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Isadora Duncan died in an Bugatti?


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#1 Joris Bergsma

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Posted 23 September 2000 - 20:44

In fact this is the same question as the one I posted under 'Benoit Falchetto'. I am researching the death of Isadora while Benoit Falchetto was at the wheel of an Amilcar or Bugatti or ..... This was in 1927. Most people and sources say it was a Bugatti. Some people are sure it was an Amilcar. So far I have found no proof for either option. But the more research I do, the more intriguing the question becomes.

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#2 Barry Lake

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 05:43

Joris
I have a friend who is a lifelong Amilcar enthusiast and historian. he says Amilcar people went to Nice and checked the police records. The car was an Amilcar. When they published this, the Bugatti people suggested something like the Bugatti agent had the name recorded incorrectly to protect the name of Bugatti!
My friend has written one book on Amilcar history in Australia and is working on another. He says he now has in his possession an autobiography which provides evidence that proves beyond doubt it was an Amilcar. But he has asked me not to make the facts public until he publishes his book.
I am inclined to believe him, he is a dedicated historian, not the type of person to distort history just to gain notoriety for his favourite make of car.
The story of its being a Bugatti has been repeated over and over through time, even in such respected publications as Automobile Quarterly.

#3 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 07:53

This story is on the last page of Automobile Quarterly, Vol.6, No.1, La Mort d’Isadora, reprinted from U.S.A.: The Big Money by John Dos Passos. It says that Isadora Duncan was a great American dancer, born 1878 in San Francisco, but lived mainly in Europe. She died at the French Riviera in Nice September 1927, when "she picked up a good looking young Italian who kept a garage and drove a little Bugatti racer." She went with him in the car and as they took off, the long scarf she had wrapped around her neck became entangled in a wheel, pulled her back and she broke her neck.[p][Edited by Hans Etzrodt on 09-24-2000]

#4 Joris Bergsma

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Posted 24 September 2000 - 12:04

Thanks Hans,

I know this article from AQ. But... if you read a little further in AQ nr. 20-3(page 284), you'll find an interesting article about the artist Rene Vincent. I quote the Dutch writer "The device lost its charme in 1927, when Isadora Duncan lost her liefe when her long scarf became entangled in an Amilcar's rear wheel."
Also Bugatti writer Conway wrote in the preface of a reprinted edition of Pur Sang that Isadora was killed in an Amilcar.

see you later Joris

#5 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 25 September 2000 - 09:15

Joris,
I have both issues of Automobile Quarterly. Two contradicting stories by different authors; not unusual. Barry's post carries the key to your question. Maybe Barry can get you in touch with his Amilcar friend and you might be able to kill two birds with one stone since you are a pro Amilcar man.

#6 MOTORSPORT RESORT

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Posted 25 September 2000 - 13:03

Regarding "Isadora Duncan"
the death scene in the movie with,
"Vanessa Redgrave" playing her part,
had a Bugatti...So this may be where
some of the confusion occured.


#7 Joris Bergsma

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Posted 25 September 2000 - 19:34

Hi MotorSport,

The confusion started much earlier. In 1927 to be exact. Probably some presspeople thought it would add colour to their story when the killercar was a Bugatti in stead of the much more common Amilcar. In fact the the 1928 book about Isadora "The Untold Story" by Mary Desti -friend and chaperone of Isadora- gave food to the idea that it was not a Bugatti. In her description of the car she mentions staggered seats. As far as I know there is no Bugatti with this seat arrangement.

#8 Joris Bergsma

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Posted 25 September 2000 - 20:44

Anybody really interested in the subjectshould visit Jakob Munkhammar's Bugatti pages: homepage.mac.com/bugatti/jacob/InfoHunt and than look for Question 076. The death of Isadora Duncan. Especially the contibution of John Rudd is very worthwile to read. But watch out, I found out this problem is quite addictive...

