Finishing Touches on the GM Le Sabre Show Car and a Harley Earl Demonstration

Today we have a pair of short news film clips showing the 1951 Le Sabre show car. It was perhaps the most visionary post-war creation from the GM Art and Colour group guided by Harley Earl, who was assisted by a very talented group of designers. A clay version of the Le Sabre first appeared in the fall of 1950 and the actual car was constructed, finished and shown to the public by July of 1951. The video above showing the finishing touches being applied to the car is courtesy of GM Heritage. 

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  • Le Sabre promotional photo courtesy of GM Heritage 

This concept car was one of the first post-war automobiles to introduce aircraft design elements such as the wrap-around windshield and the taller and more pronounced tail fins that were incorporated into the car. The Le Sabre pioneered new features such as a dual gasoline and alcohol fuel system, and the use of lightweight materials. In the short film clip below courtesy of British Pathe, you can see Earl activating the moisture sensor which would raise the convertible top if it began raining when the car was unattended.

Posted in Auto photos 1946 - 1965, video | Tagged , , , |

1905 Reo Mountaineer Completes a Coast-to-Coast Trip and Return

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  • The Reo Mountaineer arriving back in New York City after 12,000 miles 

Percy F. Megargel and David F. Fassett, a skilled mechanic from the Reo Factory, can be seen above right in the Reo Mountaineer, after driving from New York City to Portland, Oregon and return. The trip started in the summer of 1905, and the pair arrived back in New York on June 9, 1906, after having traveled close to 12,000 miles.

Two years earlier, there had been three notable transcons: Jackson and Crocker in the Winton, Whitman and Hammond in the Oldsmobile, and Fetch and Krarup in the Packard, all going from west to east.

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  •       Full details of the trip in “The Automobile” June 14, 1906 issue

The Automobile, August 17, 1905, issue tells us the reason for the journey: “Mr. Megargel will make the trip in the interest of the American Motor League, of which association he is a member, the main purpose being to gather reliable data with regard to the condition of the roads, the grades to be encountered, streams to be forded, distances from place to place, available stopping places and gasoline supply houses.” 

The top photo is from the Detroit Publishing Company, courtesy of Shorpy. The photo below, from The Horseless Age August 8, 1905 issue, shows Megargel, the Mountaineer and Fassett before leaving New York City in 1905. Full details of the trip can be found in The Automobile June 14, 1906 issue in the center above.


Posted in Auto photos 1885 - 1920 | Tagged , , , , , |

Fine Classic Cars at the Louwman Museum in The Netherlands

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  • A 1932 Bugatti Type 50T Coach Profilee

Should you have plans to travel to Europe in the future, one destination to add to your itinerary is a visit to one of the most important automobile collections in the world – the Louwman Museum. The collection was started in 1934 by P.V. Louwman, who imported the Dodge and Toyota into Holland with a 1914 Dodge. His son Evert Louwman has added to the group and recently installed it in a new purpose-built building designed by American architect Michael Graves.

This post is the first of two covering only a very small portion of the exceptional classic cars in the museum with images by Pavel Novitski. The photo at the top of the post shows a 1932 Bugatti Type 50T Coach Profilee. The Type 50 was an updated version of the Type 46 with a supercharged 8-cylinder in-line – 2-valve d.o.h.c. engine that produced 225 h.p. at 4000 r.p.m. The coachwork design was executed by Ettore Bugatti’s talented son Jean when he was only 23 years old.

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  • 1934 Bugatti Type 57 - 1937 Talbot Lago T150 SS - Talbot-Lago T26 GS

On the left above is a 1934 Bugatti Type 57 Grand Raid Roadster with spectacular coachwork by Gangloff. This car was exibited at the 1934 Auto Salon in Paris and subsequently it was driven by Veyron and Wurmser in the Paris-Nice-Paris rally. Robert Benoist then went on to a win in the 1935 Chavigny Hill Climb with the car.

A 1937 Talbot Lago – T150 SS  Teardrop Coupe with coachwork by Figoni & Falaschi is shown above in the center. It is powered by a 160 hp 4.0-litre in-line aluminum six-cylinder engine with a rocker-arm actuated, two-valve hemi-head. One of the Teardrop Coupe’s finished third in the 1938 Le Mans race and this example was used by Rob Walker while practicing for the 1949 version of that event.

The Talbot-Lago T26-Grand Sport on the right above features exceptional coachwork by Saoutchik. It is one of only 36 that were produced and features a d.o.h.c. 4.5-liter engine that produces 190-h.p. and was capable of a 125 m.p.h. top speed. It is a touring version of the Grand Prix racing car, and it was first introduced in 1947 at the Paris Auto Salon.

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  • 1926 Mercedes-Benz K - 1935 Duesenberg SJ - 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K 

On the left above is yet another car in the collection wearing coachwork by Saoutchik, this time on a 1926 Mercedes-Benz Type K chassis. It is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter, 110 h.p. six-cylinder engine that produces 160 h.p. This exclusive creation has a cockpit trimmed with fine wooden moldings and features the use of silver for the window framework, the door handles and the inlay on the carved wood interior fittings.

One of the most attractive Duesenberg’s ever built, a 1935 Model SJ Phaeton with sweep-panel coachwork by Walker-LaGrande is shown above in the center. This car was purchased new by World War I flying ace Reginald Sinclair and features the renown 420 c.i. d.o.h.c. straight-8, equipped with a centrifugal supercharger that reportedly produced 320 h.p.

And finally in the right hand photo above is a 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K Special Roadster. Twenty-five of  these lavish Special Roadsters with coachwork by Sindelfingen were produced. This model restablished the kompressor (supercharger) made famous by earlier models, on a five-liter rocker-arm actuated o.h.v. straight-eight that produces 160 h.p.

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  • A Frederick Gordon-Crosby painting from the automotive art collection

You can learn more about the museum that is pictured below, and the extensive collection of over two-hundred and fifty cars at the Louwman Museum. The automobles photos above are courtesy of Pavel Novitsky.


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Posted in Auto photos 1921 - 1942, Pre-War Contemporary Photos | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |