The Bugatti Royale Park Ward Limousine

February 6, 2023
Cameron Luther
0

Here it is, the ultimate Bugatti Royale, perhaps the ultimate car? When I first laid eyes on chassis 41131, I was taken aback. My emotions towards this completely inanimate object heightened. The massive Park Ward bodied Limousine has an ominous presence with its seven-passenger bodywork and single tone black paint. It is the only Royale which currently exists painted in a single tone.

This Royale chassis is considered to be the last Type 41, as it was sent to Park Ward & Co. of London in 1933. Its first owner, Captain C.W. Foster commissioned a closed limousine body. Foster, whose mother was an heiress to an American department store, was living in Great Britain. Here is 41131 upon completion, complete with a Royale Automobile Club grille badge and British registration.

At some point during Captain Fosters ownership, new tires needed to be fitted to the massive vehicle, and the only ones available were described as ‘large artillery type’. As a result, the aprons were cut off the front fenders, as seen in the above photo. It is unknown to myself and impossible to see from the photographs whether the rear fenders had to be trimmed as well. I assume the badge in the middle is that of the Bugatti Owners Club, and would love to know what the little plaque below it reads.

After World War Two, Captain Foster sold the Royale to Jack Lemon Burton, a founder of the Bugatti owners club. Jack is pictured above, presumably at Prescott Hill Climb! Ten years later an American collector named John Shakespeare purchased the Royale and imported the Grandiose Limousine into the United States. Evidently Shakespeare picked the car up at the port in New York, and drove it straight home to Centralia, Illinois.

Evidently Shakespeare continued to use the Royale extensively over the next 8 years, as he continued to collect Bugattis, and race Ferraris. He was able to pursue such extravagant hobbies as a result of his families business, Shakespeare Fishing Reels. Here is Shakespeare, with his newly purchased Royale, still displaying the circular UK road tax paper in the front windshield.

What would drive someone to sell such an incredible car? He let it go after a multi-year pursuit by Fritz Schlumpf, a Swiss-born French Textile Magnate, offering to buy all thirty of Shakespeares Bugattis, in order to obtain 41131.

Schlumpf was assembling a private museum, on the grounds of his textile factory in Mulhouse, France. Moving thirty Bugattis from Illinois to France, in various states of assembly, many of them not running, would certainly be a logistical nightmare today, let alone in  March, 1964. Luckily there were train tracks just a few hundred yards from the buildings where Shakespeare stored the cache Bugattis, so they were were all shipped on open rails cars to New Orleans, the only protection applied was plastic on every steering wheel. From New Orleans, all the cars were loaded onto a ship which took them to Le Havre, France, and from their transported to Mulhouse.

Here is 41131 in its original resting place in the main room of Schlumpfs museum. This is the first time the car is seen without the paint line on the cast aluminum wheels, perhaps burned off when each was polished. Evidently the Limousine was in great shape when it arrived, which makes one hopeful that many of its original finishes were left alone.

Today the Royale retains much of its original equipment, but is missing its UK license plates, hood badges, and one more vital component, which will be further highlighted below.

The Park Ward Royale has six massive cast aluminum wheels, two of them are spares mounted on the front fenders, a feature exclusive to chassis 41131.

I love the presence of aged finishes everywhere you look. Unlike 41100, this chassis does not have a marking of a Chausson Radiator, denoted by a small cast eagle badge riveted to the bottom edge of the grille.

The fatigued finish on the grille shell is just right.

Something is missing on the drivers side A-pillar, shown by the three exposed mounting holes. If you look at the historic photos, when the Royale was first delivered, there was a manually controlled spotlight mounted outside the driver’s window.

It is thought that this piece was pulled when Schlumpf’s restoration staff prepared the Royale, and it was installed on this Hispano Suiza. I thought the same, until I saw the picture earlier in the article, where Shakespeare is leaning on the hood, with the elephant hood ornament between his hands. You can see that the light is not present in this photo, so perhaps it was placed inside the car for shipping, and was assigned to the Hispano for stylistic reasons or by mistake.

The seven-passenger body looks impossibly long and stands up so straight, giving it a formal look, which I do not feel any other Royale possesses.

Chassis 41131 currently sits in a room with 41100, as well as the only Type 64 extant. An off-white Type 57 SC can be seen in the background. That chassis also came from Shakespeare.

In the rear of the car, the UK plate is missing. Is this sitting on a shelf, or within an archival box somewhere in the museum? It would be interesting to know, and see it fitted once again. I do not know if the two lights mounted on the fenders are original, or  which owner, prior to Schlumpf may have added them. They were on the car when Shakespeare sold it.

The manual divider window can be seen in this photo, but more interesting to me is the control panel on the right side of the steering column. This is very different to the levers seen on 41100. On a Type 57, these are used to adjust timing and fuel mixture. I wonder what all the switches do, and which owner this was added under. If I had to guess, I would think it was Shakespeare. I have read somewhere that he used the car on many cross country road trips, and the engine turned aluminum, which the panel is made of, is quintessential of hot rods and sports racing cars of the 1950s.

Prior to seeing 41131 in person, I did not realize it was equipped with semaphore turn signals, seen behind the rear windows.

Even though the Limousine is completely closed, the chauffeur’s quarters are still upholstered with leather. Look at all those Type 55’s!

