between 1973 and 1979.
1972 Olympics: the BMW electric car makes its first appearance.
In the early ’70s BMW’s development experts focused very carefully not just on outstanding achievements in motorsport. Rather, the 1972 Olympics were the starting point for intense research also on electric drive technology, a small fleet of orange-coloured BMW 1602 Saloons boasting battery-powered electric motors becoming the symbol of the Munich Games. And in the three decades to follow, BMW became one of the world leaders in the segment of electric cars.
Just a year later BMW introduced another pioneering model featuring highlights in technology now once again gaining greater significance: The BMW 2002 turbo was the first production car in Europe to feature a turbocharged engine. This gave BMW a leading role in turbo technology, at the same time setting the foundation for the successful use of this technology in both series production and motorsport.
BMW’s next step in efficient technology came in 1978, the BMW M1 super sports car with its four-valve technology carried over from motorsport setting a new benchmark in optimising the cylinder charge process. BMW started using this technology successfully in motorsport in the late 1960s, developing it to production standard ten years later, with optimised cylinder charge technology being subsequently used in other BMW M models such as the M635CSi, the M5 and the M3.
In 1979 the first Digital Motor Electronics in the BMW 732i set new standards throughout Europe, map control helping to provide more power on less fuel. This improvement was further enhanced by automatic overrun cut-off reducing
fuel consumption to zero in the overrun mode.
All this set another milestone in the market, BMW becoming the pioneer in
automotive electronics. In the process of enhancing motoring efficiency, BMW never lost sight of the driver and his – or her – particular role. Precisely this was the reason for the introduction of the world’s first fuel consumption gauge in the BMW 5 Series as yet another achievement in electronics in 1981. This new display sensitised the driver to the issue of fuel economy, showing him clearly how he himself was able to drive more economically, that is on less fuel. And to this day, the
fuel consumption indicator plays an important role in the context of BMW’s Efficient Dynamics strategy.
The BMW 524td: a milestone in diesel technology.
The decision taken by BMW to enter the fiercely contested diesel car market was truly revolutionary in the history of the Company, a new generation of engines marking this significant breakthrough.
The BMW 524td introduced in June 1983 featured a diesel engine combining the benefits of diesel technology with qualities typical of BMW such as dynamic performance and supreme refinement. And this led straight to the development
of BMW’s turbodiesel based on the existing range of straight-six power units between 2.0 and 2.7 litres engine capacity.
Using turbocharger technology and large flow cross-sections on the intake and
outlet valves of the 2.4-litre power unit, BMW’s engineers were able to increase
engine power to a substantial 115 hp. At the same time the swirl-chamber combustion process enhanced to an even higher standard provided an ideal basis for minimising both fuel consumption and combustion noise: Under the DIN standard, this modern BMW turbodiesel made do with just 7.1 ltr/100 km (equal to 39.8 mpg imp), despite the car’s top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph) and acceleration to 100 km/h in 12.9 seconds, setting new standards at the time in the dynamic performance of diesel cars.
A truly unique concept: the eta engine.
Yet another new concept introduced by BMW, this time in the gasoline market, was BMW’s eta technology available as of autumn 1981 in the BMW 528e sold in the US market. In spring 1983 this initial model was followed by the BMW 525e in Germany before the BMW 325e was launched in Europe in 1985.
The letter “e” stood for eta, the symbol for efficiency. And indeed, the 2.7-litre six-cylinder power unit featured in this very special model was optimised without compromises for superior torque and economy, consuming just 8.4 litres of regular grade fuel on 100 kilometres (equal to 33.6 mpg imp), despite engine output of 122 hp.
Back then this kind of fuel economy on a large six-cylinder (with virtually the same fuel consumption under practical driving conditions) was acknowledged as truly sensational. The concept of a large power unit with relatively low power was indeed quite unusual back then in Europe and remains exceptional to this day.
It was also in the early ’80s that BMW started developing the hydrogen car, taking on a leading role in the development of the hydrogen combustion engine and, together with the German Research and Test Institute for Aerospace Technology, building several test models as of 1984. One of these cars was the BMW 745i Hydrogen.
BMW consistently maintained this development process, building hydrogenpowered experimental versions of the BMW 7 Series in all upcoming generations of the car and in each case pushing this technology to its extreme limit. In the process BMW succeeded in combining the hydrogen combustion engine with both superior environmental compatibility and sporting performance.
The further reduction of driving resistance was one of the highlights in developing two BMW sports cars in the late 1980s: The first of these models was the BMW Z1, a genuine spearhead in innovation and technology, launched in 1988 and boasting not only very low weight thanks to its bodyshell made of a special synthetic material, but also an outstanding drag coefficient of 0.36. This progress in aerodynamics was attributable, among other things, to the fully covered underfloor with a diffuser at the rear, while the driver and passenger enjoyed optimum driving conditions with draughts reduced to a minimum.
The other example was the BMW 850i Coupé introduced a year later, again setting new standards in aerodynamics. Despite its large cooling air intakes for the twelve-cylinder power unit, this elegant coupé came with a drag coefficient of just 0.29. Again, this was because very many of the car’s aerodynamic components such as the exterior mirrors with hardly any effect on air drag had been developed very carefully in a painstaking streamlining process.
