Author Archives: geoff

Day 6/7 – Monaco Historics

Day 6/7 – Monaco Historics – Well, this was a show and half. The people, the place, the history, the difficulty in getting around, the cars….


I had reasonably tricky trip getting from Dusseldorf to Monaco. But this was very insignificant compared to the Dutton trip from the UK to Monaco which David Hands (T39), Andrew Cannon (T35/51) and Adam Berryman (T37A), Martin Halusa (T35C) went on. Hot, cold, snowing … (the col was 2500m I believe). 600 miles followed by the historic racing. This was led by Tim Dutton, Mags Diffey and others (including Alex, Maurice), a wonderful trip I understand.

For me without the pit passes it was a little tricky to get around – basically a lot of walking in not so straight lines, up and down the hills driven by the road closures required for the circuit.


I arrived Saturday at midday and watched some of the 1960, 1970 formula 1 and the 1950s sports racing categories. Never seen so many Frazer Nash Le Man replicas. A wander through the pits, followed by a walk through the RM Auction at Il Sporting.

Drinks were hosted by Monaco’s Ambassador for Australia (a resident of Monaco) on the terrace at the Hermitage Hotel where we could see the 1980s formula 1 cars do their ten lap race (if we looked down) and the harbour (if we looked out). A lovely evening for Australians in Monaco. Thank you to Andrew for arranging the invitation. Dinner was the yacht club and a great night.

Sunday started at with the pre war 10 lap race at 930am. Andrew was the first Bugatti to finish behind the winner in a P3 Alfa (Grist), then 4 ERA’s (Dowling ..), another P3 (Smith) and Andrew. The fastest of the pre war cars got around in just under 2 minutes. To give that some perspective, the fastest lap is Felipe Massa in a F1 Ferrari at 1′ 15″, in 1933 Achille Varzi in a T51 did 1′ 59″.

So until the next event.


Day 5 Mulhouse Auto Museum

Day 5 – Mulhouse National Automobile Museum

Adam Berryman and Andrew Cannon left the UK on the Monday the 5th May with the Dutton crew on their way to Monaco. I think they arrive on the 7th or 8th ready for practice.

I arrived in Mulhouse later in the afternoon (using the rental bike at the various locations around town — think of the Melbourne city council blue bikes — the museum was only 2 kms from the hotel) after an easy 3.5 hr TGV run from Lyon.

The museum was in two parts, the “old” Schlumpf part in the woollen mill with all the walls knocked out to create a very open space for the hundreds of cars, and the “new” museum aspect with smart exhibits, lots of modern wood panelling and leather armchairs. The latter was where the Royale train engine, T57S broken down in parts, T74 engine, etc were located.


I met the head of restorations but no tour of the workshop due to meetings.

Favourites, broken down – in exhibit form – T57S, Gordini various, 2.9C Alfa, CO Amil car, T50 Bugatti, various T46, T49 and T74 in their 1930’s bodies.



Day 4 – Rhone and Loire Valleys and Foothills


Cold day (<5C at the off)… it took just a few minutes to get into typical French countryside.

Narrow winding B and C roads, some challenging navigation – particuarly as the helpful words next to the tulips were in French of course.

French Tulips

My lift for the day was Guy Huet’s T44 – lovely Gangloff body, very original car and of course an excellent gearbox. No overdrive, but perfect for the terrain.



We spent the morning travelling through the valleys and foothills, stopped at a Mercedes dealership (a sponsor I presume) but there was no coffee (bit odd really). Away again to a small village and a reception from the town and appertifs for Societie Generale customers only (!!….) Nice to warm up after a cold run, no rain but wind chill over the aero screens would have been below zero.

Home was about 45 minutes and a coffee stop. The normal stopping to offer assistance on the col to a T37 (original, one solex carburettor and nicely worn). The cyclists were also very helpful.


Dinner was Paul Bocous – the abbey restaurant on the Rhone. We got there along the river and then had a great dinner with his collection of fairground / circus organs. Dinner was with the Eckerleys (T13), Goy Fettes (T35) and others.

Just had my first hour or so at the National Car Museum, then the weekend at Monaco. Andrew and Adam leave today with the Dutton crew.

Day 3 Limonest Hill Climb

Day 3 – Limonset Hill Climb – 3.5 kms of hill. Closed road. 1926 c6 Amil car. A light weight type 51? This car won its class at nurburgring and Monza in 1931. This is the public road going up the other side.
The lunch was at the giordino museum. No vino … Not very French very Brussels perhaps. chatted to Fitz. And his driver / ride Nick Harley. Fitz says he is back in town, May some time.
We’ll the c6 seems very Lombard in some ways but very different in others; similar in …. voiterette class, no starter, a heavy push start, some plug challenges, boy it goes. thanks for the run Hubert (spelling) current president of the Swiss Bugatti club and attendee in NZ as well as S2S. Also thanks to Patrick Freidl for organising it.