The ornate, fabric-lined rear quarters, which can comfortably hold five.

The tires are probably vintage, and are kept off the ground by four stands, supporting the front and rear ends. This is similar to the practice of The Revs Institute, especially on cars with vintage tires, though they use small black painted blocks, which allow a car to sit closer to the ground without any weight on the tires.

Interesting texture on the aluminum oil pan. I wonder of this rub-through on the paint was caused by the artillery tires.

I feel lucky to have been able to visit this, my favorite Royale, In Mulhouse, and I will certainly be back to see it again some day. Below I have linked a video of a talk I gave a few months ago on John Shakespeare. Feel free to email me if you have any other information about this Royale at cameronsluther@gmail.com

The Bugatti Royale Coupé de Ville Napoleon

January 27, 2023
Cameron Luther
0

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Musée de l’Automobile, better known as the collection of Fritz and Hans Schlumpf, in Mulhouse, France. I had heard about the Swiss brothers growing up, and their incredible collection of Bugattis and other world class historic automobiles, now the property of the French Government. I will cover some history on the brothers and their collecting through this, and two other blogs, but if you want the best and most complete piece of text covering the subject, I recommend Schlumpf, by Arnoud and Ard Op De Weegh. I’ll be covering three cars from the collection, there are literally hundreds which deserve a piece, but in three hours I was only able to capture three thoroughly. Here is the first, The 1927 Bugatti Type 41 Royale ‘Coupe Napoleon’ with chassis number 41100, which did not start life looking like the above photo, but rather the period shot, shown below.

In the mid-1920s, Ettore Bugatti wanted to build a car which would rival the likes of a large Rolls Royce, with an aim at selling to Royals, the massive size of these are hard to comprehend through photographs alone. This was his first attempt at a running prototype, fitted with a Packard open touring phaeton body and a 14.7 Litre, single overhead-cam inline 8. With its body sitting long and low, this chassis exhibited many new features, including, but not limited to cast aluminum fan blade wheels, and an elephant hood ornament in the style of works by Rembrandt Bugatti, who died ten years earlier. While the cast wheels would make their way onto other Bugatti touring cars, like the Type 46, 49, and 50, the elephant sculpture was kept exclusive to all Royale chassis. This Packard coachwork was recycled, and may have always been intended to be discarded, in favor of something more elegant.

In 1928, 41100 received a Fiacre Coupé body, and the chassis was shortened, matching the production Royale chassis which would follow it. This body was made in-house, and looks far closer to its contemporaries, like the Type 44, many of which were fitted with a horse drawn carriage inspired body like this one.

A few months later, the next body was also produced in Molsheim, and carried a lot of the same stylistic elements of the previous, while featuring limousine coachwork.

This is simply gorgeous, and this was exactly Ettore’s intent when he contracted Weymann of Paris to construct this 4 seat coupé body. The previous bodies looked old and lacked elegance, which was not what his potential clients were willing to buy by 1929.

The sleek Weymann Coupé met its demise two years later, when Ettore and wife Barbara were driving to Molsheim from Paris. Ettore fell asleep at the wheel. At first glance, the pole extending from the front appears to be the hollow forged front end. Upon further inspection, it is still in place, so perhaps this is a piece of shrap metal relating to the impact surface.

Some sources say that 41100 received a new chassis, but would that not constitute a new identification number? Unless some sort of written record exists, which it may, it is impossible to form a conclusion from speculation. In any event, a new body was designed by Jean Bugatti, Ettore’s son, who would lead the companies designs well into the 1930’s. This new Duesenberg inspired body was dubbed the “Coupé de Ville Napoleon”. Ettore would retain this Royale until his death in 1947, though he was a recluse in Paris after the war, so it’s not clear as to when it was used by him for the final time.

So how did the Royale Prototype chassis end up here, in Mulhouse? This chassis as well as the Berline de Voyage and Kellner Coupe were retained by the Bugatti family, and walled inside their Villa in Molsheim during World War II. After the War, American car racing driver Briggs Cunningham purchased the other two chassis, and some years later Fritz Schlumpf was able to Purchase the Coupé Napoleon, presumably through Bugatti expert and collector Hugh Conway.

41100 is in phenomenal original condition, largely due to the fact that it is effectively a one owner car. Under Schlumpf’s care, any necessary work was done in the 1960s to exhibit the car in his private car collection, and the car was not used thereafter. One look at its massive horse shoe shaped radiator, manufactured for Bugatti by Chausson, De Ram friction type shock absorbers, and Marchal headlamps, nickel plating everywhere, and an observer is in awe of the sheer scale and intricacy of it all.

There is a small script under the door which reads “Carrosserie Bugatti”, Jean was in his early twenties when he designed the Grand Coupé. The Royale is kept with hundreds of other Ettore and Jean creations, the likes of which a Bugattist could spend days on end studying.

I previously mentioned the car’s great originality. One factor with cars kept in the Schlumpf Collection is that work was done in secret, so the degree of this originality is hard to confirm, and if restoration work was done in the 1960s, those finishes may have aged and been patinated since that time. I would love to consult with the curators of the museum to see if there are any written records or photographs of the work initially preformed in the 1960s.

The driver sits in an open compartment with leather upholstery. Clocks were specially made by Breguet, for the center of the Royale steering wheels. There is no clock present here, and it’s not clear whether a Royale was ever fitted with one.

