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Dave Fields

Over the Top Classics

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This thread is for the unusual, spectacular bodied / finished Classics that were that way new. The ugly Classics thread is for the ugly, unsimpathetic restoration, the gypsy wagons, and the circus wagons that are all too frequently being displayed at shows.

Edited by Dave Fields (see edit history)

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Unable to fully appreciate the proportions of this car when I first saw it in the museum's

overflow building, it was a thrill to see this Nethercutt favorite at Amelia Island in 2009.

30_cord_1xa.jpg

Larger, the '30 Cord L-29 Murphy Town Car, formerly owned by Dolores del Rio.

One of the sexiest cars I've ever encountered, there are a few more pics here.

TG

Edited by TG57Roadmaster (see edit history)

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TG the car you posted is certainly over the top, yet nicely restored. I saw a simular L 29 in the General Lyons' collection a few years ago when on a Packards Internatinal tour.

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If memory serves, there were 3 L-29 town cars by Murphy built, and only 1 with sidemounts. I also believe the ex-Del Rio car was owned for many years by George Jepson of NJ, an early President of the CCCA. I had occasion to drive it once, just lovely to look, exquisite actually, but a bit of beast on the road, especially on highy-crowned roads.

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A friend of mine bought this a few years ago in Europe. Probably just as snazzy as a 540k Special Roadster but with not quite the engine. This is a later car with the 2 speed behind the transmission. In general I think there are more "over the top" bodies on European chassis. I'll have to think of some American ones.

1218_1938_horch_roadster.jpg

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Is there anything more over the top then the round door rolls? My dad sadly passed on this for 8500 back in the 50s when it was in NY and painted gold.

Rolls%2BRoyce%2BPII%2BJonckheere%2BAerodynamic%2BCoupe.jpg

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I remember seeing the round door Rolls-Royce in NY in the 60's when it was gold. It travelled around in a truck and a small admission was charged.

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The most Over-The-Top Classic I ever saw a photo of was the infamous Indian "Swan Car" Rolls~Royce Silver Ghost !

The front, and entire body of the car was actually shaped like a swan !

It still exists in a museum !

(Google it for photos !)

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)

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1910 | Brooke

25/30-HP SWAN CAR

Perhaps the most extraordinary car ever to take to the road, the 1910 Brooke Swan Car was the brainchild of Robert Nicholl “Scotty” Matthewson, a wealthy and eccentric resident of Calcutta, then the capital of British India. Determined to eclipse the extravagant automobiles of the local potentates, Matthewson - “a millionaire many times over” - travelled to England in 1909 to commission J.W. Brooke & Company of Lowestoft, Suffolk to build him a car in the shape of a swan. The car reputedly cost the fantastic sum of £10-15,000 - as much as six new Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts! Its body was hand-carved from wood and patched with plaster by a master craftsman to create the effect of feathers. Electric bulbs made the swan’s amber eyes glow eerily in the dark. The rear part of Scotty’s car was decorated with a carved pattern of lotus plants and fishes picked out in gold and silver leaf. It incorporated many curious gadgets calculated to annoy and exasperate other road users, like a multi-note Gabriel Horn - a sort of pipe organ driven from the exhaust - with a keyboard in the rear of the car to enable Scotty to play chords and bugle calls. An outlet in the swan’s beak sprayed scalding water in a wide arc to clear a passage through the City’s crowded streets. A dump valve inside the car dropped splats of whitewash onto the road from the Swan’s rear end “just to make it more lifelike”. Rediscovered many years later in its poor but original condition and its cloth-of-gold upholstery eaten by rats, the Swan Car has undergone a complete rebuild since it came into the ownership of the Louwman Collection in 1991. Once again, all of Scotty Matthewson’s practical jokes - the multi-note Gabriel Horn, the hot-water squirt, the whitewash dropper - are in working order! Following its restoration, in 1993 the Swan Car was awarded the Montagu Prize at Pebble Beach, America’s top Concours d’Elegance.

post-48053-143138404238_thumb.jpg

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"Scotty" shoulda bought a Rolls...or slapped some wheels on Cleopatra's Barge. (All that's

missing is a team of Brahmins-in-harness pulling the Swan by the neck when it ran out of petrol).

12_rolls_1x_755971.jpg

Larger, 1912 R-R Barker Double Pullman Limousine at Meadow Brook, 2009. More pics here.

Back to the subject, the cars of the Classic Era, here's a most-interesting read on the

Bucciali Brothers and their cars from Road & Track in 1964. It's informative for those

(like me) who don't have Christian Huet's limited-edition book on the subject.

TG

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I finially got my AACA magazine on Friday, January 21, 2011. Love the Willy's centerspread. However there is a strange sentence about Willys discontinuing production in 1933. Discontinued production of what?

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OK, West. A neat CCCA article might be cars makers you don't think of as making Classics, Nash, Willys, and Hudson, yet how wonderful the CCCA Classics these three makes produced. I know there is talk of the North and South poles reversing themselves, the end of the world in 2012, etc, but who would have thunk a Ford pictured in the CCCA and Packards International magazines recently? No doubt a cause of global warming....

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Regarding the recent picture of the round door Rolls-Royce in black (post #7). It is nice to see it posed with an attractive young woman in appropriate attire which gives scale to the car.

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Dave,

There was an old boy from my hometown named Emerson Carey who ordered a 1920 Pierce-Arrow with, I believe, a gold-plated body. It still exists and went to auction recently. It was a bit over-the-top, but not garish. Sorry, don't have a picture of it.

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The Bucciali for sure is right smack dab in the "over the top" division. Incredible automobile.

Somewhere I read that the fenders are "double skinned." That is, there's a top surface, and a bottom surface, and space between. Can anyone verify this?

L-29's were great bases for styling exercises, with no driveshaft and resultant low, long profile. Mechanically, unfortunately, they suffered....the front brakes were inboard, thus all braking forces were transferred through the universal joints....and remember this was not a time that a constant velocity universal joint was well thought out....at least they had a mechanical linkage to the transmission (unlike later Cords), although placement and operation were somewhat awkward...

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L-29's were great bases for styling exercises, with no driveshaft and resultant low, long profile. Mechanically, unfortunately, they suffered....the front brakes were inboard, thus all braking forces were transferred through the universal joints....and remember this was not a time that a constant velocity universal joint was well thought out....at least they had a mechanical linkage to the transmission (unlike later Cords), although placement and operation were somewhat awkward...

They all look great. I always wanted an L29 but my dad (who's advice I still never go against) was much the 810/812 guy because of the superior drivability. He drove is 812 from Massachusetts to Auburn 3 years in a row in the late 60s. Since I drive my cars about 10% as much as my dad it would have worked out well - but it seems prices have gone up quite a bit...

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