Jewels of the JWR Museum Collection

on loan from the Jack W Rich Collection

October 27, 2009 through February 8, 2010

Pennsylvania resident John “Jack” Rich opened his collection at the JWR Museum after retirement so people of all ages could experience the wonders of automotive history. The AACA Museum will be showcasing six spectacular and diverse vehicles that span from the early 1900’s – late 1940’s in the main exhibit gallery. Specific vehicles include: 1910 American Underslung Traveler, 1926 Rolls-Royce Springfield Silver Ghost Piccadilly Roadster, 1932 Delage D8-SS Cabriolet by Chapron, 1939 Horch 853a Cabriolet, 1939/47 Rolls-Royce Phantom III ‘Vutotal’ Cabriolet by Labourdette, and a 1948 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi. Also currently on display from the JWR Museum is an original and unrestored 1911 Oldsmobile Limited 7 Passenger Touring vehicle. It is believed that this is the only completely unrestored and original example know to exist.

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Photographs Courtesy of Michael Furman

Chassis #2050 Engine #1935 The Indianapolis based firm of the American Motor Car Company debuted its first car in October 1905. Designed by Harry Stutz, who later went on to form his now famous company bearing his name, the car was equipped with a four-cylinder engine, shaft drive, and a conventional suspension system. By 1906, Stutz had left, and Fred I. Tone had taken over as chief engineer. Under Tone’s direction, a completely different chassis/suspension system was conceived by reversing the arrangement. This upside down, or underslung, design was an industry first, giving the vehicle a racy stance, while huge 41×4 ½” tires gave it more ground clearance than most conventional models. The company produced various model and engine combinations until its demise in December of 1913.

This particular 1910 Traveler is one of 300 total units produced of that year, and only one of two in existence. Equipped with the 50 horsepower 5 3/8” x 5 ½” four-cylinder Teetor-Hartley built engine, it was priced at $5,000. It was purchased new by Mr. F.C. Deemer, a successful businessman in Brookville, Pa. Mr. Deemer was a huge fan of the Americans; this was his fourth Underslung purchased in three years! When Mr. Deemer passed away in 1959 at the age of 89, all 4 cars were still in his possession. His two sons inherited the cars and kept them stored in a converted brewery. In 1960, Walter Seeley of Jamestown, N.Y., began an inquiry about purchasing the cars. He was told they were not for sale, but the sons wanted a restoration performed on the cars. After many conversations, a deal was struck between the men. Mr. Seeley would restore the earlier three cars in exchange for the 1910 model. A self-described ‘amateur hobbyist’, Mr. Seeley set off the restorations. He was able to contact Fred Tone’s son, who procured many factory documents and photographs. This truly a labor of love, as the first car took six years to restore to absolute authenticity. This 1910 Traveler, Mr. Seeley’s ‘payment’, took the restorer 17 years to finish for himself.

Later in life, the Traveler was purchased by the Haines family in Ohio, who had also acquired two of the other Deemer cars, as well as 3 other Underslungs. In the summer of 2005, John W. Rich purchased it for his established collection of vehicles.

1926 Rolls-Royce Springfield Silver Ghost Piccadilly Roadster

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Photographs Courtesy of Michael Furman

This roadster is a ‘Springfield’ model, so called because Rolls’ Royce produced cars in the Massachusetts city during the years between 1920-1931. The U.S. built cars were left-hand-drive, and used a 6-volt electrical system as opposed to the British-built 12 volts. The brightwork on the car is not chrome, but nickel-silver. This particular car was discovered in a barn in Vermont, and was originally owned by a Countess in Chicago.

1932 Delage D8-SS Cabriolet by Chapron

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Photo by Scott Nidermaier © 2009 Courtesy of Gooding & Company

The 1932 Delage D8-SS Cabriolet is one of the newest vehicles in Mr. Rich’s prestigious collection. A veteran of the Pebble Beach Concours, this vehicle was purchased in August of this year at the Gooding & Company auction in Pebble Beach. The Delage D8-SS has coachwork by Chapron and one of Louis Delage’s greatest 8-cylinder engines – 4,050 CC inline OHV.

Much of the history collected about this car was provided by our friends at Gooding & Company, the internationally-recognized collector car auction house that also specializes in private and estate sales, appraisals and collection management. www.goodingco.com.

1939 Horch 853a Cabriolet by Glaser

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Photographs Courtesy of Michael Furman

Serial # 854340A After a two-year employment as an engineer with Benz, Dr. August Horch left the firm to found his own automobile company in 1900. In 1904 a new assembly plant was built in Zwickau to produce cars bearing the Doctor’s name. For the next several years, Dr. Horch concentrated on building high quality vehicles that could compete in trials and races. These early cars were not very successful in racing form, and as a result, tensions arose between Horch and his board of directors. Frustrated, he left in 1909 to form a new company, and intended once again to call the cars Horch. Unfortunately he no longer had legal access to the name, so he opted to use Audi, the Latin version of his name. (Both words translate into the same meaning, ‘listen’. Hark, as in, “Hark, the herald angels sing’ could well be a derivative of Horch as well.)

The two companies went their separate ways, with Horch charging ahead helped by advanced engineering. Audi, lacking Horch’s guidance, gradually slipped behind over the years and in the early 1930s was taken over by DKW. By a strange twist of fate, DKW and Audi merged with Horch, and a fourth company Wanderer, to form Auto Union in 1932. The Zwickau plant was still in use, producing not only Horch, but also the mighty Auto Union racing cars that were being built to challenge Mercedes-Benz and the rest of the world on the track. Horch carried on as the luxury division of the group, with the Mercedes 540K and the like as its competitors on the public roads.

The 853a vehicles were built from 1938 to 1939, replacing its predecessor, the 853. Glaser, the Dresden based coachbuilder known for its beautiful cabriolets, was the primary supplier of bodies for these cars. Although at first glance the two cars appear identical, the 853a rides on a two-inch shorter wheelbase and offers 20 extra horsepower. The easiest way to distinguish the two apart is the location of the trafficators or semaphores; the early cars have the units mounted in the windshield pillars, while the later cars are mounted on stalks in front of the door openings.

The power plant used for the cars was a 5-liter straight eight with a single overhead camshaft that produced 120 horsepower. A ZF 4 speed transmission with a two-speed overdrive was incorporated, giving the vehicle a total of eight speeds forward and two in reverse. The suspension utilizes leaf springs front and rear, with a pair running transverse in the front, and conventionally mounted to the rear axle, although the differential is affixed to a cross member, and half shafts transmit power to the rear wheels. The chassis also was equipped with an on-board lubrication system, and a central jacking system that would enable the operator to lift any combination of 1 to 4 wheels off the ground at once. Approximately 350 cars were produced in the two-year run, and were rather highly priced at 15,250 German Marks, or roughly $6,250. Although at this price a person could buy nine Fords of that year, it seemed like a bargain considering the fact that a Mercedes 540k chassis without coachwork was the same price!

By 1940, the World was at war, and Hitler and the Third Reich was favoring Mercedes as their choice of vehicles. Horch quietly slipped away, although the Zwickau plant was still being used well after the War. Glaser also closed its doors during the same period. This particular 853a cabriolet with Glaser coachwork was found on Munich dealer Recknagel & Huthmann’s lot in 1951. U.S. Air Force Tech Sergeant Harold Morgan Jr. gladly paid them 800 Marks for the blue cabriolet on December 11th of that year. Morgan Jr., a chef with the 36th Food Services squadron, registered the car with European Command on March 6, 1952. It bears the license #2C10397, replacing the previous 1C48704. Within three months, Morgan Jr., now a Master Sergeant, and the Horch are shipped stateside to his hometown of Luxington, Massachusetts. In ill health, he turned the Horch over to his uncle, Gerald T. Morgan, in a Power of Attorney letter on June 6, 1952. Sadly, within six months, Harold Morgan has passed away.