The Coupé is not the only Royale in Mulhouse, placed next to a chassis which spent many years in America, the subject of my next blog.

The passengers compartment is lined with ornate fabrics and wood everywhere you look. One feature which I was not able to capture is a set of four flat windows in the rear roof, being driven across France in the back seat of this splendid coach must have been a true thrill.

Here is a detail I was able to capture, which is reminiscent of Bugattis Grand Prix racing cars. Presumably fastening the lip of the fender to the bracket seen in the background, are three tapered bolts, fitted with safety wire. Have these been removed in the past sixty-plus years?

I feel very lucky to have witnessed the Coupé Napoleon up close, and already look forward to seeing it again someday. I hope that I gave some interesting insight to this automobiles history, and if anyone knows further details on its history, please email me at cameronsluther@gmail.com

Mille Miglia Warm Up USA 2022

November 1, 2022
Cameron Luther
0

The readers of this blog are certainly familiar with the Mille Miglia, a one thousand mile timed road rally throughout Italy, but the Warm Up USA may be an event which fewer people have heard of. Being from the DC Area, I was delighted when the first running of this event took place in 2019, and would love to participate in the driving event in the future. The event features ten Mille-eligible cars, and drivers visit landmarks like the Italian embassy in Washington, D.C., and Summit Point Raceway, in West Virginia, all the while enjoying beautiful Blue ridge mountain roads.

This Delahaye 135S had quite a unique set of interior instruments and switch gear. All the clear pieces remind me a lot of a special bodied Post-War Alfa Romeo 6C Cabriolet which was at Pebble Beach a few years ago. Like this Delahaye, the Alfa had a clear steering wheel and dash knobs, and the Alfas components had a very slight orange tint to them.

This Jaguar MK I sedan had a very subtle look, and I’m sure that mechanically it is more than meets the eye, for the purposes of rally. Outside, a host of rally lights, forty louvres in the hood, and black painted wires compliment the cars black hue. As you climb inside, you’re greeted by a C Type-style four post wood rimmed wheel, red leather wrapped race seats, and a leather wrapped cage occupying some of the rear passengers room.

It was a ton of fun to drive the Chick Stanton Porsche 356 Pre-A Speedster to the event. It was cold morning, which only added to the sense of open air adventure.

I had no idea what to expect from this show and I was blown away, not only by the competitors cars, but also the incredible cars being exhibited, the likes of which you would find in the Pebble Beach Pre-War Preservation Class, or winning the FIVA award at Villa D’Este. This Bugatti Type 57C Atalante optimizes that sentiment.

This Atalante, chassis no. 57456, began life as one of the factory built 57 G Tank Le Mans racers for the 1937 running of the 24-hour race. It was converted into a standard chassis Atalante thereafter. Robert Benoist owned the 57 during WWII and he even used the car to escape Nazi arrest.

The Atalante was brought to the United States in 1958, and has remained with the same family since. The amazing thing about this car, is that it remains in largely unrestored conditionThis is a refreshing sight, in a sea of perfect art objects which may not see regular use.

I love these unique taillights, and would like to know more about their origin. I also wonder what the panel in between the filler cap and license plate light gives access to. I would love to see this car in person again and learn more about its history.

The worn blue leather, large gear shift, and wood dash covered in a plethora of ornate gauges present a welcoming space to occupy as you take on large stretches of empty roads through the United States or Continental Europe.

Due to this cars originality, it is more than likely that the dimension of things like the seat frame tubing are correct, and could be used as a reference for a car being restored. This presents the value of an unrestored car, even beyond the fascinating condition and presence of true warn and aged finishes.

A bit of red shows through on the access panel behind the front seats, perhaps hinting at a former interior color or manufacturing technique. Details like the original glass and faded headliner simply would not be present in a restored car. This was really a treat, and I am grateful to the owner for bringing the car out for hundreds of people to see. Thank you to Dave Olimpi and Mark Gessler, as well as the whole Mille Miglia team for having me! I have attached a short video of the event below.

Audrain Car Weekend 2022

October 10, 2022
Cameron Luther
0

 

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Audrain Car Weekend, to judge the Concours on Sunday, as well as exhibit a 356 with at The Gathering on Friday. It was a great experience to see the Audrain events continue to grow and develop, and run into a lot of old friends, as well as be introduced to many new ones.

On the first evening, there was a a formal dinner Galla, hosted by one of the fantastic mansions on the breakers. This was the perfect background to have great conversions about car memories of the past, and discuss that weekends events, and current happenings in the vintage car world. Later in the weekend, there were some fantastic talks by automotive legends, like my chief judge, Jay Ward.

This Glickenhaus Boot was visually wild, in person it looked as if it was one degree away from rolling down the hill. I find Glickenhaus to be one of the most exciting car manufacturers of recent memory, and that’s coming from someone who has very limited interest in modern automobiles. Something about the concept of a small American manufacturer chasing an overall win at Le Mans brings out characteristics of Cunningham Sports Cars or Shelby American. Morton Street Partners is the new kid on the specialty car dealing block. They’ve made a huge splash, displaying cars in the style of an art gallery, in Manhattan. They brought many cars to Audrain, including this hand-painted Ferrari 355 GTS, seen in the background.

