If you visit Brussels this summer, know that Europe’s capital has something in store for car lovers. Indeed, the Brussels Museum Autoworld has opened its doors every day of the week until September 2 to show you the magnificent history of Renault.
Pre-war glory: A 1937 4,1 litre 6 cylinder Vivasport… just dream away behind this sporting version of the Renault Vivastella sedan
We were present at the opening reception, and show you here some photos of the formidable and iconic cars which are on display, and we lift a brief veil on their history…
We treat you this time, dear reader, on a following story about famous men who changed motorsport and/or made such an important contribution to the development of the automobile, that the automotive world has never been the same again since then. Such a man was the Austrian nobleman Robert Eberan von Eberhorst. He made his mark as a formidable engineer not only before WW2, but also throughout the war and also in the fifties, and one of his post-war creations, the Aston Martin DB3 sports racing car, is still raced in historic sporting events, right until this day…
I would have loved to participate with my pristine BMW Z3 youngtimer to this event, but the last sequels of my torn muscle prevented me, alas. Things are now rapidly improving healthwise, and I really can hardly wait to drive my Z3 roadster into the sunshine again, just another few weeks of patience…
In the meantime, this rally proved a success. The route went through the Flemish Limburg fruit region, and was indeed fully subscribed with 50 participants. Undoubtedly, next year the number of participants will be still larger…
The Collection by Vermant concept, which as faithful readers know was launched three months ago at the Antwerp Classic Salon, has literally a flying start.
The workshop under the direction of specialist and operational manager Ruben Bosch is humming along, and the enthusiast with a warm heart for classics can discover now in the brand new showroom at the Generaal De Wittelaan in Malines an exquisite collection of cars for sale.
Bringing together passionate classic car lovers and clients is wat the Collection by Vermant wants to do. Just have a drink at the bar in the showroom and discover what they can do and mean for you…
We show you here the photos of the event, with some interesting cars indeed…
Sabine Schmitz, a born and bred Nürburgring driver, the daughter of the innkeeper/hotel owner at the famous Eifel circuit, who started driving/racing around the “Green Hell” as a teenager, went behind the wheel of the brand new RS version of Skoda’s big seven seater, and put her unique racing driver talents and Ring experience to work.
There is of course a magnificent You tube film about her 9:29.84 minute drive, of which we give you a link in this column. We decided to put this performance in an historical perspective, and more specifically how does this compare to the performances of the Grand Prix and sports drivers and cars of the fifties?
Here you see GIOLITO Roberto and GIUDICI David, Starting number 31, in their 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS… on the grounds of the Museo Storico, during the event.
As we told your earlier, dear reader, Alfa was present in strength at the latest edition of this beautiful event. The course led even to the Museo Storico grounds, and the Alfa’s which participated were equally breathtaking. Indeed, the race caravan paid a celebratory visit to the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo at Arese, where time trials were held on the internal circuit.
But besides meticulous cars, it also pays of to prepare yourself thoroughly for this regularity event. Know the course and the stages very well, and train yourself in driving to the (hundreds of a )second.
Here you see my drawing of the winners, receiving the chequered flag . For a better view, press ctrl + to or pinch enlarge it…
This is what the winners did, TONCONOGY Juan and RUFFINI Barbara, in their 1933 ALFA ROMEO 6C 1500 GS “TESTA FISSA”, starting number 85. You see them here on my drawing here joyously receiving the finish flag, with the second official presenting already the coveted champagne bottle. Miss Barbara Ruffini is already holding her left hand on the door to jump out of the car and collect her winner’s prizes.
This was not the only success of the formidable Alfa’s.
In second place, just eight penalty points behind the victor, there was the stunning 6C 1500 Super Sport dating from 1928, with coachwork by Stabilimenti Farina. This was an official car from the FCA Heritage collection, which is normally on display at the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo, driven by Giovanni Moceri with co-driver Daniele Bonetti, with starting number 30. See here the photo above.
In third place, the 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Zagato of Vesco-Guerini, starting number 39.
It is very touching to see that 50 years after their 1928 victory, an Alfa is again on the winner’s podium in this iconic Mille Miglia.
I couldn’t resist making a drawing of the glorious moment when the winners drove on the podium, and present you also some more photos of the other winners and Alfa’s in the Mille Miglia 2018…
Bugatti engines have, like the cars, been wonderfully designed and built since the birth of the “marque”. They are designed like true sculptures, and Ettore Bugatti paid great attention not only to the mechanics itself, but also how they looked from outside. The external surfaces were also buffed especially in a circular pattern, just like the cockpit and dashboard panels.
His son Jean Bugatti continued the tradition of unique panache and style. Not only did he design magnificent factory made bodyworks, he also helped develop magnificent twin cam Bugatti engines which saw light in the thirties.
