Marcel Léyat’s’ Hélica’ aerocar of 1921 in full glory – what an object! There’s another example in the excellent Musée des Arts et Metiers in central Paris.


1921 Hélica, 1925 Excelsior Super X racer, and 1926 Motosacoche 804 Sport, amazingly sharing a single track, but there’s plenty of room…
Cars as full of character as an antique bike, and surely as much trouble to keep in good running order!
A bored ambulance crew is an excellent sign that riders kept matters under control…
The Amilcar/Hispano-Suiza aero-engine mashup…
…and the pilot’s view of the beast.
A Dixieland jazz band kept things light
A series of tented workshops from Yesterday’s, the Hockenheim Museum, the Brooklands Museum, and several private owners corralled a wide variety of machines in a small space; visible here are Indian, Douglas, Peugeot, and Werner – the products of four countries, all pre-WW1.
No, not a racer, but a rare and wonderful beast, the 1924 BSA 770cc v-twin
Red, white, and blue…the French flag represented in the engine bay of a Bugatti type 35 straight-8 racer
One could get lost in the sensuous landscape of a Bugatti Type 59’s front suspension – leaf springs, dampers, and axle…
…with cable-operated brakes of enormous size.
The 1902 Clément-Gladiator, which was also produced under license in the USA
No excuses here: I have one too, and this example looks great. Compared to a 1902 Indian, it’s a moped, but this is what motorcycling looked like at the turn of the Century. And the Indian would have set me back several zeros more than a Clément!
A 1928 Norton CS1 racer, with Walter Moore-designed ‘cricket bat’ engine.
Cyclecars! A 1921 Tamplin Cyclecar to be exact – with seating a cozy one-two inline, and the body made from plywood soaked in resin to make it waterproof. It’s a unibody, with direct chain drive to the left rear wheel only (no need for a differential!). Over a thousand Tamplins were produced.
Lots of vintage bicycles in use, which expedited transversing the grounds. Especially nice in period dress
The hot rods confer – Dimitri Coste and Frank Chatokhine
The Hockenheim Museum’s immaculate 1928 Douglas SW5 road racer
This early Bugatti bears the maker’s signature on the cambox! A nice touch; as Ettore was raised in a family of artists, it’s understandable he’d sign his creations
The smoky end of Frank Chatokhine’s ’38 Triumph Speed Twin
The VRM staff, always helpful, generally smiling. Lots of work to do, but what an office!
The owner reckoned this might be the first Peugeot v-twin ever sold, the ex-Paris Show 1905 machine
Frank Chatokine, Ruby leather, Montlhery
Well bashed aluminum bodywork on this GN, the twin-carb ‘Piglet Special’, with plenty of louvres to keep the air-cooled engine cool. A fantastic sight to watch sliding around the corners
Jean-Luc Gaignard in his 1920 Silver Hawk 1480cc OHC racer; he brought motorcycles too!
Period correct gents…
…and ladies!
A rare Gnome-Rhone with pressed-steel frame and forks.
I captured this gent in 2013; the car has been in one family since new, and no doubt these youngsters will inherit it
Big smiles in a big ‘teens Mercedes GP racer
1913 Henderson on the track – the magnificent American 4-cylinder, this is the short-chassis second version.
Jonathan Rishton, editor of The Automobile (to which I occasionally contribute), peers out the back of the ‘works’ Ford Vedette van
‘Cally’ Callamon looking distinguished in his everyday attire. A well-known exponent of high-wheeler bicycles, who’s done the full length of Britain on one
Even the kids get a race course – with vintage pedal-cars.
Ultra-rare beast; the OHC Koehler-Escoffier GP 350cc of 1934, a big improvement over their late ’20s OHC racers, as it has a proper oil pump and positive oiling for the camshaft, rather than the total-loss feed prior. Cams need lots of oil!
Laurence Chatokhine with a lovely vintage Peugeot in full Deco decor
Rackety old open-wheelers crowding the grid. Just fabulous.
The technically advanced work of Nougier, here with a gear-driven DOHC head added to a Magnat-Debon
The 1928 La Mondial with full pressed-steel chassis and JAP engine. A very rare machine, with a cool half-round gas tank – very Deco indeed. Note the doubled-up front brakes.
Lining up for the Morgan/Salmson 3-wheel races
Nice ad placement! The command center of the track
A shot of the 500cc DOHC Magnat-Debon with the full Nougier treatment, originally modified in 1936. Francois-Marie Dumas has recently written a full account of the Nougier enterprise from 1932-72; worth investigating, as their DOHC 4-cylinder racer of the 1950s is serious stuff.
Oliver Way and his Austin aero-engine racer
Paterfamilias of the Coste clan
Sebastien Chirpaz, proprietor of A Piece of Chic silk scarves, some of which adorn my neck!
I love two wheels, but four wheels like this look like fun too
A very early Rochet motorcycle, looking very original

A better view of Jean-Luc Gaignard’s Silver Hawk racer, with the banking behind, looking like a wall
A rare 1932 Styl’son R12 250cc with Blackburne engine
How the racing across his back must haunt his dreams…
A gorgeous seafoam green Terrot
And another Terrot, with an engine of their own make
Pavel Malanik’s 1909 Torpedo recreation, with 1640cc fan-4, which sounded amazing on the track
Ready for the staging area before a race
DOHC Amilcar with supercharger replaced by a pair of carbs! Less trouble in actual use?
Gillian Carr, Velocette, Montlhery
Vincent Chamon, Vintage Revival Montlhery