This is a 1946 Lancia Aprilia Beretta, with coachwork by Riva di Merate. It is named for its first owner, Luigi Beretta, who regularly raced the one-off Lancia in period. It is built on a prewar frame, like many early postwar Lancia sports cars. I love its simple shape and the subtle amount of brightwork, as well as the extremely short rear overhang.

The beautiful simplicity carries though into the interior. The dash and door tops, which are secured by the square leather lace are very reminiscent of Henry Fords Ferrari 212/225, which resides at the Petersen Museum. The Large off-white rev counter, mounted on the plain aluminum dash really puts driving priorities into perspective. It’s current owner has surely driven it to a high standard, on rallies like The Colorado Grand and Mille Miglia, in addition to various tours in conjunction with concours worldwide.

This is a perfect example of the right car in the right spot. This 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Sports Tourer, with coachwork by Vanden Plas, chassis no. 57541, is appealing from afar, and even more appealing up close. You start to realize the level to which it was restored, with regards to correct materials and finishes.

The car was ordered new through United States Bugatti distributor, George Rand. Rand was unable to sell 57541, and it went back to the UK as a result. It floated around England for a while, before being exported to Trinidad in the early 1950s, presumably where this shot was taken, based upon the registration.

Inside, a host of Lucas instruments cover the Type 57’s brushed aluminum dash, and there is a refreshing look of honesty. Nothing has been over polished, and correct nickel plating is exhibited throughout the cars trim. This must have been an exhilarating driver in period, and similarly, today.

This BMW 507 was the star of the Bonham’s auction at the International Tennis Hall if Fame. It was retained by a single family from new, and exhibits many original finishes. The car was repainted very early on, which I do not even mind because this repaint in itself has aged. Other than making the car mechanically sound and safe, I wouldn’t do a thing to it.

Inside, the light colored leather and bakelite knobs and switches show age, but certainly not abuse. This interior looks comfortable and familiar, rather than the sterile environment of many restored cars.

This 1953 Ferrari 212 Inter, with coachwork by Carrozeria Vignale, looked great out and about on the very wet tour. this car was on the Ferrari stand at the 1953 Turin Motor show, and was restored by Paul Russell & Company. Presented in a stunning two tone scheme of green and black, and with a pair of low slung, French specification Marchal’s, this 212 Inter exudes elegance.

This Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B, with coachwork by Touring Superleggera, is one of six built. This fine auto deserves it’s own blog, watch this space.

This GT40 street car was found a few years ago in a garage by a legendary Ferrari dealer, and shortly after the Ford underwent a full restoration by Canepa Motorsports, in Scotts Valley. Since completion, it has been exhibited at Pebble Beach, Amelia Island, the Velocity Invitational, and now Audrain! Big ups to the cars owner for using and enjoying it. I have a feeling we will see this car in action continually for years to come.

This is a Bentley Gurney Nutting Coupe, chassis no. HM2855, owned new by Woolf Barnato. This is widely believed to be the car immortalized by the “Blue Train” road race which Barnato embarked on from Cannes to London when he was the Chairman of Bentley Motors. More recent research by Bentley authority Clare Hay proves this to be an impossibility as the car was not yet produced, but rather a black Speed Six Saloon was used for the task. The confusion comes from a 1967 painting, featuring the iconic coupe racing the train.

This is a 1931 Bugatti Type 51, chassis no. 51133, with a bit of a twist as you can probably tell. It started life as a Grand Prix racer, which Louis Chiron drove at the 1931 Monaco Grand Prix. Due to his success here, the factory gifted the car to Chiron. He proceeded to sell the car to Andre Bith, a Parisian playboy. Bith entrusted Paris-based coach-builder Louis Dubos to create an aerodynamic coupe body for the Type 51 in 1937. That same year the car ran the Paris-Nice rally.

The Dubos Type 51 has been very carefully restored in a manner of representing it’s storied history. This shows in the details, like the Grand Prix blue painted brake backing plates, butted up against the marvelous and correct one-piece cast aluminum type 51 wheels.

This Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale is certainly a rare sight even at a high level concours. I have fond memories of walking around Amelia Island as a kid, and seeing a different chassis on the Alfa Romeo Corporate stand, they had just released the new 4C. The Tipo 33 on the stand was sort of rough around the edges and the windows were partially secured with clear tape for some reason, it was love at first sight. I would enjoy learning more about this chassis and these cars in general, and writing a full length blog on the subject.

This Corvette C2 received a one-off body by Pinninfarina, and was known as the Rondine. The Rondine is constructed of steel and was show at the 1963 Paris Motor Show. The car was being shown by Carriage House Motors of Greenwich, who have owned it for years. It exhibited a perfect patina, with hints of cracking paint and other warn finishes.

This Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 is so proportionally satisfying. It’s finished in a very dark shade of green, and has a pale green leather interior. The dash is covered in a plethora of orange bakelite switches, typical of special postwar Alfas.

At any concourse event, you always miss a car, and usually another opportunity to see it never comes around. As we loaded up to leave from the area where all the trucks sat during the weekend, this stunning Jaguar SS1 Airline Coupe pulled in to do the same. The car had an interesting light blue interior and had won best in show at the St. Michaels Concours just a few weeks earlier. My dad owned an airline coupe in the 1980s, and for as long as I can remember, he’d recounted great stories about the car, and the experience of buying and owning it. To see one up close was a very special experience, and absolutely builds the desire even stronger to experience the driving characteristics of one someday. A massive thank you to Dave Kinney, Donald Osbourne, and Nic Waller for putting on an incredible event, and including me. I have attached a short video of the weekends highlights below, as always, email me at cameronsluther@gmail.com.

