The Big Five of Museums join forces again in Essen
At the major classic car shows, classic car events and museums increasingly join the show to present their best and baddest to those who may not make the detour. One of my absolute favourite was the Big Five exhibition at the 2017 Interclassics Brussels, where some Europe’s best automuseums showcased a set of their favourite cars.
This was a truly memorable exhibition that also drive me to pay a visit to those museums, at the earliest convenience.
The alliance of the five seem to thrive on and at this year’s Techno Classica, they joined forces again.
The British National Motormouseum Beaulieu contributed with a pair of compact, but truly distinctive exhibits from the museum’s vault: the 1964 Peel P50 and 1928 Rudge-Whitworth.
The unusual Peel P50 takes minimalism to the extreme with its tiny dimensions. With seating for just one and a two-stroke engine producing 4.2hp, this compact microcar was the world’s smallest production car. The Rudge-Whitworth was ridden to victory in the 1928 Ulster Grand Prix by motorcycle racer and the first curator of Beaulieu’s motorcycle collection, Graham Walker.
In addition, the Louwman Museum contributed with two larger specimem, the Delahaye 135 MS with a bodywork designed by Pourtout for the 1946 Paris Motor Show and the 1951 Italcorsa TARF II. This latter strangeling was powered by a 1.7 litre 290 hp supercharged Maserati engine and achieved a top speed of just under 300 km/h. In later years the car broke records over longer distances at the Montlhéry (France) and Monza (Italy) circuits. It was an experimental vehicle and over the years was modified frequently; various engines were used, including Ferrari units.
The aerodynamic Delahaye coupé was designed by the coachbuilder Pourtout, based on a sporty Delahaye 135MS, presented at the 1946 Paris Motor Show.
The Delahaye 135 MS Coupé Pourtout was launched in 1938, and the high-end version (MS stands for Modifié Spéciale) was equipped with a 125 hp, 3.5 litre, six-cylinder engine and could reach a top speed of 160 km/h (in the 1930's!!!).