Simanaitis Says

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RV’ING IN STYLE—1914

BONHAMS’ BEAULIEU SALE of Collectors’ Motor Cars & Automobilia, held at the museum September 9-10, 2022, was a glorious opportunity for online day-dreaming, especially for U.S. viewers what with the Pound Sterling pegged around $1.16 (the latter, just about par with the euro these days). Indeed, for those who registered to bid online, it was more than day-dreaming. 

British Airways Concorde. For instance, on Friday, September 9, a scale model of British Airways Concorde G-BOAF went for £573.75 including premium (about $666 U.S.). It was described as “approximately 1:72 scale, believed by Bravo Delta, carved mahogany with hand-painted finish.” Not just a little book shelf model, this one was listed at 91 cm (35.8 in.) long.

This and other images from Bonhams.

Been There, Done That. This recalled my own brief time at the controls of Concorde G-BOAA, part of our April 1988 comparison test of the Concorde versus Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2. (By the way, rest her regal soul. What an impressive reign.) 

Image from R&T, April 1988. That’s the sainted R&T Tapley Meter in my right hand, amid all those gauges and stuff.

Morgan Plus 4 Roadster. On Saturday, September 10, Bonhams Lot No. 505 was a 1967 Morgan Plus 4 Roadster, Chassis No. 6463. It brought back memories of our custodianship of 1965 Plus 4 Four-Passenger Family Tourer, Chassis No. 6053; this, for more reason than Brunswick Green livery. 

The Bonhams car was listed at “Imported from the USA… Desirable left-hand drive.” It looked particularly spiffy, though I prefer my car’s wire wheels. 

My Four-Seater on the 1997 Copperstate’s Yarnell Grade, with Ali Sirotta, daughter of fellow Copperstaters.

Listed at £20,000–£30,000, Bonhams’ Roadster found a new home for £23,000 inc. premium ($26,680 U.S.).

My Fav. Lot No. 559 resonated with me as well, but for quite different reasons. This 1914 Ford Model T Motor Caravan reminded me of two aeroplanes from the same era, each of which I’ve rendered in GMax for Microsoft Flight Simulator. 

Lot No. 559. 1914 Ford Model T Motor Caravan, Coachwork by Dunton.

Bonhams noted that this car was “the oldest known motor caravan in the world.… built in 1914 for a member of the Bentall family, founders of the eponymous British department store chain. It is based on a Ford Model T chassis, extended and strengthened by Baico, while the caravan body was built by Dunton of Reading, a company famous for their high quality traditional travellers’ caravans.”

Discovered derelict in the 1970s, amazingly more than 95  percent of its original body timbers were found to be reusable. Bonhams describes, “Its all-timber body means that the caravan is very well insulated, while the floor is polished pine…. The driver/passenger seat is a deep-buttoned leather bench with integral storage box, which can be turned around to serve as two additional seats in the living quarters.”

“There are four berths in the living area,” Bonhams continues, “while behind the cab on the offside is a wood-burning stove that provides all heating and cooking facilities. A Welsh dresser-style piece of furniture provides ample additional interior storage space.”

Busy RV’ing. Bonhams reports, “After some four years work, the restoration was finished and the vehicle was entered in the 1976 HCVC London-Brighton Run, winning seven awards including the Concours. Since then, ‘CR 4314’ has taken part in many more London-Brighton Runs and in 1986 was displayed at the Camping, Caravan and Holiday Show at Earls Court. It has participated in various other rallies and historic vehicle shows, and been featured on television with Royal visitors in attendance.”

In my second online stint, I watched live on Saturday, September 10, at 8:25 a.m. Pacific, just as the 1914 Ford Caravan sold for £63,250 inc. premium ($73,370 U.S.).  

Above, Blériot’s 1911 Type XXIV; below, Sikorsky’s 1913 Bolshoi Baltsky; both GMax projects of mine. 

Consider my 1911 Blériot Type XXIV, a flying limousine built for Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe, and 1913 Sikorsky Bolshoi Baltisky, Grand Baltic, an aeroplane featuring large windows, wicker chairs, a folding table, electric lighting, a cloak room, perhaps a loo, and, I like to think, a samovar. Wouldn’t the 1914 Ford RV make a perfect GMax accompaniment? ds

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2022 

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