The Inaugural Turtle Rally

October 4, 2022
Cameron Luther
0

I’ve always dreamt of embarking on a proper road rally, with timed stages and large stick on numbers, and when my friend Phillip Richter approached me this spring at a car show and mentioned the planning of a Turtle Rally, I knew it was an event I simply had to attend. Every other year Phillip and the board of Turtle Garage host The Turtle Invitational, a fantastic small concours, which invites collectors and their cars from around the country to Bedford, New York. Because this is a bi-yearly event, the board decided that in the off-year, a rally would be a great way to get passionate collectors together to enjoy their cars on the great roads which New York State has to offer. This would not have been possible without Phillip Richter, Phoebe Rubenstein, Charles Roy, Tom Champion, Bob Luther, Mike Ahn, Micheal Hannagan, and countless others, to which I owe my sincerest thanks.

About a year ago I was able to acquire this 1955 Porsche 356 Pre-A Speedster, chassis no.81132, from a friend, and Micheal and my father had spent the past few months working around the clock to make the car mechanically ready for this 360-mile trek. The speedster had been configured back into a road car in 1969, when it passed from one long term owner to another, which meant all of having its top mounted, rather than the aluminum tonneau cover and roll bar. This car has racing history from new and because this is documented and the parts still exist in unrestored condition, it was decided that the car should be displayed and driven in this configuration.

There was a great variety of fine automobiles on the rally from a pair of Jaguar E types, a cream Ferrari 275 GTS, two MGs and Austins Healey’s, a BMW 503, and even an Cunningham C3. Their owners were even more interesting than the cars. These are truly passion car enthusiasts that want to own these cars and utilize their sporting characteristics.

After getting the car hauled up to Bedford from Alexandria, we noticed that there was rain in the forecast for the next day. No matter! Micheal had assembled the car in such a way that the hardware holding on the roll bar and tonneau was easy to remove, and the factory-style top could be reinstalled in the wake of the first full day of driving. Also a huge thanks to Phillip and the Pray family for allowing us to roll the car into the Malcom Pray Achievement Center, in order to work on the car in a clean and well lit space.

On the first morning we saw sunny skies as we headed for lunch, being passed by a friend I had met at last years invitational in his 3.8 Litre E-Type roadster. I walked into the restaurant where everyone was meeting, and who is standing right in front of me, except Angus Dykman, of Gooding & Company! I’d had the pleasure of working with Angus at the Pebble Beach Auction this August, and it was a very welcome surprise to see him again.

That afternoon was automotive euphoria; a mix of great roads and pouring rain made for a great adventure. Micheal was my co-driver, and was crucial in ensuring that we made it to that nights hotel, somewhat dry. This was my first drive in the car outside of the DC area, and it was great to get to know the cars driving characteristics even better. I’ve fallen even more in love with this car and it’s history, and it makes the pursuit of ownership that much more satisfying.

This series 2 E-type roadster caught my eye; firstly for it’s mint green color, and next for its configuration. Six cylinder, four-speed manual, hub caps, and skinny white walls! A perfect sports car to tour around the Northeast in the late sixties.

The speedster may have gotten a bit damp, but it made it, and after all they’re made to be used. The team truly felt that after this rally the car was happy, and using this car in such a way is true to its competition spirit of days gone by.

I very much enjoyed this event, and felt very lucky to have been asked to be a part of it. I compiled some video clips from the journey, and have linked that in a Youtube video below. As always, email me with any inquiries at cameronsluther@gmail.com.

Historical Chassis Analysis:The Rimoldi 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Corto Spyder

August 29, 2022
Cameron Luther
0

I came across this 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Corto Spyder at the 2022 Pebble Beach Concours, and was taken aback by its features and beautifully aged finishes. Upon leaving the field that day, I had a desire to know more about this unique short wheelbase Pre-War sports racing Tour de Force, and so I naturally looked to friends for the chassis number.

Within a few hours and through a short conversation with a very young and knowledgeable authority on these and other Italian sports racing cars, I was relayed that the chassis number originally assigned to this automobile was Chassis no. 2211107. The Italian word corto means “short”, this was the ideal racing chassis in the early thirties for events like the Mille Miglia and Monte Carlo Rallye. This 8C received a unique body by Carrozzeria Touring and upon completion was register to the Alfa Romeo Works racing team.

Speaking of the Monte Carlo Rallye, this chassis participated in the 1935 running of the event, driven by Luigi Chinetti and Jean Trevaux. Luigi Chinetti’s name should be familiar to readers, as he was later responsible for the majority of early competition and sports Ferraris imported to the United States, but prior to that he was a driver and dealer of Alfa Romeo automobiles. Back to Monte Carlo, the car was running a highly unique top, which had bows and fabric lining like a folding soft top, yet exhibited shell-like features, as if it were rapped aluminum. In the final stages of the great race upon the hills of Monaco, and leading, Trevaux spun the Alfa and the front end was damaged, rendering any chance at a finish unrealistic. The picture shown below is evidently the result of the spin, the unique looking removable top, and seductive cut of the original rear fenders can be seen in plain view.

