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Leno's latest - 1921 aero engine Brooklands racer Rabbit 1 - must see


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Posted (edited)

Here is Jay Leno's latest finished project, putting this car back in commission took 10 years. A Brooklands racer made from a 1908 Benz chassis with WW1 Mercedes 270HP six cylinder airplane engine.

 

 

The big job was replacing the rusted out tin water jackets with hand made brass replacements. He said each cylinder took a month. If you figure Jimmy  costs $50 an hour in wages, workmen's comp etc. then ONE water jacket cost $50X40 hours a week X4 = $8000 plus materials. Times 6 cylinders = $48,000 just to get an engine that does not leak. Then there was a new clutch, front axle, brakes, cooling fan, and no doubt a lot of other cleaning and repairing. So figure $100,000 just to put it back in commission. And the car probably cost at least that much to buy.

 

I don't see how it would take a month to do each water jacket but that is his claim. Would be interested in comments from Edinmass or anyone with experience in a restoration shop that works on such cars.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Another great car that was at the Ridgefield Meet back in  1965, it couldn't have a better caretaker today. I've seen photos of it in Gus Reuters shop in the Bronx getting that paint job. Unforgettable sound when Peter Helck arrived at Ridgefield. Bob 

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If I'm not mistaken Jimmy was once one of Boyd Coddington's fabricators. I can't imagine what they spent on silver solder at about $75 an ounce.

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Posted (edited)

Bob, I recall the Benz-Mercedes arriving at the Ridgefield car meet also, you could hear it when it was a half mile away before it arrived.

When I visited Peter Helck at his house one evening with Austin Clark, Old 16 was in one corner and the Benz - Mercedes was in another corner. A t- head Mercer raceabout in between.

Peter and his wife were very cordial hosts when we visited. I recall high up on a shelf he had a huge Buddy L rail road train set made in the mid to late 1920s , it was a very very accurate replica of the Baldwin locomotive and Peter used it for a model when he had trains in the background of his art work . I remarked to Peter what it was and who made it and he looked at me and I said " well I bought three of the train cars and Austin gave me several cars that were his when he was a kid and got them new because I like old toys" Peter smiled and shook my hand and told me " another thing we have in common besides old cars and both of us being artists". I thought I was going to pass out!  What a compliment. Austin mentioned to me as we drove back to long island " Glad you didn't pass out you looked like you would !" He chuckled and even he said "that was quite a compliment". I will never forget that moment.

Edited by Walt G
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