#9 Don Capps

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Posted 26 September 2000 - 18:53

I looked at the site and was fascinated by the discussion. Much of it was familiar ground as I read through it, albeit that much of it dated back to earlier debates in the 1970's, if I recall, at about the time of the Redgrave movie. And the search goes on...

As for me, I vote for the CGS....

#10 Joris Bergsma

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Posted 26 September 2000 - 20:14

This is really a great mystery. I even have the possession of a photo with Isadora and Mary Desti behind the V-screen of a sportscar. The text accompanying says it is the car in which Isadora died and the photo was taken the day before. After carefull study by myself and other experts including Hans Etzrodt and John Rudd, we came to the conclusion that the photo is a fake or at least the text is. The photo is a close up and the only thing to be seen is the of a type that was in use with huge open tourers as the windscreen for the secondary cowl. By the way is it possible to add photo's in a thread?

#11 Don Capps

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Posted 26 September 2000 - 20:46

JB,

Here is the key to the code for posting images and other neat tricks...

http://www.atlasf1.c...p?action=bbcode


#12 Don Capps

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Posted 03 October 2000 - 19:22

From http://www.bugatti-c...ss/myth2_1.html

Der Tod der Tänzerin

Posted Image

Zu den Legenden, die allesamt den Mythos Bugatti ausmachen, gehört auch der Tod der berühmtesten Tänzerin aller Zeiten – Isadora Duncan.

Es ist ein von der ernsthaften Bugatti-Geschichtsschreibung nicht sonderlich geschätztes Thema, lieber haben sich Künstler wie Cocteau oder Dos Passos diesem angenommen. Echte Bugattisten gingen so weit, die Automarke anzuzweifeln: vielleicht sei es ein Amilcar gewesen und eben kein Bugatti. Natürlich war es ein Bugatti. Und das war aus zweierlei Gründen kein Zufall, denn nur das Kultobjekt „Bugatti“ konnte Isadora begeistern. Und wenn es je ein Auto gab, bei dem ein Schal gefährlich werden konnte, war es der Renn- und Straßenwagen, der Bugatti aus der Reihe 35/37.

Wie man weiß, verfing sich Isadoras Schal schon nach 100 Metern in den Speichen und brach der Tänzerin sofort das Genick.

#13 Don Capps

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Posted 03 October 2000 - 20:07

...and I happen to disagree: after all this was listed under 'mythos' for a reason...

#14 Mike Argetsinger

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Posted 03 October 2000 - 21:13

ACHTUNG in der fahrerlager.....das geht nicht!

#15 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 October 2000 - 22:33

Probably a good looking chick... I always reflect that an early death in such ones is a real waste...
But then, I'm an old perve...
Without being old, that is.

#16 Joris Bergsma

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Posted 04 October 2000 - 07:37

Don, a question. For some reason my answers to this thread yesterday evening didn't come through.
Anyway, once more. Bugatti-purists can look up Conway's "Le pur sang des automobiles" . Third edition, 1974, and read in the the new, second preface: "It was an Amilcar!" But, with no evidence to back up this remark.

By the way, when you make carefull study of the eyewitness reports of the accident you know Isadora's deadride was not 100 metres, but a mere 10.

#17 Barry Lake

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Posted 04 October 2000 - 13:59

Originally posted by Joris Bergsma
By the way, when you make carefull study of the eyewitness reports of the accident you know Isadora's deadride was not 100 metres, but a mere 10.


Yes, and I believe she was not strangled but suffered a smashed skull and/or broken neck as her head was slammed down onto the side of the car.

#18 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 October 2000 - 16:58

This is not looking pretty...
Which eyewitnesses are we to believe?

#19 Don Capps

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Posted 11 October 2000 - 01:05

More fuel for the fire. This is from someone on the Maserati group I am a member of:

Hi Don.
The date was 14 September 1927.

John Dos Passos in his USA:Big Money, by Houghton Mifflin Co writes,

"One day at a little restaurant at Golfe Juan she picked up a good looking young Italian who kept a garage and drove a little Bugatti racer. Saying that she might want to buy the car, she made him go to her studio to take her out for a ride...she got in beside him ... the mechanic put his car in gear and started.
The heavy trailing scarf caught in a wheel, wound tight. Her head was wrenched against the side of the car. The car stopped instantly; her neck was broken, her nose crushed, Isadora was dead."

However, Automobile Quarterly XX/3 pg. 284 in an article about Rene Vincent by Carli Perk says,

"This device [a long flowing scarf] lost its charm in 1927, when Isadora Duncan lost her life when her long scarf became entangled in an Amilcar's rear wheel."

So the source of the Bugatti story seems to be Dos Passos.

The Guiness Book of Car Facts and Feats 1971 on pg. 203 says, "... strangled when her scarf was caught in the rear wheel of a friend's Bugatti in which she was riding...."

I urge you to try to get Arnold Ginthe's book. Both (Ginthe and Duncan) were from San Francisco and knew each other well. I believe that Ginthe mentions her death, but cannot remember if he mentions the marque.

Regards,

David


Hi Don,

He is a contemporary newspaper report. No make is mentioned, but it makes it
sound as if it was not a sports car. Who knows?

PARIS, FRANCE--Isadora Duncan, the American dancer,
tonight met a tragic death at Nice on the Riviera. According to dispatches from Nice Miss Duncan was hurled in an extraordinary manner from an open automobile in which she was riding and instantly killed by the force of her fall to the stone pavement.

Affecting, as was her habit, an unusual costume, Miss
Duncan was wearing an immense iridescent silk scarf wrapped about her neck and streaming in long folds, part of which was swathed about her body with part trailing behind. After an evening walk along the Promenade de Anglais about 10 o'clock, she entered an open rented car, directing the driver to take her to the hotel where she was staying.

As she took her seat in the car neither she nor the
driver noticed that one of the loose ends fell outside over the side of the car and was caught in the rear wheel of the machine.

Dragged Bodily From the Car.
The automobile was going at full speed when the scarf of
strong silk suddenly began winding around the wheel and with terrific force dragged Miss Duncan, around whom it was securely wrapped, bodily over the side of the car, precipitating her with violence against the cobblestone street. She was dragged for several yards before the chauffeur halted, attracted by her cries in the street.

Medical aid immediately was summoned, but it was stated
that she had been strangled and killed instantly.

Regards,

David


Hi Don,

This in German medical chronicles

aus: Rechtsmedizin 7, pp. 28-29, 1996

Abstract
Accidental Strangulation Caused by a Vehicle: The Death of Isadora Duncan
Isadora Duncan, one of the world´s most famous dancers, died on 14. September 1927 by accidental strangulation caused by a vehicle. Sitting on the front passenger´s seat, Duncan´s scarf came into the the spokes of the rear
wheel of a Bugatti. The driver, Duncan´s friend Ivan Falchetto could not see Duncan while looking forward but immediatly stopped immediately after 20 m. Duncan died at the scene. In the hospital, fractures of the nose,
the spinal column and the larynx were oberved; furthermore, cartids were torn. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the accident in forensic

literature.

Key words
Accidental strangulation • Ashyxia • Ligature • Car accident • Scarf

Regards,

David


Well, as they say: "If this were simple..."

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#20 Don Capps

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Posted 11 October 2000 - 01:10

But, WAIT! There's more!

Hi Don,

Another German report

Schlüsselworte
Schal • Strangwerkzeug • Verkehrsunfall • Strangulation • Akzidentelle
Strangulation
Akzidentelle Strangulationen sind selten und werden in der neueren
rechtsmedizinischen Literatur als Besonderheiten betrachtet [2,4]. Ein Fall
von
unfreiwilliger Strangulation, der als der wohl berühmteste seiner Art gelten
muß, hat allerdings bis heute keinen Eingang die rechtsmedizinische
Literatur gefunden und wird bei der Schilderung neuerer Kasuistiken entweder
gar nicht erwähnt [2] oder unrichtig wiedergegeben [4]. Daher
möchten wir den betreffenden Fall im folgenden kurz skizzieren.
Am 14. September 1927 verließ die Tänzerin Isadora Duncan ihre Wohnung in
Nizza, wobei sie unter anderem einen großen Schal aus chinesischer
Seide von etwa 2x2 Metern Größe trug. In einer nahegelegenen Bar trank
Duncan einige Alkoholika, ging noch einmal nach hause und schlug einen
weiteren Schal um ihren Hals. - Dieser zweite Schal (Abb. 1) war schon
damals eine Legende, unter anderem deshalb, weil Duncan ihn bei ihren
Auftritten, beispielsweise zu einem Tanz auf die Marseillaise, trug. -
Duncan stieg dann auf den Beifahrersitz des Bugatti ihres Freundes Ivan
Falchetto ein. Der Beifahrersitz war gegenüber dem Fahrersitz leicht nach
hinten versetzt, so daß Falchetto sich während des Fahrens zur Seite
wenden mußte, um Duncan zu sehen.

This also says in a Bugatti.

Regards,

David


Back to you JB...

....and anyone catch this name: Ivan
Falchetto....

Any Belgian detectives out there?

#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 October 2000 - 01:16

So many conflicts... strangled, neck broken... wrenched against the side of the car, thrown on the pavement.... reached full speed (and stopped in a few metres!), only went a little way... Bugatti, Amilcar... car she might buy, rental car... driven by mechanic, driven by a chauffer (easy to cross these, I guess)... racing or sports car, 'driver stopped whe he heard her screams' indicating a driver forward of her... died instantly, screamed from footpath...
Hans had better get in on this one...

#22 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 11 October 2000 - 07:21

Ray,
I suggested to Joris to join us at TNF and place his various questions here since I was at the end of my rope.

#23 Don Capps

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Posted 11 October 2000 - 15:36

Certainly, the truth is out there somewhere....

...but, the more we seem to search, the more "out there" it seems to get.

Actually, this really isn't a big surprise when you consider that the historiography supports the confusion. As I used to tell my students, even original sources can lead to as great a confusion as secondary sources. The trick is to keep eliminating elements until you have only the facts left: then, regardless as to how crazy or obvious it is, what you have left is as close to the answer (..."the truth"...) as you will get.

Has anyone seen the the actual police report on this incident? Just curious since it would seem to have some of the missing elements.

#24 Barry Lake

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Posted 11 October 2000 - 15:42

I can't say any more until my Amilcar friend contacts me, or returns from wherever he is (perhaps Nice, looking for eye witnesses?). Even then he might not want to reveal his "secret" new source.
But I am sure he will be interested to see all of the information here.

I wouldn't put too much credence in the newspaper story that says she landed on the roadway - not that I don't necessarily believe that bit, but it reads like a typical journalists' story to me. Remember, they have to have a story by deadline whether they can get the best information or not.

A newspaper sub-editor (who is himself a very accurate writer) was explaining to me recently how he sometimes has trouble convincing young reporters that you have to get the story in the first edition. It doesn't matter if it isn't right; you have time to try to get it right for the second edition. (!)
And how many times have you seen vastly different accounts, including numbers killed, in rival daily newspapers, about a major disaster?
You must never forget these things when doing research.

Nor is the number of reports that agree on a point a factor. Chances are they all went to the same incorrect source and the minority were the ones who dug deeper.

As for the car being decribed as a Bugatti, if it was an Amilcar, that is an easy mistake for a non-expert to make.
"What sort of a car was it?"
"A little blue, sporty looking thing with two seats and wire wheels."
"Sounds like a Bugatti."
"It could have been."
So it becomes a Bugatti and history has been written. Surely we've all been caught like that before.

