Category Archives: video
Lost to the passage of time for many, other than to pre-war car enthusiasts, is the fact that up until the early-1930s as much as twenty-five percent of the content of many automobiles was made up of wood. The interesting videos presented here, show three of a series of four films that were produced in 1929. In them, the construction of the wooden-frame Packard-made body was covered from start to finish.
Part I above, covers the harvesting and transport of logs in the woods of Northern Michigan, and includes a 1929 Packard Sedan and a Model AA Ford Truck. You can find Part II here filmed at a sawmill, covering the processing of log-length timber into kiln-dried dimensional lumber. Below in Part III, the entire operation of turning the lumber into a complete wooden-framework can be seen at the Packard factory in Detroit. Part IV covering the forming and installation of the sheet metal appears to have been lost to time.
If you enjoy these videos, be sure to take a look back at; How Packard Proves a Packard, where the manufacturer demonstrates its Proving Grounds, and the testing of the Packard in 1929 and 1930. Videos courtesy of King Rose Archives.
For this Sunday’s entertainment feature we have a video showing the testing of the 1936 Plymouth, along with daredevil driving by both Lucky Teter and Jimmie Lynch. Although they were not engaged in the type of scientific testing that went on at the car company, it dramatically demonstrated the rugged construction of the new Model to potential customers who probably saw this film as a short subject in their neighborhood movie theatre.
Teter and Lynch were popular practitioners of the art of “Hell Driving”. In fact, Teter is widely credited with being the first to use the term. Both were loyal to Chrysler products and used them exclusively throughout their careers. Teter’s luck ran out on July 5, 1942 during a show in Indianapolis while attempting a one hundred-fifty foot jump over a semi-trailer. Lynch’s troupe had the distinction of appearing at both the 1939 and 1964 New York World’s Fairs. You can see more videos covering a wide variety of subjects on The Old Motor.
Today’s post starts out above with an interesting video showing the Opel Rennwagen. It was produced recently by the Opel Klub of Denmark, when the automaker brought the car back to Fano Island, eighty-nine years after its record setting runs there on the hard-packed sand beach. Information on this special is hard to find, but it appears to have been built in 1914 just before the outbreak of World War I. What follows is the story that we were able to piece together about a pair of the company’s early racing cars.
Opel first started out in the metalworking business, with its first product, a sewing machine in 1862. Later in 1886 the German company entered into the production of bicycles. The first automobile followed in 1899 and was named the “Opel Patent Motor Car, System Lutzmann”. During the year of 1901, an Opel won the Konigsstuhl Hill Climb, and the company also signed and agreement with the French car builder Darracq to produce that car under license.
Around the year of 1902, Opel went back to the drawing board and designed another car of their own that finally entered into production in 1906. By 1907, the 60 hp racing car seen above was built, and the company test and racing car driver Carl Jorns finished third in the Kaiser’s Prize Race behind the wheel with it; the car was also selected by the emperor to win the prize for the best German automobile and thereafter became the official car used for his court.
In 1913, the firm designed and built a shaft and bevel gear-driven SOHC engine much like that produced by Mercedes, in both 4-liter and 4.5-liter sizes for its Grand Prix racing car. The photos of this engine below, were found the following year in The Automobile magazine, July 9, 1914 issue, which covered Grand Prix engines and developments for the season.
Also in 1914 or earlier, it appears that the decision was made to build the Opel Rennwagen record car, with a larger four cylinder sixteen-valve engine of 12.3 liters (750 CI) that was quite similar to the Gran Prix version. It appears to have shared the same basic design with the exception of the rocker arms actuating the valves from below the valve springs.
World War I may have intervened with plans to run the car as we were unable to find any mention of it running until the postwar era on Fano Island. There, off of the coast of southwestern Denmark, was the location of the Speed Trials that were held on Fano Beach from 1919 to 1924. The first reference we were able to find of this car running in an event was there in 1922, where Carl Jorns covered the flying kilometer 19.81 secs.
The video above is captioned that he returned to Fano in 1923 after being the Champion of the event in 1922, it also states that he “brought an even bigger car” in 1923. Wolfgang H. Scholz states in the video, that this car was a one-off, which would seem to indicate that the engine size was larger for the second running. That year Jorns ended up finishing second, after having set a time that would have been good for a record in an earlier qualifying run. In 1924, the last year trials were held, he again won the event with the Opel.
Opel Media, who provided the racing car photos in this post reported that Jorns once more ran the 12.3 liter 260 HP record car in the Schauinsland Hill Climb. During the August 1925 competition, running in the over 5000 cubic centimeter class, he and his mechanic again finished in first place. In the photo below, it appears to have lost the aerodynamic tail visible in the image above. If you can add anything about this interesting car or its history, please send us a comment.