Back to the hotel for a break and then dinner of course.

Until tomorrow.

Day 2 Driving the old Lyon GP Circuit

Day 2 Run to the original circuit – We ran down to Brenais, some 25 kms from the chateau. the cars all had up to three runs around the semi closed and semi controlled public roads making up the route.

The cars were all marshalled and let loose on the public roads at 10 sec gaps. Hurry up and wait was apt.


The mix of pristine cars and “as is” was a highlight. As was the quest for cool.
This was about 30 kms a lap. I had a very enjoyable run in a 1947 Simca. enjoy the ride with me…..
the crowds were great. you felt like a rider in the Tour de France. dinner at 8 at the chateaux. not even back to the hotel first…… Must be getting old(er).

Met up with George Wingard (1914 GP Mercedes) and his crew James, Goy Feltes (T35 Lyon car), Luc and Thomas Slijpen (T35 T).

Day 1 Arrival at Lacroix Laval Chateau – I had 23 hours of flights and two hours on the TGV to arrive 25 kms outside of Lyon at the “Grand Prix de Lyon Retrospective Historique”. The rally was based here and the cars were returned to the chateaux each night. The hotels were some 12 kms off.

120 cars present. 90 percent French. The event was 100 years of the lyon gp held July 4 1914, three weeks or so before WW1 starred, 90 years of T35 at Lyon and 67 years from the last gp at lyon.

By the numbers… Brescia’s 2, T30 2, T35/T35T/T35A/T35B/T35C 18. More by the numbers tomorrow.

I got a lift up the chateaux with hans smitt (Swiss bugattiste T37A, T51, T35/36, T49, T30, T22). We chatted and looked over cars. Dinner back at the hotel.


GABR Day 1

Day 1 – Canberra Left Melbourne at 730am 26 March after an early morning start with getting the car on the trailer (thanks to Grant Cowie for the lend of the trailer) -a bit hard and dangerous (for the car) in the dark. So everything was got ready and WIll M. assisted with the drive on.
Just turn on the fuel, a bit of choke, just off full retard and on the button. 13 or so litres of oil in the sump – so a few minutes of warming up required…..more like 5-10 to get some heat into the engine. Lovely burble from the straight 8.
Nice DRY road until Albury and then the rain. Anyway – 7.5 hours or so to Canberra to see Emma M. Stayed at University House. Very old Canberra (circa 1935) but with a nice safe car park and only 15 minutes walk from Em.


GABR Day 2

Day 2 Pokolbin – Gosh pretty wet! Left Canberra and it was dry – but it had rained a lot over night – and then from Goulburn to Pokolbin (sounds as it is spelt) it basically did not stop.
Neill M. and I met up north of Sydney and motored on into the Hunter Valley to the Cyprus Lakes Resort. You know a good place when you have lots of car parks and trailer parks. Oh a spa and a golf course as well.
Took the T44 and the Lombard off the trailers and covered them up (still raining). Started the T44 – went first push of the button. We will get them going this afternoon and see where exactly all this water has got to. For example the spark plug cups on the Lombard were full of water.
So a bit wet but all ready for a couple of great days of GABR.
Opening drinks and dinner at the resort to night and then out and back to somewhere for lunch tomorrow.
Dinner was in the main resort looking over the lakes part of “Cyprus Lakes”. Not a lot of golf going on and some wet Bugattistee’s. Luc in the T43 had the fly wheel come away from the crank in some form as the key broke or agitated off. This appears to have made the timing move go as it skewed around from centre. Some repairs by Matt had him going again.



GABR Day 3


Day 3 – Pokolbin to Shoal Bay. 170 kilometres of delightful, but a little pot holey early on, roads through to Shoal Bay. Shoal Bay is at the end of a promatory with access to the sheltered bays of the inlets and the Pacific Ocean. The run took us through farming / grazing country and no rain. The humidity continued but no storm to blow it off like last night. We would have had 2 inches of rain in an hour starting at 6 30pm or so. 
All cars seemed to get to Shoal Bay and the Lombard ran very well. The roads were undulating and we had two give way bridges. This is where they are one way and someone needs to give way. One would have been 200 metres long. These used to be part of the Pacific Highway in Queensland a decade or so ago I think. 
Anyway, off to dinner at Nelson Bay. 3.5 kms. A nice walk back would be good!

GABR Day 4

Day 4 – Shoal Bay to Lemon Tree Passages and return. A 180 km run off the peninsula that Shoal Bay is on and on a round trip through Clarence Town on some rough and some lovely B roads. The run anti clockwise from Clarence Town back to Raymond Terracve was a highlight with rolling hills and sweeping roads.
The bi annual meeting was held. Roger C. not submitting to the presidency again! Thanks Roger for the term. Thanks to John S. for all the organising and Pedr D. for the history of the club.
Lunch was the pizzaria. Lovely spot, cars under the trees, people under the roof.