After this racing effort, 2211107 left the ownership of the factory Works, and by the end of 1935, it was delivered to it’s Hungarian owner. Sometime between 1935 and 37 Giacomo Brenta of Budapest took possession of the car. In April of 1937 the Corto chassis 8C graced Alfa Romeo works once again and was mechanically reveiewed, ensuring is roots style supercharged dual overhead-cam inline eight cylinder engine would be in top fettle for its next owner, Italian ice merchant Signor Giulio Rimoldi. Rimoldi was a British Domicile and therefore the 8C was imported to the United Kingdom and shipped upon the SS Tonbridge.

Rimoldi would go on to own and cherish the 8C for over five decades. As he regularly used the short Spyder for trips about the Alps, some modifications were made for this use case. A custom leather bonnet cover was sew to fit, and had a diamond-stitched section which could be rolled over the grille. Amazingly, this piece still survives in the car today. Two large luggage cases were affixed to the front fenders, and they too are retained. Another interesting modification, which was executed in 1950, was the removal of the rear hatches, this, combined with sectioning down the fuel tank, allowed room for child’s seats to be fitted. One does wonder what this would look like, and how incredible it would be to bear witness to this exciting 8C driving around the Alps in the 1950s, with four occupants aboard! Rimoldi retained his stunningly original and unique 8C until his passing in 1988, and subsequently the auto has graced the hands of three enthusiasts who have used it in historic rallying events like the Monte Carlo Rallye Historic and Mille Miglia.

Taking a glance into the cockpit, this chassis exhibits such honesty. Perfectly worn seats and door cards mesh so seamlessly with knobs, gauge surrounds, and faces which have simply been kept clean over the last seventy years, rather than being restored, much like the rest of the car.

These tags are very interesting, they are Reale Automobile Club d’Italia registrations from both 1936 and 1937. I find these intriguing, having archived some cars which were delivered to the Italian Market in this era, I have seen the papers related to these tags, but never the tags themselves. The purpose of these and their corresponding documentation is what is contemporarily known as a road registration. it makes sense that it would receive a take in 1937 and be exported to the UK later that year, the ornate and weathered look of these makes them so compelling to gaze upon.

It was a true pleasure to be in the presence of such and storied and well preserved automobile, and a delight to know that its owners piloted such an important Alfa on the 50 mile tour a few days earlier. I yearn to experience pre-war racing cars, and this would certainly be at the top of the list.

Users Guide to Daily Driving a Vintage Porsche in Los Angeles

July 4, 2022
Cameron Luther
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For the past month, I have been interning for Gooding & Company, a Southern California based vintage car auction house. They are among the top vintage car auction companies worldwide, and I feel incredibly honored to be a part of their team and brush shoulders with them on a daily basis. Around Mid-March, I was attending the LA Toy and Lit me with my father and our friend Paul Levy. At one of the events we spotted this 1972 911 with a simple for sale sign on it. We had been yearning for a 72T for a while, and we fell for this one. The 911T produced for the 1972 model year is unique as it is the only year in which the T trim level of the Porsche 911 came with Mechanical Fuel Injection. 1972 is also a unique year for all 911s because they had an “Oilklappe” which was an outside oil filler for on the passenger side quarter panel. This came straight from the external filler cap on the 1967 911R, but it was only in the production for the singlular year because many filling station attendants filled it with gas, destroying the 2.4L engines.

The car culture in and around the Los Angeles area its second to none. Between friendly enthusiasts and the variety of cars, and finally the amount of weekly events, there’s no shortage of things to do on weekends. Here are David and Amy Keens Hot Rod 911s looking ready to go tear up some winding roads, parked up at the Malibu Country Mart.

Then there are the roads, this is Piuma road which snakes through Malibu Creek, climbing farther into the hills which each tight bend. These roads really open ones eyes to the joys of a light old sports car, and the incredible engineering of a Porsche 911’s chassis.

My father came in to town one weekend to visit and check out the Pomona swap meet, which we would regularly attended when I was a child. This weekend also provided a great chance for him to drive the T for the first time on roads like Mulholland Highway and the PCH.

Old Cars Create New Friends. Within a few weeks of attending the Malibu Cars and Coffee and other events I felt like a part of the community, and I have to thank Daniel Berman, Robert Nathanson, Pally Zhang, Sidney Sora, Shant Mesh, Vinny Russo, and Zak dearly for that.

The swap meet was even larger and more filled with variety than I had remembered from years past. This 69 Shelby GT500 was particularly interesting to me; painted blue when new, it was optioned with a 4-speed and Air-conditioning, and had covered very few miles. Other than the paint, this Shelby appeared very original and untouched, which is my favorite condition in any historic automobile.

This 1954 Buick Convertible wash Barn Fresh, and unfortunately the bottom of the passenger side for had a nasty gash in it, otherwise it totally spawns the fantasy in your mind of mechanically restoring it, but not event cleaning the exterior, and driving it around downtown full of friends with the top down.

Volkswagen was the featured marque at this months swap meet, and these Cal-Look Oval and Split-Window bugs were just fantastically customized and all finished were done to a very high standard.