At this stage I'm not convinced one way or the other, although the fact that Hugh Conway was prepared to switch his story from Bugatti to Amilcar in a later edition of Le Pur Sang... is significant to me. I don't think he would do that lightly.

#25 Barry Lake

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Posted 11 October 2000 - 15:44

Don
I thought I was told that some Amilcar historians had done just that, but I have to wait for my expert friend to confirm or deny this.

#26 Joris Bergsma

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Posted 11 October 2000 - 19:42

I am glad to see how Isadora is getting your interest. I am on the subject now for some two years and I have been collecting facts from all places. So far I have not been able to collect the police report. Concerning newspaper reports from that time, I think I have some 10 of 15 from that week and they are all different. Including some(one in Holland and one in Savannah, georgia, USA ; probably making use of the same correpondent) that claim that the scarf was caught by a front wheel ! Also I collected the contemporary literature. All very interesting and making one desperate. Still, I believe the mystery is probably more interesting than the solution. Also I have contact with some French experts. One has tthe solution -it is an Amilcar - but doesn't want to talk about it. He is planning a book just like the Australian source.At the same time this bookwriter claims that he even knows where the killing Amilcar is at the moment. Yeah, I really love this.
The name Ivan Fachetto is a small mistake by the German doctor. I know him through the web. He mixed up names of eyewitnesses including an Ivan and mr. Benoit Falchetto. Also in other literature there are mistakes with Benoit Falchetto when he is mixed up with Robert Benoïst, a Delage driver certainly not unknown to for instance Hans Etzrodt.

#27 Don Capps

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Posted 12 October 2000 - 01:01

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse -- Wait! There's more! In a blinding flash of the obvious just in time to muddy the waters more...

Hi Don,

Speculation as to Bugatti type has been about a Type 35. None of them had staggered seating. However, some of the Brescia did have the passenger seated offset from the driver. A Brescia might have been a more common model Bugatti in 1927.

Just a thought.

David



I just love it when a plan comes together...


#28 Joris Bergsma

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Posted 12 October 2000 - 07:13

The staggering seats question made people doubt the Bugatti claim. Also there was a GP Bugatti in 1922 with staggered seats, the ugly cigar. But this car was highly unlike to be seen at the scene. At the moment I am collecting sportscars of that era with staggered seats. Including Salmsons, Amilcar,BNC and even Packard...(the latter one doesn't fit the description of a small car, but it was fast and it was in France in that year..)

#29 Ray Bell

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Posted 12 October 2000 - 07:15

Like everything else, however, the staggered seat theory might just be another wild goose chase. It would all have happened so fast nobody could have followed it.

#30 Barry Lake

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Posted 12 October 2000 - 14:51

Don

My last post might have been too brief to be explicit. I was saying that I believed that some Amilcar historians, at some time in the not-too-distant past, had been to Nice to see the police records. That was when some Bugatti people (possibly this all happened through readers letters in Motor Sport) suggested the "Bugatti dealer" had written "Amilcar" in the report to avoid bad publicity for Bugatti! Clutching at straws, perhaps?

My Amilcar historian friend emerged today. He hadn't been in Nice looking for clues; he had been in hospital, but says he is OK.

He doesn't want to give his story away. He is so excited about getting it into his next book. But he has asked me to forward him a copy of all that has been said here, as he is very interested. I am sure Joris' and Don's posts will particularly interest him.

#31 Joris Bergsma

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Posted 12 October 2000 - 15:29

The other story is not that the Bugatti people changed the word Bugatti into Amilcar. But that newspaper people changed Amilcar in the much more interesting, romantic and internationally appealing name of Bugatti.
Also Bugatti stood for fast sportscar. So any reporter without much knowledge of cars would report a Bugatti when seeing something blue and sporty.