Gerald Morgan, a Cambridge resident, kept the car for six months, and then sold it to Mr. Raymond Strout of Arlington, Massachusetts. The selling price is $10- yes, ten dollars!

Sometime later, both Strout and the Horch reside in Bridgeport, Michigan, where Raymond is employed at General Motors. Records indicate that on June 6, 1954 Mr. Strout insured the Horch for a six-month period at a cost of $18.64.

Almost eleven years later, Essexville Michigan collectors Sidney and Barbara Hughes discover the car through a mutual friend. It has been neglected for many years, languishing disassembled, but complete, in an old dirt-floored shed. A deal is struck, and the Hughes purchased the car from Strout for $950. It had been sitting for so long that a tree growing in front of the shed doors must be removed in order to extract the car. Sidney, an engineer for the Saginaw Gear division of GM, started the long process of bringing the car back to life. He was rewarded with a CCCA Senior #1113 at the 1984 Midwest Grand Classic. In 1989 the car was invited by Audi to be on display during the company’s 80th anniversary celebration.

In May of 2002, Mr. Jack Rich of Pottsville, Pennsylvania acquired the car from the recently widowed Barbara. The car, showing its age, was sent to L’Cars of Cameron, Wisconsin for a complete restoration in 2003/2004. These are truly rare cars, and it is a great opportunity for admirers to catch a glimpse of these seldom seen vehicles.

1939/47 Rolls-Royce Phantom III ‘Vutotal’ Cabriolet by Labourdette1939-Rolls-Royce-PIII-front-3q

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Photographs Courtesy of Michael Furman
In the late 1920s and throughout the 1930s, luxury automobile manufacturers became embroiled in a multi-cylinder engine war. Twelve and sixteen cylinders started to become the benchmark for high-end vehicles. Packard, Lincoln, Pierce Arrow, and especially Cadillac were the leaders of this so-called war in America, while overseas companies such as Maybach and Hispano-Suiza jumped on board with the idea. Rolls-Royce was left behind, with only the six-cylinder Phantom I and II representing Henry Royce’s ultimate luxury cars. Royce started designing an all-new V12 engine and chassis in the early 1930s, but passed away in 1933 before he could see the completion of his work. In 1934 the Phantom III was completed. Dubbed “Spectre”, the Phantom III had an obligatory V12 engine with dual ignition displacing 7,340 cc, coupled to a four-speed gearbox. Horsepower was not released, but the 51 RAC rated horsepower engine was speculated to have between 170 to 200. Independent front suspension, a first for Rolls-Royce, was fitted to the chassis along with hydraulically adjustable shock absorbers and an on-board jacking system. The combination of engine and chassis weighed in at 4,050 pounds, and equipped with coachwork could be propelled to speeds of 90 to 100 miles per hour. Priced at 1,850 British Pounds (roughly $10,000), just 719 chassis were produced throughout 1939.

This particular chassis, 3DL120, was completed and delivered to the coachbuilder Hooper in October of 1938. Hooper built a wonderful sedanca de ville for the chassis that would be used by Rolls-Royce at their display for the 1939 Brussels, Amsterdam, and Geneva Motor shows, gathering many accolades. It then was displayed at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, but not before returning to London to be fitted with gauges and lights suitable for the American market. Inskip of New York took delivery of the car, and after the World’s Fair sold it to Mr. Oscar Greenwald of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in November of 1939. Mr. Greenwald passed away in 1941, leaving the Phantom III with his widow.

Mr. Louis Ritter of New York City was in need of a new chassis to be the basis of his next show car, but no bare chassis were available during wartime. He was forced to purchase a completed car solely for the chassis. He acquired the car from Mrs. Greenwald in 1942, and 3DL120 started a new, completely different chapter in its history. Ritter was a flamboyant person who seemed to subscribe to the ‘flavor of the month” in all aspects of his life, be it businesses, wives, or cars. He was most famous as founding Ritter Brothers, the famous NYC furrier. He retired from that business in 1944, and shifted into real estate, buying and selling hotels. At one point in his life, Ritter had interests in the Weylin, Paramount, and La Guardia hotels, the latter he built at the airport of the same name. He also purchased the entire south end of Key Biscayne, Florida, and sold it off sometime later. He had been married to several women, including the actress Carroll Baker.

Louis Ritter’s affection for automobiles was no exception. Ritter enjoyed outrageous, custom-built cars that were to compete in the Paris Salons. Roger Barlow once wrote in his Autoweek Escape Road column detailing Ritter’s escapades with a pair of Saoutchik bodied cars, namely a Cadillac and a Talbot-Lago. It seemed that once a car was completed he would tire of his new possessions, and sell them off within a month or so.

3DL120 had become Ritter’s latest purchases, but the Hooper body was not extravagant enough for him. The Hooper body was removed, and the chassis was shipped off to Paris and delivered to the carrossier of Henri Labourdette. Labourdette was most famous for building skiff bodies for automobiles, and had a reputation for pushing designs to the extreme. Caution was thrown to the wind with a new execution, obliterating everything that would identify it as a Rolls-Royce. Labourdette had experimented with aerodynamics using Delages and other cars, and what would be his last creation, developed a swooping open body for the chassis at a cost of $44,000! The traditional Rolls-Royce radiator was cloaked behind a new streamlined grille, which complemented the enormous aerodynamic front fenders housing hidden headlights. The design carried to the rear, culminating into Labourdette’s signature skiff or boat-tail design. One of the cars most famous features, however, is the ‘Vutotal’ windscreen. Invented by Joseph Vigroux and patented together with Labourdette, the system afforded a completely unobstructed view without any form of support other than the thick piece of glass itself. Chrome was used sparingly, with Labourdette opting to use gold-plating and large spears of brass, most of which were leaded into the body itself. The only items to distinguish the car as a Rolls-Royce was the instrument cluster and a pair of custom Rolls-Royce cloisonné inset into the doors. The car was completed in 1947, shown at the Paris Concours, and then delivered to Ritter in NYC. It is rumored that Ritter threw a huge party at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, complete with 80 chorus girls, in honor of his newest acquisition!

In typical Ritter fashion, the car was listed for sale by October of 1948. The advertisement in the New York Times had a price of $20,000, and the car had only gone a total of 8,000 miles. Louis Ritter passed away in 1959 at the age of 59 while vacationing in France.

Dr. Samuel Scher, a New York plastic surgeon, purchased the car. It changed hands a couple of more times, including a drug dealer who ended up in a Cuban prison. It was displayed in Chrysler dealer’s showroom (complete with its own guard) in New Castle, Pennsylvania, and at one point was for sale at a car lot in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1957 3DL120 was to be auctioned off in Clarion, Pennsylvania, at which time Girard, Ohio resident Emil Bayowski bought the car for $3,100. He repainted the car in a maroon and white scheme, and showed and toured with it at a number of CCCA events. Mr. Bayowski lost the car in a court ordered divorce settlement in 1973, selling it to Tom Barrett. Barrett, asking $65,000, in turn sold it to Sam Schwartz of New York. 1977 saw another new ownership by Mr. S. Mars, possibly of the candy empire, and later with Tom Barrett selling it again, this time to Russell Head of Burlingame, California. It was during his ownership that the car was featured both in Automobile Quarterly and a French enthusiast magazine. Herb Boyer in San Francisco was the next owner, restoring the car in red. He showed the car at Pebble Beach in 1984, winning First in Class, and Dennis Adler wrote an article about the car for Car Collector magazine in 1986. The car was sold to Richard Gorman of Vantage Motorworks in Miami, Florida in 1995. Mr. Gorman had the car listed for sale with a price of $650,000, and Dennis Adler’s article was republished in August 1995 edition of the Robb Report. Don Williams of the Blackhawk Collection owned the car for a number of years, later advertising it for sale. In the winter of 2005 John W. Rich of Pottsville, Pennsylvania purchased the car for his extensive collection.