The twin cam version was seen amongst others in the Type 51 Racing car, which made its debut in 1931. This formidable engine, which I drew here in ink, enhancing it with some water color touches, was the 160 hp (119 kW) twin overhead cam evolution of the supercharged 2.3 L (2262 cc/138 cubic inches) single overhead cam straight-8 found in the Type 35B racing car.
This car, contrary to the 35 biposto, was to be very rare indeed: only some 40 examples of the Type 51 and 51A were build.
On my drawing, one clearly sees the compressor, and its small circular waste gate with its …. openings which protruded outwards at the bottom of the louvered right side of the foldable engine bonnet.
The pencil drawing – I used the 2B grade – shows the cockpit of the 51 “Voiture de Course”, with a very rare Cotal preselector gearbox. This was a manually controlled epicyclic box, as similar construction as the famous Wilson box. The difference is that instead of band brakes, it used electromagnetic clutches. Drivers could preselect the lower or higher gears under braking before or accelerating out of a corner, and it was seen on other French thoroughbred racing cars, like the Talbot Lago 4,5 liter monoposto for instance.
Twin Cam engines are also to be found on the type 57, and later variants (including the famous Atlantic and Atalante) was an entirely new design created by Jean Bugatti.
A lot more can be told about Bugatti’s, the cars and their creators, and as this drawing series is only beginning, you are in for much more in the future… stay tuned!
The love affair between the three pointed star and the Mille Miglia is now nine decades old.
The legendary successes include the victory of Rudolf Caracciola as the first non-Italian driver in 1931, with his co-driver Wilhelm Sebastian in a Mercedes-Benz SSKL (“Super Sport Short Light”). I included here my drawing based on the historical photo taken at the finish, drawn with ink pen and 2B pencil, focusing on the drivers, bringing them more in detail.
Then there is the sensational success of Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson in 1955, with the overall victory and a still unbeaten record time of 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds. In 1955 Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson drove the 300 SLR racing sports car (W 196 S) to overall victory ahead of their team mate Juan Manuel Fangio.
Also triumphant were the 300 SL “Gullwing” sports cars (W 198) in the Gran Turismo class over 1,300 cc displacement, and the 180 D (W 120) won a victory in the diesel class.
In 1956, in addition to several 300 SL “Gullwing” cars and three luxury class saloons of the 220 “Ponton” (W 180) model, a privately entered Mercedes-Benz 190 SL (W 121) also competed successfully in the race.
In 2018, a large contingent of the Mercedes-Benz models SSK (W 06), 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198), 190 SL (W 121) and 220 “Ponton” (W 180) vehicles will be lining up at the start in Brescia. Among others, Mercedes-Benz Classic brand ambassadors Roland Asch, Ellen Lohr, Bernd Mayländer and Bernd Schneider will be at the wheel of the vehicles.
Today’s version of the “1000 Miglia” is run on a route which closely follows that of the original road race. This year, the first stage (16 May 2018) will lead from Brescia to Cervia-Milano Marittima, and then on to Rome on the second day (17 May). The route to Parma is on the agenda on the third day (18 May), before the rally returns to Brescia on the fourth day (19 May). Entry is restricted to vehicle models that already participated in the famous Italian road race during the period from 1927 to 1957.
Museo Mille Miglia: Public starting ramp with famous racing cars
The ties between the brand and the racing tradition are also underlined by the cooperation between Mercedes-Benz Classic and the Museo Mille Miglia in the historical monastery complex of Sant’Eufemia della Fonte just outside Brescia.
This year, Mercedes-Benz is putting on an extraordinary special exhibition in the courtyard of the museum: every visitor can drive his vehicle on a starting ramp as is typical for the Mille Miglia. He can position his vehicle for a photo between two famous Mercedes-Benz racing cars which caused a sensation at the Mille Miglia with their successes: the 300 SL racing sports car (W 194) from 1952 (2nd and 4th place) and the 300 SLR (W 196 S) from 1955 (1st and 2nd place).
This staging can be seen and used from 10 May to 21 June 2018.
Mercedes-Benz “1000 Miglia Challenge 2018”
Apart from the actual competition, this is also down to programme items such as the Mercedes-Benz “1000 Miglia Challenge 2018”.
The participants in the Mercedes-Benz “1000 Miglia Challenge” will drive ahead of the classic cars on the same route and will compete in the same special stages. Vehicles permitted to take part in the Challenge are Mercedes-Benz SL models of various generations and vehicles from Mercedes-AMG plus models of particular historical value from the product history.
We were browsing for information about the participation of Mercedes in the next Mille Miglia, and we stumbled on other remarkable news, which shows how painstakingly professional Mercedes is caring about its products and notably its classic and historic cars.
Form now on, key body parts for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198) are again available in factory quality. They can be ordered by their part number from any Mercedes-Benz sales partner, just like that!