In 1991 BMW took up the concept of the electric car once again, demonstrating the current state of the art in the BMW E1. This first all-electric car built in recent times worldwide was a fully-fl edged automobile offering ample space for four passengers and their luggage.
Made consistently in lightweight construction, the body was a combination of extrusion-pressed aluminium profiles with the outer skin made of plastic and aluminium.
The objective in developing this very special car was to build a genuine BMW with unrestricted driving pleasure – and precisely this was the objective BMW achieved so impressively.
Given cars and technologies of this standard, the development of alternative
drive systems by BMW was just as innovative and dynamic as the development of conventional power units.
In 1992 BMW introduced infinitely variable valve management – BMW VANOS – as a world-first achievement in the M3 sports car, improving both power and torque as well as fuel economy and the management of emissions. As of 1992 VANOS was also featured as a further improvement on BMW’s other six-cylinder power units, being replaced as of 1995 by double-VANOS which as of 1998 was alsointroduced on BMW’s V8 engines.
1995: BMW 5 Series takes on the leading role in intelligent
In 1995 the next generation of the BMW 5 Series entered the market as the forerunner in intelligent lightweight construction. This was indeed the world’s
first large-scale production car to feature a chassis and suspension made completely of light alloy and reducing the weight of the entire vehicle by approximately 30 per cent.
The all-aluminium power units were also 30 kg or 66 lb lighter than before, helping to reduce unladen weight of the BMW 523i, for example, from 1,525 kg/3,362 lb to 1,495 kg/3,296 lb.
In the same year BMW introduced the 316g and 518g, Europe’s first natural gas cars to enter series production. This alternative drive technology served to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 20 per cent and the formation of ozone-building hydrocarbons (HC) by an even more significant 80 per cent.
At the same time the new engines made a further contribution to the series development of hydrogen drive, since natural gas comes with very similar features and qualities relevant to the car.
In all, BMW built a small series of 842 natural gas-powered models up to the year 2000.
Moving on to the year 2001, BMW enhanced the VANOS technology into fully
variable VALVETRONIC valve management running the engine for the first time without a throttle butterfly and remaining absolutely unique the world over to this day. In the four-cylinder power unit of the BMW 316ti this meant more performance on less fuel, particularly under part load, thus reducing fuel consumption versus the former model by a most significant 12 per cent.
One of the big advantages of this technology is that it can be used worldwide,
since it does not make any particular demands in terms of fuel quality.
In the years to come BMW carried over VALVETRONIC valve control
to other gasoline engines, all the way to the four-cylinder power unit of the
MINI introduced in 2006.
BMW EfficientDynamics building up an increasing lead.
Today BMW has successfully expanded and enhanced this quest for greater
economy combined with superior driving dynamics through the concept of
BMW Effi cientDynamics. Technologies such as Brake Energy Regeneration, the Auto Start/Stop function, the gearshift point indicator, ancillary units operating only on demand and including the detachable a/c compressor, intelligent lightweight engineering and active aerodynamics through precise management of the car’s air fl aps are now featured in all new models in an appropriate combination. And following the principle of BMW EfficientDynamics, each new model excels through reduced fuel consumption and enhanced driving dynamics in comparison with its respective predecessor.
The by far most efficient premium cars in the German market come from BMW and MINI. The latest statistics compiled by the German Motor Vehicle Authority on behalf of the BMW Group show that new BMW and MINI models registered in Germany in 2008 come with average fuel consumption of just 5.9 litres/100 kilometres (equal to 44.9 mpg imp) and CO2 emissions of 158 grams per kilometre. Both figures are significantly below the average of all new vehicles registered in Germany in 2008, which is 165 grams per kilometre.
The statistics compiled by the German Motor Vehicle Authority on behalf of the
BMW Group not only show the significant superiority of BMW EfficientDynamics over comparable technologies introduced by other premium manufacturers, but also demonstrate the outstanding position of the BMW Group within the overall market: In statistical terms a BMW or a MINI consume significantly less fuel than the average of all new cars registered in Germany. In its fleet consumption determined by the German Motor Vehicle Authority the BMW Group also outperforms even the largest European volume manufacturer and is therefore absolutely equal to a large number of car makers focusing primarily on small cars in their range.
On an EU level the BMW and MINI brands likewise achieve fuel economy and
CO2 ratings below the overall average of European car makers. From 1995 until the end of 2008, the BMW Group has reduced the fuel consumption of its
cars sold in Europe by more than 25 per cent, in the process outperforming
the commitment made by the Association of European Car Makers (ACEA) on
behalf of its members.
Fascination and services. BMW Group Classic at Techno Classica 2009.
* Press Release
Munich/Essen. This year BMW Group Classic marks a clutch of anniversaries at Techno Classica in Essen. BMW celebrates 80 years of automobile construction, the new BMW Z4 enjoys the distinguished company of the BMW Z1, Z3 and Z8, while the BMW 700 looks back 50 years to the time when it set the company back on track. The MINI brand, meanwhile, surveys a somewhat different history: it was 50 years ago that this small British car won over the hearts of motorists and rapidly emerged as a cult car. As ever, visitors will find all these models in Hall 12.
