A Side Order Of Lingotto To Go – Hyde Park Part Three

I thought I knew all the different types of pasta – spaghetti, linguini, tagiatelli, etc. Today I discovered a new variety – this sort is shaped like a Fiat racing car.

Given the recent record of FIAT cars here in Australia – the FIAT 500 and some of the other cooking-quality sedans that have been briefly seen on the streets of Perth before retiring and expiring – you might be given to thinking that this Italian car maker is not one of the icons. Not a Ferrari or Lamborghini. But remember that long before F. or L. were feuding, FIAT was racing all over the world. They were also making fighter planes and giant locomotives.

This FIAT 502 may yet be on the ground for a closer inspection at future car shows – I am going to go to them to see if more can be seen inside it. The outside details scream of the period and promise a great deal of interesting design inside.

Oh, to see it in operation on a track…

I must look out the next Italian Car Show day here in Perth and hope. Wheel ’em Danno…

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Small, Blue, And Triangular…

And French, to boot. How much more mysterious could you get?

The Amilcar seen here at Hyde Park this year is the closest thing I could find on the day to my all-time favourite motor car – the Samson of M. Hulot. It has a little more style that the Samson, and this could be a problem for me as I have no style whatsoever, but for a car as lovely as this I would be prepared to wash, shave, and dress.

It is hard for a person with a limited grasp of the French language to read literature of the period – the 1920’s – and understand all the nuances of the country. I depend upon English translations and these can sometimes be a view filtered through glass coloured by any number of biases. But one does not need to be a master of literature to appreciate an object of the period – whether it be art, furniture, architecture, or mechanics. Thus the Amilcar acts simultaneously as a vigorous stimulant and delightful object of art.

And it is an adventure. Who could set out for any destination in this little roadster without experiencing a thrill of discovery – of danger, of wind, and dust, and velocity. Rain, too, though there is some provision for protection on the port quarter of the boat tail. Neither the driver nor the passenger will be in comfort, but neither will they care – they are racing against the clock to Monte Carlo, or Rheims, or the local IGA. And the Polly Farmer Tunnel at 80 Kph must be as good as a ride at Disneyland!

I’m rarely jealous of others’ motor cars. The troubles and expenses that they are faced with are a barrier to me – but I would be prepared to face them if there were a little mechanical delight like this as the reward.

But one thing puzzles…the blue triangle. I cannot find any sensible reference to it in a Google search. Perhaps readers can enlighten me.

 

Addendum: The Leatherworking Reverand has supplied an answer – apparently the blue triangle is an indicator panel required under CAMS rules to indicate where the battery of the car is located – for vintage motor racing. Thank you, Reverand.

It’s All True – What They Say About Australia

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Particularly if they are talking about old Australian racing cars.

Once you pass the three-mile limit out of Southhampton, Le Havre, or Los Angeles and head for the Southern Hemisphere you are allowed to take off some of your pre-conceptions and store them in your luggage. You will not need them for the sea voyage and no-one on shore in Australia or New Zealand wants to handle them. Just dress comfortably and be prepared to see it all.

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Thus the car in this post. The obvious clues say it is from Northam in Western Australia and it has been on the old Caversham motor race circuit in the Swan Valley. It was once a Chevrolet, and may still be, for all we can tell. It is blue. There are four wheels contacting the ground and two more available on the sides. Beyond this you must make your own judgements.

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I think it is a special built on the chassis of a 30’s Chevrolet. I can’t guess whether it once had a coupe, sedan, or ute body, but all that has remained of the housings are the radiator shell, cowl and bonnet. Perhaps the builder found it in this bare condition and then let the imagination loose on it.

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The design owes much to imagination – and to the shapes of 1930’s sedans, 1920’s speedsters. and 1910’s aircraft. I should not be surprised to see those two ring-shaped cowling at the rear surmounted by Lewis gun rings. They would make a wonderful accessory for Saturday night in downtown Northam.

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I cannot praise the builder enough for the use of canvas over wood formers to make the boat-tail body. The workmanship is superb and the design is bizarre in the best possible way. The canvas mud-guards held in place by cord and stays add the final touch – nautical I should say. I would not be surprised to see the vehicle fitted with red and green navigation lights and a steam siren.

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Was it an old-time racer? Is it a fantasy of old time racing? Is it a Steampunk family excursion car? Is there too much spare time down on the old farm? I cannot say – but I am glad that I got to see this sort of thing. It is the art of the amateur mechanic at its best. Australia has people like this all over the place – suburbs as well as country – and it is to the credit of the country that they can think outside the box every day.