Speaking of fantastic finishes, this 1948 Chevy was probably the most interesting car of the weekend. It was built to a concourse or better standard, everything in the engine bay was chromed (As you would have seen a lot in the 60’s in Southern California), and it was outfitted with period accessories galore.

I’m really enjoying the work I am involved with at Gooding, and the exposure to this part of the vintage automotive world. I have linked a video below which shows some fun driving roads and and gives a guide to things you will need and practices you’ll want to put in place when daily driving a sports car in a place like LA. I am always looking to buy Vintage Sports and Racing cars, please email me at cameronsluther@gmail.com.

McPherson CARS Show 2022

May 30, 2022
Cameron Luther
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The 2022 student run McPherson CARS Show marked the events post-Covid return in full form.  This was very exciting for the student body involved, as many of us had not experienced a regular car show prior to this year. It also marked the culmination of years of planning by the colleges professors and advisors. Friday afternoon the Paul Russell & Company Automotive Library had its grand opening, a whole floor of our Miller Library built to be a place for automotive students and anyone interested to learn more about the history of the automobile through scholarly research.

I was able to bring the 1968 Jaguar E type roadster onto the field with the help of my friend, Conrad Gramckow, and his vintage John Deere Tractor. I put in countless late nights reassembling the E roadster, but there were still a few parts in transit at the time of the show.

I brought my 1984 Mercedes 500SEC over for the student section, and my father and I put together some signs to portray the history of this SEC particularly with its first owner, but that story deserves its own separate blog, or book, perhaps.

Of course The Pink Pig 356SC made an appearance, and was given a slightly elevated spot, allowing for visitors passing by to get an even closer look at the low sitting La Carrera veteran racer. Next to it was my friend Cole Millers 1969 912 Targa, which Cole mechanically restored through classes offered in the AR Program, and did a lot of detail work on giving the car a very period correct look and configuration.

These posters may give you a hint as to the he history of this SEC, it will be made roadworthy and rebuilt to match the period photographs, in due course. The 77 911S respray is still a work in progress, and it will be on the field next spring.

This stunning and unique Aston Martin DB2 Prototype was graciously shipped from the West Coast and presented by Alumni Adam Mashiach, on behalf of a private collector. These full circle opportunities which CARS show brings about, and the opportunities which students get to gain exposure to these types of vehicles is a great representation of the power of the program.

Another angle of the Pink Pig, which needs to return to a track or road rally soon, and the schools 1953 Mercedes 300S Path to Pebble Restoration Project, which I have had there pleasure of working on throughout this school year.

This was the scene in Templeton Hall in the days leading up to the show. What is the story of this 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona? It was purchased new by Richard and Melanie Lundquist and has just been donated to McPherson, as our first Ferrari and Preservation Project. This car will be eligible to events worldwide and spread awareness of the program into every corner of the Car Collecting Globe.

It was a massively satisfying feeling to present the E back to its owner and show him what mechanical restoration has taken place since I first laid eyes on it in September.

The Lundquists also showed this 1937 Mercedes 540K cn. 154151, which wears a 27 year old restoration by Paul Russell and Company, and if you told me it was just completed for this past summers Pebble Beach Concours, I would believe you. That’s partially due to the fact that it participated successfully at the Concours this past summer, and also the fact that the restoration was done to such a high standard that it has aged gracefully. It was purchased new from the 1937 Berlin Motor show stand by Jack Warner, of Warner Brothers.

I really enjoyed this years car show and look forward to 2023. I have linked a Youtube video below showing some of the action from day of, and preparations. Email me anytime at cameronsluther@gmail.com

A Morning Coffee in Georgetown-356SC

April 8, 2022
Cameron Luther
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In late March we had a week off of school and I took full advantage of that by going home to work on some of my families cars and getting everything out and exercised. This included the 1965 356SC sunroof coupe which I took to McPherson College my freshman year and for which this website is centered. This car has just the right mix of patina, both original and older finishes, mechanical refinement, and style with the bumper badges, 4.5 inch Fuchs, ski rack etc. Other 356s will be experienced but this will always be the car which I reference as a great driving experience.

I wanted to do a proper drive in the SC aside from just taking it out and getting it up to temperature. I was on the phone with a good friend from Potomac who suggested I go into Georgetown, DC first thing in the morning for a cappuccino. It was a simple trip like this which led to a whole vintage car adventure. Around 6 I back out of the driveway, taking a detour on the way to M street to be able to traverse the Chain Bridge and snake up Clara Barton Parkway on the way in.

I had so much fun driving into a relatively empty Georgetown, a sight similar to a blue moon, and walking around as the city started to come to life, that when my Father and I were taking out our Irish Green 77 targa later in the week, we decided to do the same thing.

One street I enjoyed in particular was Cecil Place. It stems right off off the C&O Canal so I spotted some of its picturesque homes while sitting on the front patio at Blue Bottle. It is an interesting spot as its a quiet little neighborhood right in the middle of one of the busiest parts of Georgetown. The blooming cherry blossoms and bright colored store fronts certainly provided a nice photo opportunity.

I really enjoyed exploring undiscovered alcoves and storefronts right in my own “backyard”, and would recommend this route to anyone looking to do something a little bit different one morning, just go early enough to beat DC traffic! Below I have linked a video of the first trip, if you have a Porsche or other sports car you would like to sell email me at cameronsluther@gmail.com.