“Such a wide thematic range can only be covered with the help of the BMW and MINI clubs,” says Karl Baumer, Director of BMW Group Classic, highlighting the role played by the club networks for both brands. “As on the road, here at the fair too it is the car owners who are the ambassadors of the brands.” To ensure that this sheer variety of models continues to grace the roads in future, BMW Group Classic is ramping up its spare parts supply. The range provided by Munich’s custodians of the past extends from the earliest pre-war parts all the way to spares for the second BMW 3 Series. In addition to parts supply, BMW Classic now also offers restoration work, servicing and vehicle certificates. “The aim was to expand our range and be able to offer our customers more services,” says Ralf Vierlein, responsible for development and technology at BMW Group Classic. The feedback has been very positive. “We are delighted at the huge response we are getting,” says Vierlein in a first positive review for this year. BMW Group Classic presents its latest range of services at Techno Classica with a workshop and a spare parts service.
Exhibitions and models
The entire spectrum of the 50-year brand history of MINI can be viewed at Techno Classica: from the Morris-Mini Minor of 1959, to an early Cooper and a Cooper S in rally trim, all the way to the Cabrio and a stretch limousine. The MINI E, meanwhile, provides a glimpse of the future. With its electric drive it already created a stir at last November’s Los Angeles Motor Show.
The 50th anniversary of the BMW 700 at Techno Classica shifts the focus to the late 1950s and early 1960s, with both a Cabrio and a late LS Coupé represented. The BMW 700 Sport and 700 RS sports racers are also lined up. Next to them are their forerunners in the shape of the BMW 600 and the BMW Isetta with caravan. The BMW R 10 Roller Prototype and the motorcycle models BMW R 24, RS 54 sidecar combination and BMW R 51/3 stand for Munich’s two-wheeled production of the time.
The widest diversity is covered by the exhibition on 80 years of BMW automobile construction. The oldest vehicle on the stand is provided by the Automobile Welt Eisenach museum: the BMW 3/15 DA2 dating back to 1929. It is joined by classics such as the BMW 335 and the 1950s star ensemble of the BMW 503 and 507. Following the BMW 02 Series are the 3.0 CSi and CSL Coupés as well as the forerunner of the 7 Series, the BMW 3.0Si. The BMW 5 Series will also be represented, as will the 3 Series, the BMW 635CSi and the iconic BMW M1.
1929 Bugatti and 1956 Lancia Unearthed in Berkshire Garage (archived: 16 Feb 2009)
Bug and Spider unearthed in Berkshire Garage
A bug and a spider would not normally feature high-up on a petrolhead’s wish list when thinking about the contents of a dream garage. However, when the ‘wildlife’ in question turns out to be a 1929 Bugatti Type 40 Grand Sport and 1956 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider America things take on a different complexion.
Owned by the same family for a combined total of eighty-nine years, the two sportscars are among dozens that will go under the H&H hammer during the Race Retro International Historic Motorsport Show on March 13th – 14th 2009.
Fifty-three years have passed since the Bugatti was last offered for sale, its keeper at the time being a Robert Ian Murray Esq of Glasgow. Still retaining its 1956 purchase receipt and continuation buff logbook (among myriad other paperwork), the diminutive Molsheim masterpiece appears to be to largely original specification.
Known to the Bugatti Owners Club but not seen in public for many years, the boat-tailed four-seater has been partially restored (ill health preventing its completion). Finished in French Blue with black leather and sporting that distinctive ‘horseshoe’ radiator, the Type 40 looks every inch the 1920s sportscar.
Equally stylish and no less typical of its era the Lancia was penned by Pininfarina. Only in production for a single season, the B24 Spider America was a triumph of flamboyance over practicality (witness its reverse rake windscreen pillars, upturned quarter bumpers and wilfully shallow doors).
Sharing the same sophisticated running gear as its other Aurelia siblings (world’s first production V6 engine, rear-mounted transaxle, inboard back brakes etc) but sitting on a shorter wheelbase, the B24 Spider America ranks alongside the BMW 507 and Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster as a true 1950s icon.
Finished in British Racing Green with cream leather upholstery, the rakish two-seater is perhaps the most glamorous of the many Lancias to have passed through the family’s hands (which could explain why they have held onto it since 1973). Part restored like the Bugatti and abandoned for the same reason, it has the makings of a great project.
Coming to market at a fraction of the price that restored examples command, the 1929 Bugatti Type 40 Grand Sport and 1956 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider America carry saleroom estimates of £120,000 - £140,000 and £100,000 - £120,000 respectively.
1929 Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix Race Car (archived: 22 Jan 2010)
The final version of the Type 35 series was the Type 35B of 1927. Originally named Type 35TC, it shared the 2.3 L engine of the Type 35T but added a large supercharger like the Type 35C. Output was 138 hp (102 kW), and 45 examples were made. A Type 35B won the 1929 French Grand Prix.
1929 Buick Model 44 Rumble Seat Roadster (archived: 07 Aug 2013)
Exterior: two-tone red
The whiskey six. 34,000 original miles. It was on the inside front cover of ANTIQUE AUTOMOBILE MARCH 2001 and the front cover of THE BUICK BUGLE APRIL 2003. It's been one of of the neatest cars I've owned.
1929 Cadillac 341-B Sport Phaeton Convertible ivory and black (archived: 08 Feb 2005)
Interior: maroon naugahyde
Engine: 8 cyl
It has been lovingly and expertly maintained and cared for. This 1929 Cadillac 341B 4 Dr Sport Phaeton convertible has been to many car shows and is requested for local parades. Vehicle tag information is as follows: Fisher Body # 221 and engine # 332294.
The EXTERIOR condition of the car is excellent. The paint is a glossy ivory and black two tone. There is no rust or dents of any kind. The soft top is free of tears and blemishes. Side curtains are also included.
The INTERIOR condition of the car is as excellent as the exterior. It has been refinished with a rich looking maroon naugahyde that looks and feels like real leather
The MECHANICAL condition of the car is excellent. The car starts, runs, and drives great. Brakes and tires are in very good condition. A battery shut off switch has been installed.
1929 Cadillac 341-B Town Sedan beige (archived: 07 Aug 2004)
Sold For: $42,601
The following is one of the most beautiful full classic cars of all time. This is a 1929 Cadillac Close-Coupled 5 passenger sedan by Fisher body (a rare and beautiful body style not often found). This Cadillac has all the options from the factory that one could get at the time which includes dual side mount spares with Cadillac script mirrors, tire covers, senior trip lights with levels, goddess mascot, lorraine spot light, leather trunk including luggage rack a full set of gauges and all the luxury appointments offered in the highest standards of the day. It also comes with the original jack and tools including the owners manual and shop manuals (see photo). This car has the original 341 B high compression eight cylinder engine that is whisper quiet and will drive and cruse all day long at sixty miles per hour making this the ultimate car for touring. It is coupled with the original three speed synchronized transmission that was first introduced in these cars for 1929. The large dual breaking system on this car is excellent and performs very well.
The following is a description of what has been performed on this car: This car received a complete ground up restoration some years ago from a beautiful strait rust free original car. The car is detailed throughout including the under carriage right down to the leather wrapped springs and shows little or no ware with only minor spots that I would not deem necessary to do. The engine was completely rebuilt including a (NOS) (New old stock) crankshaft as was the transmission. The mohair interior with all the wood trim and original handles and accessories are stunning. The finish of the two tone tan and black paint job and chrome are beautiful and set off by the correct red pinstripe that adorns the body and artillery wheels.
1929 Chevrolet Stovebolt Six - Greatest Car Series (archived: 02 Jan 2003)
Driving Today: Greatest Car
Chevrolet 'Stovebolt' Six
By Jack Nerad for Driving Today
The story of the Chevrolet 'Stovebolt' Six is a classic tale of American competition. It pits the protagonist versus the master in a battle for the hearts, the minds, and the wallets of millions, and it proves yet again that if you build a better mousetrap -- and let people know about it -- they will indeed beat a path to your door. In competing with the top motorcar brand of the era, the path was not always easy, but the stalwart souls at General Motors persevered when others said it could never be done.
The genesis of the 'Stovebolt' Six story goes all the way back to the creation of General Motors by a former cigar salesman named William C. 'Billy' Durant. Now some would call Durant a man of vision; others would call him a huckster, but there is no doubt that the largest automotive corporation in the world would never have existed without him. With the goal of dominating the fledgling automotive industry dancing in his head, Durant created General Motors by combining Buick, Oldsmobile, and Cadillac, but in a classic case of reach exceeding grasp, he soon lost control of the company to the bankers and financiers who had put dollars behind his dreams. By the end of 1910 Durant was 'out' at General Motors, but the auto industry was clearly not out of his blood, so, instead of fading away like the old soldier, he immediately began to put other automotive deals together, and in that pursuit he got together with a prominent Buick race driver of the era, French-born Louis Chevrolet.
Durant knew that Chevrolet's racing fame -- plus, as W.C. Fields would describe it, his 'euphonious appellation' -- had value as a marketing tool, so he persuaded the former mechanic to begin drawing up plans for a new automobile to bear that soon-to-be iconic name. With Louis still at work on the drawing board, the Chevrolet Motor Car Company was incorporated on November 8, 1911. Interestingly, the car that Chevrolet designed was nothing like the car Durant wanted to sell as a Chevrolet. Durant envisioned a small, light, rather inexpensive vehicle, while Chevrolet gave him a big six-cylinder automobile at the Buick level or above, but with Durant pulling the strings, that didn't seem to matter. Within three years of the founding of his company, Louis Chevrolet had left Chevrolet Motor Car Company for good. (Some say that the straw that broke the camel's back was actually a Camel or at least a cigarette. Durant apparently hated the fact that Chevrolet smoked cigarettes instead of the more stately cigars fitting an automotive mogul and told Louis so. Louis reportedly got so incensed he bolted from his company that very day.) In any case, by then Durant had put the Chevrolet nameplate on a car formerly called the Little, which also incensed Chevrolet the man, so it is probable Louis was not long for the company that bore his name in any case. Durant then used Chevrolet to go after Henry Ford and his famous Model T with a Chevrolet model dubbed the 490, which happened to be the widely known price of the Model T.
The success of the 490 and other Chevrolet models like the Baby Grand and the Royal Mail quickly propelled Chevrolet toward the top of the U.S. sales charts where the number one spot was occupied by, of course, Ford Motor Company. It also gave Durant the juice to re-insinuate himself into General Motors Corporation with the help of Pierre S. du Pont. So Chevrolet became part of GM, and Billy Durant was once again at the head of the corporation he founded -- but not for long. Still acquisition-crazy, Durant and GM were woefully over-extended when the recession of 1920 hit. Again the bankers closed in on Durant, and quickly they booted him out of control. Soon thereafter, a group of 'business consultants' -- yes, they were wreaking their magic even then -- advised du Pont and his new right-hand man (and the eventual savior of GM) Alfred P. Sloan to dump the Chevrolet Motor Company altogether. But Sloan saw a bright future for Chevrolet at the bottom of the GM range, so he installed a GM veteran by the name of K.W. Zimmerschied as head of the company.
Now Zimmerschied knew the car business; there was no doubt about that. But soon after his installation as the new head of Chevrolet, the top dogs on the GM board decided the company should introduce a Chevrolet model with an air-cooled engine. Zimmerschied was against the idea, but a recent addition to the GM executive team, William S. Knudsen, tested the prototype air-cooled model and enthusiastically recommended its production. Knudsen had a strong resume, having been a key production exec for Ford Motor Company before he and Henry Ford had a falling out, so the GM board dictated the introduction of the new vehicle. Within days, as Zimmerschied had predicted, the 'copper-cooled' Chevrolet turned into disaster, but soon after that Zimmerschied suffered what GM flacks called a 'nervous breakdown,' and Knudsen was annointed in his place.
While the air-cooled Chevy was a certified disaster, the ascendance of Knudsen was a good thing for Chevrolet. You have certainly heard the phrase, 'Know your enemy,' and nobody knew Ford Motor Company better than W.S. Knudsen, so he was the perfect guy to make Chevy competitive with Ford. Calling itself 'The World's Lowest-Price Quality Automobile,' Chevrolet instituted annual model changes, bringing good new features to the line each year while the Model T remained stuck in its familiar rut. Using these tactics, Chevrolet quickly made inroads versus the automotive behemoth -- strong enough inroads that Henry Ford was finally forced to admit that the Model T would not live forever. Ford Motor Company designers set about conceiving a new vehicle that would eventually become the Model A, while the Knudsen-led Chevrolet division of GM continually took shots at the rapidly aging flivver.
As Ford came to a screeching halt in preparation for the introduction of the Model A, Knudsen saw his chance to hit his old boss with a one-two punch. First, he would put on a strong push to send Chevrolet to the top of the sales charts while Ford production was disrupted by the shift from Model T to Model A. Then he would apply the coup de grace in the form of a new six-cylinder engine that would trump the four-cylinder powerplant he knew would be in the Model A.
The plan worked as well, if not better, than expected. Ford Motor Company was totally unused to changing models, so the changeover from Model T to A was a tortuous, lengthy and expensive process. The last of the T's became sales-proof because buyers knew a vastly improved version was coming. Then the start-up of Model A production was fraught with delays, so Chevrolet passed Ford for the number-one spot in sales in 1927. Ford did ring in a publicity windfall with its belated introduction of the Model A on December 2, 1927, but Knudsen was ready to take the blow, hang by the ropes for a moment, and then counterpunch. In fact he got more than he bargained for when Ford couldn't get Model A production sorted out through the early part of 1928, so Chevrolet ended up winning the sales race that year, too.
As 1928 turned to 1929 Knudsen was prepared to take his biggest punch of all -- the introduction of the 1929 'International' series Chevrolet, a car that could be equipped with 'a six for the price of a four.' The key ingredient was, of course, Knudsen's 'cast-iron wonder,' the 'Stovebolt Six.'
In truth, there was nothing very remarkable about the engine, except that it was engineered to be built very economically, but the basic design was so sound that it would continue to power Chevrolets into the mid-1950s. One reason for its longevity was the fact that the engineers who developed it were literally forced to make it an overhead valve-design rather than the seemingly obvious L-(flat)head. L-head designs were much simpler and thus cheaper to manufacture, but Chevrolet had long been known for its 'valve-in-head' four-cylinder engines, so Chevrolet marketing execs like Richard Grant insisted that the new design boast overhead valves.
That added complication put even more pressure on the GM engineering staff to take costs out of the new six, and they succeeded admirably. The new engine displaced 194 cubic inches with a 3 5/16th-inch bore and 3 3/4-inch stroke. It produced 46 peak horsepower at 2400 rpm. One highlight of the engine was the 46-pound crankshaft that was statically and dynamically balanced. While that piece was state-of-the-art, cost-cutting was evident elsewhere in elements like 'splash' lubrication for the rod bearings and gravity-feed lubrication to the three main bearings. (In contrast, my 1926 Nash Light Six has a seven-main-bearing crank.) These slight technical shortcomings aside, the 'Stovebolt Six (so nicknamed for its lengthy 1/4'-20 head bolts that held the thing together) was a revolution in the low-priced class.
