Thursday, April 29, 2010

Squire 1500 SC Roadster


Shown at the Villa d'Este Concorso d'Eleganza
Photo: Dirk de Jager @ Supercars

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wheeled Airship

Streamline Cars Ltd was the company responsible for making the Burney car designed by Dennis Burney.
Sir Charles Dennistoun Burney rose to fame as an airship designer, best known for his work at Howden on the R100 for Vickers. With the ending of the airship programme he used some of his ideas to create a revolutionary car.
Starting in 1927, thirteen rear-engine cars were made at Maidenhead. Each was different, as they were intended as showcases for his patents rather than for serious production.
The cars incorporated such features as independent suspension, hydraulic brakes, a heater and all seating within the wheelbase. Ignition and other controls operated though flexible cables encased in copper tubing, which followed contemporary aircraft industry practice. The cars were rear engined with twin radiators. The first car used an Alvis front wheel drive chassis effectively turned back to front but adapted so the new front wheels steered. Later cars used Beverley straight 8, Lycoming and Armstrong Siddeley engines.
The streamlined bodywork is very long at just under 20 feet (6.1 m). The spare wheel was carried inside one of the rear doors which must have put an enormous strain on the hinges and door pillar. The equivalent space in the opposite door was occupied either by a second spare wheel or by a cocktail cabinet.
Source: Wiki (EN)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Deco Camera

NiketteWorld's first bakelite rollfilm folding camera
With pop-out strut-supported front,
for 16 pictures 3 x 4 cm on 127 film,
3-element Luxar 3,5/50 lens by F.L. Lucht, Berlin.
Lens shutter 1/25 to 1/100, B, T. With original leather bag.
By C.F.G. Fischer, Berlin

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chemical Warfare for Kids

Cover of the Chemical Warfare board game
Artist: AV Kuklin

via babs71 @ LJ

Monday, April 12, 2010


Rome's only truly modern obelisk was erected by Mussolini, and it bears the words, "Mussolini Dux." At the end of the Fascist regime, all public references to the Duce were outlawed and removed, but the letters on this 55-foot column were too large to be effaced, so they remain as a bizarre testament to the dictator's oh-so-Roman megalomania.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Following WW1 and a side trip to deliver the "M-21" to Sweden, Josef Vollmer, the former chief designer for the German War Department's motor vehicle section, came to reside in Czechoslovakia. Joining Skoda, he set to work on a wheel/track light tank. His KH-50 design had roadwheels mounted on the drive sprockets and a jockey wheel behind to keep the tracks up off the ground.
Despite impressive specifications - 13mm armor, a 37mm turret mounted gun, and a 50hp engine capable of pushing the tank up to 8mph (tracks) and 22mph (wheels), it was rejected by the Czechoslovak army. However, the army was impressed. The military liked the hybrid Kolohousenka wheel/track arrangement and commissioned further studies. Further designs would be the KH-60 and 70.
Notable differences would be the engine power increased to 60-70hp and a better system of switching between track and wheel. A simple ramp device allowed the track-to-wheel change in less than 10 minutes.
The actual years of production and testing were 1925 - 30, during which time, two KH-50 prototypes were built. One was rebuilt into a KH-60 and the other scrapped. Actual production included two KH-60 for the USSR and one KH-70 for Italy.
As time passed, this vehicle came to be regarded as more of an experiment rather than a combat vehicle.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Blue Bird

The Campbell-Railton Blue Bird was Sir Malcolm Campbell's final land speed record car. His previous Campbell-Napier-Railton Blue Bird of 1931 was rebuilt significantly. The overall layout and the simple twin deep chassis rails remained, but little else. The bodywork remained similar, with the narrow body, the tombstone radiator grille and the semi-spatted wheels, but the mechanics were new. Most significantly, a larger, heavier and considerably more powerful Rolls-Royce R V12 engine replaced the old Napier Lion, again with supercharger. This required two prominent "knuckles" atop the bodywork, to cover the V-12 engine's camboxes.
Blue Bird's first run was back at Daytona, setting a record of 272mph on 22 February 1933. Campbell now had a car with all the power that he could want, but no way to use all of it. Wheelspin was a problem, losing perhaps 50mph from the top speed.
In 1935, visually the car was quite different. The bodywork was now rectangular in cross section and spanned the full width over the wheels. Although actually higher, this increased width gave the impression of a much lower and sleeker car, accentuated by the long stabilising tailfin and the purposeful raised ridges over the engine camboxes. This Blue Bird was clearly a design of the Modernist '30s, not the brute heroism of the '20s.
Mechanically the changes to the car had focussed on improving the traction, rather than increasing the already generous power. Double wheels and tyres were fitted to the rear axle, to improve grip. The final drive was also split into separate drives to each side. This reduced the load on each drive, allowed the driver position to be lowered, but required the wheelbase to be shortened asymmetrically on one side by 1½". Airbrakes were fitted, actuated by a large air cylinder. For extra streamlining the radiator air intake could be closed by a movable flap, for a brief period during the record itself.
Blue Bird made its first record runs back on Daytona Beach in early 1935. On 7 March 1935 Campbell improved his record to 276.82 mph, but the unevenness of the sand caused a loss of grip and he knew the car was capable of more.
The faster car needed a bigger and smoother arena, and this led to the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah. This time the young Donald Campbell accompanied his father. On 3 September 1935, the 300mph barrier fell by a bare mile-per-hour, crowning Sir Malcolm Campbell's record-breaking career.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Gen. Italo Balbo (from September 1929 - Italian Minister of the Air Force) led two transatlantic flights. The first was of twelve Savoia-Marchetti (SIAI) S.55 flying boats from Orbetello, Italy to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil between 17 December 1930 and 15 January 1931. For about a decade large aircraft formations were dubbed 'balbo'. In Italy a special term, transmigratori, was invented to honor aviators who took part in the long-distance flights.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Ship of Peace

The Nieuw Amsterdam was a Dutch ocean liner built in Rotterdam for the Holland America Line. This Nieuw Amsterdam, the second of three Holland America ships with that name, is considered by many to have been Holland America's finest ship.
Construction on the new liner was carried out at the Rotterdam Drydock Company. Christened by Queen Wilhelmina in April 1937, Nieuw Amsterdam was, at 36,000 tonnes, the largest liner ever constructed in the Netherlands up to that time. Proudly she was dubbed the Dutch "Ship of peace" since there were no provisions for possible war use incorporated in her design. The Nieuw Amsterdam was the Netherlands' "ship of state", just as the Normandie was France's, the Queen Mary was Britain's and United States was the United States' Numerous Dutch artists vied for the honor of creating some part of the ship.
Their creation emerged in the spring of 1938, a light-colored and very spacious ship throughout, and although she had spacious public rooms, the colour scheme used gave her an even larger feel. Modern in every way, her owners proclaimed her "the ship of tomorrow". She followed the Art Deco trend of the day in both interior decorations and exterior design. The interiors were distinguished by fluorescent lighting, aluminum motifs, and gentle pastels throughout the ship that created an understated elegance that would make the liner a favorite among seasoned transatlantic passengers.
On April 23, 1938 the Nieuw Amsterdam set out on her sea trials, which were to take place on the North Sea. Testing her speed and maneuvering capability, the new vessel turned out to be all that she was supposed to be. Upon her return from the sea trials, the Nieuw Amsterdam was transferred to Holland America ownership and officially registered in the Dutch merchant fleet.
The sleek new liner’s maiden voyage was set for 10 May 1938 and upon her arrival in New York she immediately won adulation and acclaim.

Source: Wiki