250 GTO Encounter-Amelia Island 2022

April 3, 2022
Cameron Luther
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This years Amelia Island was definitely one of the highlights of my spring, it was also an interesting year for Amelia, as the event returned to early March, and has been acquired by Hagerty. I arrived Friday afternoon and went straight to meet my father and some friends at the Gooding and Company sale. David Gooding and his team always gather a great selection of sports cars and other vintage cars for their sales, but this one spoke to me in particular, featuring many Porsche factory race cars, like this 1974 IROC RSR, driven by AJ Foyt. This 3.0 litre RSR brought 1.475 million dollars, over 100,000 above the high estimate, and arguably a fair price for 1 of only 15 chassis built for the IROC series.

This may look like a 904, but the chassis tags label it as a 906, and the catalogue labels it as a “904/6”. So the story with this, and 5 others like it, is that they were the first 6 906s which Porsches built. The tubular chassis is closer to a 906 than a 904, but it has a 904 body draped over it. This is how they left the factory, though they were all factory werks cars powered by a 2.0 litre flat 6 rather than a 4-cam. This Porsche hammered at 2 million even and was purchased by a collector sitting behind me who has already street driven it! This unique 904/6’s value presents a perfect situation for the phrase “Find Another”.

This is the first 2000 GT Toyota produced, and it was campaigned by Shelby American Racing when new. A regular 2000 GT is already a highly desirable vehicle, and one converted in period by Carrol Shelby has to be the ultimate example next to the car used in the James Bond film “You Only Live Twice”. If you collect Shelby related sports and racing cars this is a must have for the ultimate collection of them and this is the only one.

Which strolling between the RM Sothebys auction and the front driveway of The Ritz Carlton, I noticed some interesting cars parked up in preparation for Sundays Concours. The 917 on the left is 917-015, belonging t0 Bruce Canepa, it is a gulf 917K which achieved first overall at the 1970 24 Hours of Daytona. Under the cover next to the 917 is a very special car we will discuss below. All the way on the right is a BMW E36 M3 finished in the ultra rare shade of Mint Green, presented by Gabe Nakash.

This 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO series one was featured in a class entirely made up of red Ferraris during Sundays Concourse portion of  “The Amelia”, it is always surreal to see one of the original 35 cars built in the flesh, and to hear it run was the cherry on top.(Seen in a Youtube video below)

This 1968 Porsche 907 was part of the iconic 1-2 finish at that years Sebring 12 Hours. It is fresh out of a restoration and was presented by Canepa Motorsports. I was amazed at the correctness of this restoration, in particular the chalky sheen of the paint which is talked about a lot on this era of fiberglass Porsche prototype racers looked just right.

Here is the aforementioned “car under the cover”, a Cunningham C4R. This was presented by The Miles Collier Collections at The Revs Institute and is the only unrestored C4R of the two which exist. This car along with its twin C4RK were retained by Briggs Cunningham until moving to The Revs where they reside today. I was able to spend a lot of time studying both of these while interning with The Revs this summer and they are truly mesmerizing in original finishes and incredible history, being American built cars which competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1952.

This Murphy bodied Duesenburg Model J Roadster comes from the family collection of Judge North. It was given to the Judge by his father in college and remains in the same unrestored condition today.

Here is the fastest Porsche 935 built and the last 935 to race at the 24 Hours of Daytona, winning overall. It was constructed and run by Kevin Jeanette with Preston Henn. Henn’s businesses “The T-Bird Drive In” and “Swap Shop”, along with Brumos, were sponsors of the racing Porsche. This car has never been restored.

Porsches most significant win at Daytona was arguably in 1973 when this 2.8 litre RSR, driven by Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood, won First overall against all the GT and Prototype class competitors! It was a true battle to the end with the body sustaining lots of damage at the time, the interior still seems to present a lot of original materials and finishes.

Here is another look at the Swap Shop 935, with a mechanically injected twin turbo flat 6 but together by Alwin Springer at ANDIAL, the company responsible for putting together many winning racing Porsche engines at Daytona and Pikes Peak.

This Porsche 550 Spyder is 550-0031. In 1956, a young Swiss engineering student convinced his uncle to let him try out some engineering principles on his newly acquired 550. He designed and fabricated the adjustable wing and it was tested during the 1956 Nurburgring 1000 km. It was so successful in qualifying that it was immediately banned.

Here is a vehicle which I did not fully understand until my friend Stephen circled me back around for a second, more detailed look. This is the BMW M8 Prototype, which is a wild one off, no limits to the engineers imagination creation, powered by an individually throttle body injected v12. If this engine sounds familiar, it should as it is the same power plant used in the elusive McLaren F1. This M8 has hundreds of other one off details inside and out and is truly a treat to see in person, from what I hear this is one of the only times it has left the factory in Munich.

I spotted this parked by the side of the road on the way out. It is a 1976 912E, finished in Bitter Chocolate Brown with a Cork vinyl interior. This was special for me to see in person as it is the same color combination as my 1977 911S was delivered in and I have never seen the spec in person.

It was great to catch up with the Alumni and the National Advisory Board members of the McPherson College of Auto Restoration, and a special thank you to Matt Goist for providing the Model J for the occasion. Below I have linked a short video from The Amelia. If you have a vintage sports or racing you would like to sell please email me at cameronsluther@gmail.com.