The engine was immediately plopped into the 1928 'National' series chassis that had been specially lengthened by four inches just to accommodate the new powerplant that would arrive in 1929. By splitting the development and production changeovers over two years, Knudsen, a manufacturing expert, was able to transition very quickly and effortlessly from the four-cylinder to the six-cylinder car without the massive downtime that had plagued Ford. Despite that, though, Ford was able to regain its sales lead in 1929, largely because it was finally able to service the massive backlog of demand from the previous three years when Ford production was stymied by delays.
Still, the 'Stovebolt Six' was an unqualified success. In its first year on the market, Chevrolet sold right about one million cars, and by 1931 Chevrolet had wrested the sales lead from Ford and would hold that lead for most of the next 30 years. And one constant during much of that reign was William S. Knudsen's cast-iron wonder, the 'Stovebolt Six.'
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1929 Chevrolet Cabriolet blue (archived: 10 Dec 1999)
1929 Chrysler Imperial Roadster (archived: 18 Apr 2007)
The Imperial was Chryslers top of the line offering for 1929 and most carried expensive custom coachwork catering to the sophisticated buyers who were the target of Chryslers marketing efforts. Chrysler even went so far as to enter two Imperials, stripped for racing, in the 24 hours at LeMans, where they finished sixth and seventh in class, not bad for a big American luxury car! The car on offer is a rare car indeed, a 1929 Imperial with custom roadster coachwork by Locke & Co. The recipient of a full nut and bolt restoration some years ago, the car has been awarded both an CCCA national First Place award, as well as an AACA National First. While no longer a 100 point car, the car is still stunning and ready to show or tour. The paint work is beautifully done, and the chrome is very nice throughout, although the headlights buckets are starting to show a little age. The interior is gorgeous, with like new tan leather, as is the unique side entry ruble seat. The top is excellent, and there is a full set of side curtains. Mechanically the car is ready to drive, and is equipped with Chryslers powerful and reliable 309 ci straight 6 engine.
1929 Delage Figoni DMN (archived: 06 Feb 2007)
Sold For: $275,000
Delage cars were born in January 1905 at 62 Chaptal Street in Levallois France. The cars became very popular as they were well built and in addition, Delages' racing success promoted the marques as being reliable as well as being formidable competition cars. The DM series of cars was the last of the 6 cylinder Delages and the The DMN came along after the DM and was produced from January 1929 for twelve months. 897 examples were built.The bottom end of the engine was refined and a lighter flywheel and clutch assembly were incorporated, the head employed the larger valves of the DMS. Many of the Delage motorcars carried exquisite custom coachwork and this is one such car. Figoni records show that the car came out of the Figoni workshops in December of 1929 and was delivered to a Smith Garage in London. The first owner of record being a Belgium Diplomat by the name of M.G. Watler. Its ownership is unknown until it was purchased in the 1960's and restored by a Sir Peter Graham in England who owned the car for many years. In 1993 the car was purchased by a Belgian collector who had put together an important collection of vintage Deluges for his private musuem.The car's restoration was updated and the car was toured extensively throughout Europe and displayed in the private museum. It is a beautiful car of superb design and a car that is in good running and driving order. Powered by Delages 3180 cc overhead valve Straight six, the Figoni designed and constructed Faux Cabriolet coachwork is exceptional. Its low roof, front cycle fenders and long wheelbase give the car an important presence. Complete with a letter from Claude Figoni to a previous owner. It is a motorcar well suited for touring and with some cosmetic freshening, will make a fabulous concours participant.
1929 Desoto Roadster (archived: 10 Mar 2015)
1929 Dodge DA Sport Roadster (archived: 26 Dec 2014)
Trans: 3 Speed Manual
Drive: Rear Wheel Drive
This vehicle is a DA Sport Roadster that is powered by an L-head, 208 cubic-inch, inline-6 cylinder engine offering 63 horsepower. It wears a roadster body by Budd and cost nearly $1,000 when new. It wears an older restoration that has been well maintained. It has been in a private museum collection since 1991. There are dual side mount spare tires, rumble seat, leather seats, side mirrors, auxiliary lights, and golf club compartment. New fluids, gaskets, and plugs. Working factory lights and gauges. Runs and drives great. Odometer shows 907 miles. Rust free.
1929 Dodge Touring Sedan black (archived: 28 Jan 2000)
1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton (archived: 25 Oct 2007)
Sold For: $1,500,000
Specifications: 265bhp, 420 cu. in. four valves per cylinder twin overhead camshaft inline eight-cylinder, three-speed manual transmission, front beam axle, live rear axle and vacuum-assisted four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 142.5'
The Model J Duesenberg has long been regarded as the most outstanding example of design and engineering of the classic era. Its 1929 introduction was so momentous that trading was halted on the New York Stock exchange for the announcement. At $8,500 for the chassis alone, it was by far the most expensive car in America. With coachwork, the delivered price of many Duesenbergs approached $20,000, a staggering sum at a time when a typical new family car cost around $500.
Few would argue that the car's features did not support its price. Indeed, the Model J's specifications sound current today: double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, power hydraulic brakes, and 265hp in naturally aspirated form.
The new Duesenberg was tailor-made for the custom body industry. It had the power and stance to carry imposing coachwork, and the style and grace of the factory sheet metal was ideally suited for the execution of elegant custom coachwork. The Murphy Body Company of Pasadena, California is generally recognized as the most successful coachbuilder on the Duesenberg Model J chassis.
