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Event Coverage

American dreams - The Pre ’50 American Auto Club, Knebworth Park, UK, 19 July 2009

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Knebworth Park played host to a magnificent collection of American classic cars. Here are a few of them...

The splendid arboreal setting of Knebworth Park, Stevenage, Herts, makes for an ideal venue in which to celebrate the Pre ’50 AAC’s annual Rally of The Giants, the UK’s premier event for enthusiasts of older American cars, predominantly spanning 1900-1950, but to also include mid to late 1950s cars too.

No where else in the country is there an event that musters so many vintage and classic Americans all in one place. Rally of  The Giants has been taking place every year since 1966 and always attracts cars from all over the UK as well from the continent too.

One of the rarest cars from the Antique & Prohibition Class (up to 1934) was Barrie Cannon’s 1933 Hupmobile Model K321 cabriolet roadster. The car was built at the time when Hupmobile were on their knees, and indeed they only produced around 7600 cars that year. Barrie’s car was exported to Australia when new, and spent most of its life there, until being repatriated to the USA in the 1980s and eventually finding its way to the UK several years ago. It sports all the desirable options of twin horns, twin side mounted spare wheels, trunk rack etc.

A most interesting car in the Roosevelt Class (1935-1941) was Sonja and Thorsten Larsson’s 1935 Plymouth De Luxe Touring Sedan that they drove from Ystad in Sweden. The car has undergone a major restoration and is powered by a six-cylinder Flathead 3302cc82hp engine. The UK’s leading lights on all things Lincoln-Zephyr, the Spong brothers, Colin and Adrian, brought three cars from their collection, a 1937 V12 saloon in amazingly original and unrestored condition, a 1937 V12 saloon that was restored by Colin and his late father Fred and a 1937 V12 coupe.

The latter was purchased by Fred Spong in April 1958 for £60, and was restored by Colin and Fred between 1972-1977 and has now been in the family for 51 years, amazing! Colin and Adrian were instrumental in assisting Bernie Hulks restore his Lincoln-Zephyr convertible coupe to an exemplary finish.

Tony Abrahall was displaying his 1939 Oldsmobile Series 70 G39 Touring Sedan that has an amazing history. It was purchased new by famous English scientist Dr Oswald Silberrad an explosives expert who worked with Barnes Wallis on the ‘Bouncing Bomb’ project during WW2.

In 1959 the car was stored in a garage at Silberrad’s home at Dryads’ Hall, Loughton, Essex. After Silberrad died in 1960 the car was to remain entombed until it was discovered and rescued by Colin and Adrian Spong in 2005. It has been sympathetically recommissioned for the road, yet remains in extremely original highly patinated condition and found a new home with Oldsmobile buff Tony Abrahall.

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