The metal parts are produced for Mercedes-Benz Classic by a certified supplier, whose expertise includes the highly complex construction of tools from optimised 3D data from original bodies. Metal parts produced on these tools are then worked into their final shape by hand using wooden mallets – another special process.
The precise 3D tool data also provide the basis for quality inspection by means of painstaking false colour comparison. The measuring tool receives the data as a reference and uses false colours to visualise the measured deviations between the desired state and the actual state, thus making it possible for the measurement results to be unambiguously and quickly interpreted.
The body parts meet the high standards of Daimler AG and can be ordered by their part number from any Mercedes-Benz sales partner. Their surfaces are electrophoretically painted, which assures the highest technical and visual standards. The prices include VAT.
Front panelling left (A198 620 03 09 40), 11,900 euros
Front panelling right (A198 620 04 09 40), 11,900 euros
Rear panelling left (A198 640 01 09 40), 14,875 euros
Rear panelling right (A198 640 02 09 40), 14,875 euros
Rear-end center section (A198 647 00 09 40), 2,975 euros
The 36th edition of the iconic race coincides with the 90th anniversary of the first of the 11 victories Alfa Romeo recorded from 1927 to 1957: a record which will now never be beaten.
This anniversary will be celebrated on 19 May, when the race will pay a visit to Milan and to the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo at Arese, where time trials will be held on the internal circuit. Held for the 36th time this year, the race will be run over the traditional Brescia-Rome-Brescia route and will star Alfa Romeo both as Automotive Sponsor and as “guest of honour”, as this year marks the 90th anniversary of its first victory in the legendary race, held from 1927 to 1957.
From 19 May to December 2018, the Museum will host the “11 volte campione” [11 times champion”] exhibition, which celebrates these sporting exploits, engraved in the memories of fans all over the world.
Inaugurated on 24 June 2015, the fascinating Museo Storico Alfa Romeo – known as “The Time Machine” – is the heart of a real “brand centre”, created by a major upgrading project by architect Benedetto Camerana, which brings together the brand’s past, present and future. As well as the area displaying the key models from the Alfa Romeo historic collection, the site is buzzing and vibrant, with the Archive, the internal circuit, the events spaces, the Alfa Romeo Café and the show-room with delivery area. More on this museum in a special report.
Competing in this year’s race will be several wonderful classic Alfa Romeo cars from the FCA Heritage collection: from the 6C 1500 SS to the 6C 1750 GS, and from the 1900 SS to the 1900 Sport Spider.
On 19 May, drivers Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc from the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team currently taking part in the 2018 Formula 1 championship will also be present. Their participation is a tangible sign of how indelibly the racing world is engraved in the Alfa Romeo DNA… we just let you look here at the photos, and tell you also soon more about other iconic brands participating at the Mille Miglia 2018…
Without any doubt, the powerful rear engine Auto Unions were ahead of their time. Their sheer “Leistung” or power was absolutely legendary. Just tires couldn’t cope, and the sheer chassis dynamics and even more importantly aerodynamics were not fully understood at the time. So the cars had no downforce at racing speeds, and the narrow tires with their still softer construction and not so adhesive compounds did not help.
The V16 engine of this Type C was a Porsche design, and started off in the type A with a displacement of 4360 cc. But it was originally meant to be a 6 litre engine, and this it was in the Type C. The two cylinder banks were angled at 45 degrees, and one central camshaft operated all the 32 valves. That is why the engine has this typical look of 16 pushrods in their gleaming chromed shafts connected with the exhaust valves, while the intake valves were actuated by the camshaft through rocker arms. So we see three valve covers on this beautiful engine.
The engine was laid out to develop massive low end torque, and for a racing engine, it revved quite low, as the rev counter clearly tells.
All this torque, a hefty 853 Nm being available at 2500 rpm, was very difficult to handle for the narrow rear wheel tires, and a limited slip differential was badly needed to stop the inner wheel in narrow corners from spinning fiercely through under full throttle, even in the dry!
The impressive two-stage Roots compressor at the back of the engine, fed by a battery of two carburetors…
Maximum power ranged from 485 to 520 PS or 357-382 kW during the racing seasons, and whether the race was to be long or short. It was achieved at – at least for a racing engine –a very lowish 5000 rpm. A two stage roots compressor was used, with 0,95 bar pressure.
One last item, which one tends to forget when talking about the sheer performance of this engines, is that the 200 L tank did not contain ordinary fuel. A (secret) mixture using amongst others ethanol and methanol was used. This did allow higher combustion chamber pressures and temperatures, without problems of knocking or lack of cooling. One needs to flush the system after races because the mixture is corrosive.
In our next edition, we will go for the equally stunning Alfa Romeo P2 straight 8 compressor engine…