The Murphy Body Company
Founded by Walter M. Murphy, the business initially operated both a coach building facility and the first Lincoln distributorship on the West Coast. The combination turned out to be prophetic as the first Lincolns carried high, dark, and stodgy coachwork that was practically unmarketable in California. Murphy went to work immediately, chopping their ungainly tops and repainting the cars in brighter colors.
The company's next major client was Packard, for whom Murphy built bodies that suited the California tastes of the time. They were simple and elegant, with trim lines and an undeniable sporting character. Murphy bodies seemed all the more revolutionary when compared to their contemporaries from the East Coast, who built heavier, more ornate designs.
The trademark of Murphy body design was the 'clear vision' pillar. The windshield pillars were designed to be as slim as possible, creating a sportier, more open appearance, while improving visibility for the driver. In fact, Murphy advertised that their windshield pillars were 'narrower than the space between a man's eyes,' a design they claimed eliminated blind spots.
As the twenties progressed, so did Murphy's fortunes. A list of Murphy clients illustrates their success: film stars included Tom Mix, Gary Cooper, John Barrymore, Delores Del Rio, Buster Keaton, Mary Pickford, and Rudolph Valentino, among many others. Auto executives included Packard president Alvin Macauley, Edsel Ford, and Charles Howard. Politicians, dignitaries, directors, mobsters, and heads of state all drove Murphy bodied cars.
In total, about 125 Model J Duesenbergs carried Murphy coachwork ? by far the most successful of all.
Tommy Manville was 36 years old when he took delivery of his nearly new Duesenberg. No stranger to the finer things in live, he was the heir to the Johns Manville asbestos fortune. He lived the life of a raconteur, and became something of a pop culture celebrity of the time. It was his weakness for women, however, that earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the dubious distinction of having married 13 times.
His lifestyle was supported by a handsome income from the family trust ? but it was a loophole in that very trust that may have influenced his marital meanderings. Although he was intended to live on the interest from the trust, another provision entitled him to a lump sum of one million dollars when he married ? though there was no limitation to the number of times he could marry!
Although the public probably had no idea of the details of the trust, he was nonetheless viewed with admiration in some quarters, and vilified in others. He cultivated his image as a playboy, victimized by feminine wiles ? and no doubt at the same time was toasted for his conquests.
J403/2425 ? Provenance Measured in Decades
Engine number J403 was first delivered with chassis 2425, and carried a Derham Tourster body. The car was destined for delivery to Gary Cooper, but a problem with the engine resulted in a factory switch, and engine J403 was replaced by J431 before it was delivered to Cooper.
In the meantime, after repairs, the factory installed J403 in chassis 2169, where it remains today. When new, a Murphy convertible coupe body was installed, and the car was delivered by the New York factory branch to a Miss L. B. Gale on September 12th, 1931. Miss Gale later married (becoming Mrs. S. R. Knapp) but kept her Duesenberg for several years before trading it to Shore Brothers, a Philadelphia area dealer.
On March 18th, 1938 J403 was purchased by Pennsylvania resident Robert Harrison. Later, in December of the same year, the car was transferred to the Russell Rutherford Robinson Fayant Co., which was probably Harrison's company. Two more owners followed in the Philadelphia area ? Bayard Badenhausen and Dave Jenkins, who moved to Dearborn with the car in 1942.
Three Michigan owners followed ? David Tan, Harold Bertrand, and Vincent Brennan ? before the car was bought by Dr. J.E. Manning in Saginaw, MI in September of 1951. Over about a three year period, Manning completed a thorough chassis restoration before selling the car to another Saginaw enthusiast, L. S. Redford.
In June of 1954, Richard (Dick) Bell of Mohnton, PA bought J403. At the same time, he owned J336, one of the three Murphy Dual Cowl Phaetons built. He gave both cars to Wendling Brothers, a shop formed by former Fleetwood workers after Cadillac moved the body company to Detroit. It is almost certain that he bought J403 in order to mount the more desirable (and far rarer) Murphy Dual Cowl Phaeton body to the freshly restored J403 chassis. In any event, Bell gave the Wendlings the extra body and chassis as part payment for their work, which presumably included restoration of the body.
In any event, Bell kept J403 for four years before selling it to the Swigart collection in 1958, where it would remain for the next 49 years.
One of the most fascinating aspects of researching the histories of Duesenbergs is that the widespread custom of referring to the cars by engine number ? while chassis numbers continued to be tracked as well, even if only on title and registration documents ? means that the histories of bodies, engines, and chassis can be followed separately. While most other cars of the period also experienced engine and body changes, the fact that the numbers are not recorded means the added historical information is also lost.
Examination of historical records reveals that the Swigart Murphy Dual Cowl Phaeton was sold new to H. W. Curran of Chicago, IL. For some reason, Curran only owned the car for three or four months before selling it to well known playboy industrialist Tommy Manville, who would retain the car for about three years. Later the car was traded back to Duesenberg (in 1935) and went through the hands of four East Coast enthusiasts before being purchased by Dick Bell.
J403: As Original, Once Again.
