Author Archives: Tim Martin
By Tim Martin:
One might say this Bugatti T43, chassis 43264, has led a busy life. It is one of the three T43′s Leon Duray received in exchange for the Packard Cable Specials (the two front-wheel drive Millers which were rescued by Griff Borgeson in the late 1950′s). 43264 was originally bodied as a Weymann cabriolet and received this one-off two seat aluminum coupe designed and built by the Derham Body Company of Rosemont, PA, reputedly for owner, John Fritsche, Jr.
The T43 engine and running gear were removed by the next owner, a Los Angeles high school teacher named George Banquet. This was probably shortly after WW2. The singer and dancer, Donald O’Connor was a subsequent owner and he competed in local hill climbs with the car in the early 1950′s.
It disappeared for several decades until the late Bill O’Brien found it in 1982, chained to a tree after looking for the car for years. He bought it and it remained with his collection until after his death, a few years ago. His son, Gordon, sold the car to a British restorer, who in turn sold it to Swiss collector Guy Huet who it is believed will rebody the chassis with a Neuss-designed open tourer. The Derham body reportedly remains in California. For nearly 60 years, the car had a six cylinder Ford engine, but it now has a Bugatti engine once again, and is undergoing restoration.
Many thanks to PreWarWalt for the photograph, and Sandy Leith for the history of this interesting car.
By Tim Martin:
The Phianna was a short lived quality car built between 1916 and 1922, and was successor to the S.G.V. which we have looked at before. Production was limited, and by 1919 the car’s look had changed to eliminate hood louvers and employ a radiator with an angular look as seen with this particular Phianna. By then, production had moved from Newark, NJ, to Long Island City, NY. The 60″ cantilever rear springs must surely have contributed to a comfortable ride, and the look of the car’s front end, especially with the hexagonal head-lights, gave this rare vehicle a unique overall appearance. Photo courtesy of Prewar Walt.
The first two articles (above) from The Automobile Magazine, dated Jan. 4, 1917, tell about the Phianna at its introduction at the New York Salon. The last article on the right , from Automobile Topics on Jan. 7, 1917, also describes the Phianna at the same show. (Below) is a period illustration showing the very unusual transmission, rear spring and torque arm details on the Phianna.
1912 was the first production year for the Henderson motorcycle, produced in Detroit, Michigan, and this is a nice example from that year, with a four cylinder inline “inlet over exhaust” engine rated at 7hp (57 ci). This model, with the distinctive cylindrical gas tank, was built just one year, after which the tank was changed to the flat sided type found in all later models. Above the gas tank is a small acetylene tank, for the headlamp. Photo courtesy of prewar Walt.