Friday, 24 May 2013

If you go down to the road today...

...you're in for an unexpected surprise! Heading home from Loches earlier today we found ourselves slotted in behind a vintage car, which we guessed was pre-WWII. It had a rally sign [which we couldn't read] on the back and was sporting an old UK numberplate.

On the way to St Flovier: behind the 1934 Riley Blue Streak Bronson Special & in front a Buick Standard Six from 1925
While going through Perusson the rain started to spit again and the poor driver and passenger were completely at the mercy of the elements; it was all of 10C according to our dashboard. Worse, as we left Perusson towards Verneuil the heavens opened.... again. The vintage car too had turned off on the same road so we settled down behind them wondering where they were headed to. Meanwhile, Niall had rooted around on the back seat to get hold of the camera which -for once- we had with us and took some photos as we headed on towards St Flovier. En-route we caught up with another car which was obviously taking part in the same rally. By now, we'd deciphered part of the faded sepia styled sign and read that they had started in Paris, but it was still too hard to read the destination whilst driving behind them.
From the front: the 1925 Buick Standard Six in Charnizay
A couple of years ago we were in Le Grand Pressigny when a rally stopped there for lunch and we speculated whether the participants of this rally were headed there. Driving through St Flovier it was obvious that other rally cars had gone before as there were little knots of people waving and taking photos as the 'old timers' drove through -- with us bringing up the rear! Leaving St Flovier we came upon a couple more vintage cars and by now it seemed pretty clear that the cars would be passing through our own village of Charnizay so we put our foot down and overtook the slower ones to get ahead of the game.
Coming up the hill, car no 66: a 1938 Alfa Romeo 6C
Our village sits on the top of an escarpment above the Aigronne river, and right at the top is a T junction where you turn right if you want to continue on to Preuilly sur Claise. In other words the rally cars would have to change down going up the hill and slow/stop at the T junction which would be great for getting some photos. So far we'd taken a few snaps through the rain smeared windshield.
A 1908 Brasier Race Car 1925 Bentley 3 ltr Supersports
Once home we did a bit of rootling around on the internet and discovered that all the cars we saw  were taking part in a 3 day Vintage Paris - Madrid rally which commemorated one held 110 years ago in 1903. If you like, you can read about the original race here. The particiants had left Versailles this morning on the first leg which will end later today in Angouleme. According to the blurb they stopped for lunch at the Auberge de Montpoupon, a very nice place indeed, as we found out last summer when we ate there.
Star of the show, car no 1:1903 Mercedes 60HP, 110 yrs old and going strong

4 spare wheels and 'proper' carriage lamps at the back
Thanks to the rally website we were able to find out the makes/models of the cars we saw. Sadly, no photo of the front of the Riley Blue Streak Bronson Special. It lived up to its name as it vrooomed along the D road at a healthy 80 mph so we never did get ahead of it!

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Thanks to Tim and Leon for corrections on the exact types of cars :-)

23 comments:

Susan said...

They can't have lunched at the Auberge du Montpoupon unless the chateau put in a temporary caterer -- the chef's done a runner, leaving a trail of debts.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Susan - oop!! So when did that happen?

Presumably they arranged an alternative. The Auberge was the lunch stop for day 1 according to the info on the rally website.

ladybird said...

I'm sure the organizers and drivers didn't expect this weather ... What a pity! Nevertheless, your photos are great. Thanks for his lovely post. Martine
P.S. Did you get my e-mail? :)

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Martine - so miserable for them! Just sheer luck that a) we were on the road and b) actually had the good camera with us! :-)

Ja hoor --sorry beetje langzaam-- en al opgezocht op de kaart waar jullie zijn. Nu maar hopen dat beter weer opkomst is :-)

Tim said...

That Riley...
BSC 761...
is a Bronson Special.
The car is based on a Blue Streak, fitted with a large Supercharger.

Nice car!!
With that supercharger...
they probbibbibibably dodged the drops!!
No wonder you didn't manage to overtake it!!

And a view of the front is here...
http://www.srvr.wmit.net/motor/riley/special5.jpg
Photo from Mark Ballard.

Craig said...

What a treat to stumble upon these beauties! A Paris-Madrid rally sounds like great fun.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Tim - as we wouldn't know one end of a Riley from t'other we relied on the participants & car list on the rally organiser's website for info. Do like the name 'Blue Streak' ...

... It had the most superb throaty roar. We did manage to stick to its tail all the way to Charnizay though :-)

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Craig - It was a treat to see them and especially the 1903 Mercedes--not bad to undertake a 800 mile plus road trip at that age :-)

The Broad said...

Those cars are just amazing -- to think of that Mercedes still running. Have to say, though, I do not envy any of them travelling roofless and chilly!

the fly in the web said...

Gorgeous cars...what luck for you!

Tim said...

It had a throaty roar because it is a "REAL" car!!
That's why Subaru owners "hammer nails through their silencers"... or, in most cases just fit a megaphone exhaust tailpipe... that comes off for MOTs!!
Irriots...

Leon and Sue Sims said...

Love the Riley - we have a strong Riley club in Melbourne. Unless I'm mistaken (and I could be)the Brasier looks like it could have the Bentley wings on the radiator. The Brasier had a 4 leaf clover with the word Paris underneath.
As for the Mercedes, there was one of the 18 litre ones in Melbourne until it was sold I believe to the USA.
I'm a keen collector of motor racing pictures from the 30s to 60s. You may have inspired me to occasionally post some.
Hope you get some sunshine soon - way overdue for you.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Broad - totally agree with you, they were bundled up like Eskimos but still looked forzen!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@fly - they were definitely pampered beauties :-)

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Tim - we once did same - not on purpose though - roared through the Highlands near Ballater with a bust muffler on our wee Honda Civic. Residents were not amused ;-)

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Leon & Sue - just enlarged the photo and well spotted there is 'B' on the hood :-)

In doing so I also spotted another number (half hidden) on the car: 37.
According to the participants/cars list that would make it a Bentley 3ltr Supersports Team car from 1925...

...does that seem right?

Glad you enjoyed the pics!

Leon and Sue Sims said...

The old Bentley Blowers thundered down Mulsanne straight to win five of Le Mans 24 hour events between the two world wars.
What a pain in the bum I am - but I love car history.
Has it stopped rain there yet?

Susan said...

Antoinette: The chef of the Auberge skipped several months ago. It hasn't been open since.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Leon - no pain at all! :-) We know nothing about classic cars! We just think they look amazing and have the romance of a bygone age.

Did once drive part of the Le Mans circuit. It must have been in the 1990's when on holiday here. Not by intention - it happened to be the way we were being guided by the map and was public road when not in race use.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Susan - hope the owner of the chateau finds someone to run his Auberge soon - by rights it should be a flourishing venue.

Perpetua said...

Oh, fantastic! Such super old cars. :-) They certainly know how to build for longevity back then. And when I think we had to retire our old Escort at the age of 16. Sigh....

Tim said...

That Bentley is:
1925 3-Litre Bentley Le Mans Team Car ‘Number 10’ Registration No. MH 7580....
Bootiful vehicle...

And the residents of Ballater were bound to be upset by a blown exhaust... they are all deer.... probably thought they were being hunted by Ghillies with Gatling guns

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Perpetua - they certainly don't make them like they used to do they?

Mind you I do appreciate the creature comforts that come with modern cars. :-)