Reviewing the condition of J403 today, it is difficult to imagine that it has been more than fifty years since the restoration was finished. Today, the car's overall condition remains quite good, with the passage of years having served to mellow the restoration, lending the car a lovely patina that could be mistaken for an aging but well preserved original.
The paintwork is generally good, with the expected minor chips and cracks that result from fifty years of opening and closing hoods and doors. Although it is growing flat in some areas, a thorough wetsanding and buffing would probably improve the gloss considerably. Similarly, the chrome shows its age, with pinpoint pitting and yellowing in spots. The body fits are generally good ? probably about what would have been expected when new.
The engine bay is quite correct, with all the major components present; the car is fitted with the correct updraft Schebler carburetor, and the desirable eight-into-one 'sewer pipe' exhaust. There are many small parts that are modern replacements or otherwise incorrect, but the general appearance is quite good - clean and well maintained.
The top appears newer and may have been replaced. The deep red leather interior has aged beautifully with no significant damage such as rips, cracks, or tears. The dash is also mostly correct, although the instrument panel should be engine turned aluminum. In addition, the fuel gauge, starter and choke knobs, and shifter knob are later replacements.
The car carries both AACA and CCCA National First Place award badges, probably dating from the fifties or sixties. Accessories include dual sidemounted spares, six chrome wire wheels, a pair of Guide driving lights, and a lovely veneered and varnished rear-mounted trunk with canvas cover.
In total, Murphy built just three original dual cowl phaetons. (The other two were J175/2196 and J347/2366, both of which remain in long term ownership). Some refer to a fourth car, J264/2285, although historical records suggest this car was built without a tonneau cover or windshield, making it a normal phaeton ? though the only one built.
While many coachbuilders offered the dual cowl phaeton style, none offered one with the panache of the Murphy design. Not only did the car feature Murphy's trademark thin pillars and gracefully curved body sides, but the design of the tonneau itself was ingenius. Both the windshield and tonneau were split and hinged along the center, allowing either side to fold and lift independently and greatly easing entry and exit from the car.
Perhaps equally important, the split windshield design allowed Murphy to rake back the outer edges, forming a graceful vee. It was a simple idea, but a masterpiece of design, and it made Murphy's dual cowl phaeton both unique and beautiful.
They were also among the rarest bodies available on the magnificent Model J chassis. Of the dual cowl or dual windshield phaetons produced, there were 25 by LeBaron, 13 by LaGrande, 11 by Derham, and just three by Murphy.
Over the years, they have rarely been seen as their great beauty and rarity has made them among the most highly prized of all, and consequently all three have had ownerships measured not in years but in decades.
With single family ownership for nearly half a century, J403/2169 represents quite possibly an unrepeatable opportunity to acquire the rarest and most beautiful dual cowl phaeton ever offered on the mighty Model J.
1929 Duesenberg J Convertible (archived: 21 Aug 2008)
Sold For: $675,000
1929 Duesenberg J Convertible Coupe by Murphy
265bhp, 420 cu. in. four valves per cylinder twin overhead camshaft inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed synchromesh transmission, four-wheel semi-elliptical leaf springs with front beam axle, live rear axle and vacuum-assisted four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 142.5'
J132 began life as a Derham sedan, sold new to William E. Schmidt, an undertaker from Chicago. Schmidt later sold the car to Mr. H. S. Kehn, also of Chicago who in turn sold it to Paul S. Johnson, a Chicago-area plumber who removed the rear portion of the body, planning to build a truck. He never completed the conversion, however, and eventually sold the car to Keith Brown of LaPorte, Indiana in October of 1957.
The Murphy Convertible Coupe offered here - now mounted on J132 - was originally installed on J144. J144 was purchased new in 1929 by Frank Gill of New York, from the New York Factory Branch of Duesenberg. Duesenberg re-acquired the car and on April 30, 1932, the car was purchased by David Joyce of Chicago, apparently as a new car (again). Joyce was married to Peggy Hopkins-Joyce, a well-known actress and dancer at the time. It is interesting to note that he was one of just a handful of multiple new Duesenberg buyers, as he later bought J151, a Derham Tourster.
In 1937 the car was bought by Chicago dealer John Troka, who sold the car to Dr. J. Mishler of Mount Morris, Illinois. Mishler owned the car for several years. As a result of an accident, the car ended up in a Kansas City salvage yard, where in 1943 it was purchased by C.W. (Buck) Daugherty of Kansas City. Daugherty dismantled the car, selling the body to Keith Brown in 1957.
Brown mounted the J144 Murphy Convertible Coupe body on the J132 chassis and between 1957 and 1959, he restored the car to its current configuration. In September of 1959, he sold the car to Homer Fitterling, in whose collection the car remained until his entire collection was purchased by carpet king Ed Weaver of Dalton, Georgia in 1989. Weaver owned the car until his death in 1994, when it was acquired by RM Classic Cars of Chatham, Ontario, Canada. RM sold the car to Berkeley, Massachusetts collector Jim King, who kept the car for several years before trading it back to RM on another car. The vendor acquired the car from RM in 2006.
1929 Duesenberg J Poster (archived: 16 Feb 2005)
1929 Duesenberg J Bohman & Schwartz red (archived: 20 Dec 1999)