1948 Delahaye 135M Drophead Coupe by Figoni et Falaschi

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Photographs Courtesy of Michael Furman

Figoni et Falaschi of Paris, known for their sweeping curves of steel and chrome, bodied 18 of this series, each one slightly different. Nine are known to exist. The 3.5 liter six-cylinder engine has triple carbs, and a four-speed electrically shifted transmission.

The history of the Paris-based automobile manufacturer Delahaye actually begins as far back as 1845, when the firm was producing machinery for making bricks. Later they progressed to a line of stationary engines for industrial purposes, which ultimately led to automobiles in 1894. Emile Delahaye stayed with the company until 1901, but Chief Engineer Charles Weiffenbach continued with the firm for more than 45 years. Most of the cars the company produced over time were fairly nondescript, but dependable. In 1935 Delahaye purchased Delage, a company known for turning out sports and Grand Prix cars, which changed the direction of Delahaye.

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Photographs Courtesy of Michael Furman

In what would become Delahaye’s most important car in terms of production, recognition, and success, the Type 135 debuted in 1935. In the performance Coupe des Alpes version, the in-line six-cylinder engine of 3.2 liters was equipped with triple Solex carburetors producing 113 horsepower. The engine was coupled to an electric Cotal gearbox, and the chassis incorporated independent front suspension, Bendix brakes, and Rudge wheels. Several versions of the 135 were available throughout the years, including Sport, Competition, and Special models. The 135M was launched in 1938 with a larger 3.5 liter engine, and was produced in various forms, carrying over WWII until 1952. By 1945, the engine produced upwards of 130 horsepower in the MS version. Sold mostly in chassis-only form, many beautiful bodies were created by carrosseries including Chapron, Guillore, Saoutchik, and one of the leaders of French design, Figoni.

Joseph Figoni had been building bodies for various chassis since the early 1920s, and his styling and ability to create custom bodies led to his rapid popularity. In 1935 he teamed up with Ovidio Falaschi as his business manager, forming Figoni et Falaschi. Together they progressed, pushing the design envelope with wonderful aerodynamics. Figoni would often consult fashion designers for color schemes while creating vehicles intended for the Concours d’Elegance and Paris Salons. While most famous for his Tear Drop bodied Talbot-Lagos, some of the most beautiful bodies he created, both in open- and closed-form, were placed on Delahaye chassis.

After WWII, Figoni created a small series of bodies on the Delahaye 135M chassis. Dubbed “El Glaoui” after a famous first owner, the Pasha of Marrakesh, eighteen of these Mylord cabriolets were produced, with just 9 cars existing today according to Andre Vaucourt, the Delahaye Club historian. Although each carried the same basic silhouette, all had different treatments of the nose, tail, and lighting positions. Some had more elaborate applications of curving chrome accents. One example was featured in the opening minutes of Alfred Hitchcock’s film “To Catch a Thief” with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.

Photographs Courtesy of Michael Furman

Photographs Courtesy of Michael Furman

This particular example, chassis 801372, is one of the remaining El Glaoui cars. Carrying body number 1061, it was originally delivered to a Mr. Venot in a radiant Garnet Red color. The next recorded owner was Mr. DeJaiffe, the owner of a black marble quarry in Belgium. The French architect Gino Terzulli owned the car for a number of years, and eventually ended up in the United States with Paul Myers of California. Mr. Myers showed the car at various events, including Pebble Beach in the 1980s. In the 1990s it was part of Dragone Classic Cars of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Mr. John W. Rich Sr. of Pottsville, Pa. purchased the car in June of 2000. The car had been wearing the same restoration for the last 35 or more years, as evidenced by photographs taken by Delahaye Club President Phillipe Looten in France during the early 1970s, and was showing its age. A decision was made for a complete nut and bolt restoration on the car, bringing it back to its former glory with the original Garnet Red color.

 

We would like to thank the JWR Auto Museum for the loan of their collection vehicles. For more information on the complete collection visit the JWR Museum website.

We would like to thank Michael Furman Photography Studio for the use of their images of these amazing vehicles.