#32 Don Capps

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Posted 12 October 2000 - 15:36

JB,

This is probably the real root of the problem:

Also Bugatti stood for fast sportscar. So any reporter without much knowledge of cars would report a Bugatti when seeing something blue and sporty.




#33 Adrian Vincent

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Posted 15 October 2000 - 13:50

"Bugatti" is the term Isadora Duncan used for her car driver. Regardless of the car he drove, she would have called him Bugatti for what it implies. She could not call him Amilcar and achieve the desired effect. Regardless of the reporters and the police report, she started the confusion (if there is one). It is interesting to note (and has been pointed out to me) that her friend Mary Desti incorrectly spells Bugatti in her book. Mary, also present at the time of Isadora's last days, adds proof to Mary's unfamiliarity with these type of cars. If it is an Amilcar, it still remains the "Bugatti" persona chosen by Isadora herself that is associated with this sad death.

#34 dbw

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Posted 30 November 2000 - 18:31

interesting reading......i am aware of most of this stuff...so i'll just comment....having owned and driven an amilcar cgss, a t37 and t35 bugatti i can attest to the fact that it could easily have been any one of these cars....the passenger seating position vis a vis the rear wheel is almost identical.however, i would eliminate a t35 as even then it was a difficult car to operate on the street[mostly starting when hot and inherent overheating] a t37 is a more plausable bugatti as an unblown car could [and often was] street driven....however just from a practical standpoint, the amilcar makes most sense..they were plentiful,easy to operate,and did indeed look a lot like a gp bug [a perfect poseur vehicle]..as for the mechanics, any of the above vehicles could easily do the damage...however, with the torque available at the wheel hub, the chance of stopping the car would be slight,unless at slow speeds.so pulling the passanger out of the seat would be a plausable scenario[witness the hapless bug driver whose tire shred,ripping the outside gearlever totally off the cross shaft,and had to finish the race in third gear!!]....as an addition, the popular press would always go for a more exotic brand just for better circulation!!!![can you imagine princess di killed in a yugo? or james dean snuffed out at the wheel of his studebaker??

#35 Joris Bergsma

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Posted 03 December 2000 - 19:43

As an Amilcar owner it hurts a little when your car is being compared with a Yugo or even a Studebaker. But the last speaker owned a CGSs once so he obviously knows where he is speaking about. Anyway his views are interesting. The only thing he is not aware of is the fact that eyewitnesses speak of a car with staggered seats. To my knowledge the T35 and T37 had no such seat arrangement.

#36 dbw

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Posted 04 December 2000 - 17:29

well,yes....however if we assume a staggered seat,blue, boattail roadster..then it could be one of a number of small french cars;rally,BNC,salmson,etc....they all looked pretty much alike to the average observer....[it could even have been a T23 brecia with staggered coachwork.....]no offence to amilcar owners,i've had two,but they were an inexpensive car available in larger quantities to the public.

#37 Joris Bergsma

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Posted 04 December 2000 - 21:02

No hard feelings about the Amilcar. You are absolutely right about all the other cars mentioned. I even want to go a step further. The driver -Benoit Falchetto- raced a so called Tony Speciale in that time and only later an Amilcar and a Bugatti. Unfortunately so far I can't find any pictures of the Tony; maybe it was a special with a Bugatti or Amilcar radiator. Who knows?

#38 Barry Lake

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Posted 05 December 2000 - 13:50

Joris
I still haven't heard back from my Amilcar historian friend.
When things quieten down after Christmas I will try to pin him down on the subject.

#39 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 16 July 2002 - 09:13

Quotes from Jacob's Bugatti Pages:

In the latest issue of Oldtimer Markt, the verry best paper of this kind in Germany, the car in wich Isadora Duncan died was an Amilcar. Only the local press updated the car to a Bugatti, wich until today is part of the myth around her death.

The popular belief that Isadora Duncan died in a Bugatti has been a myth for longer than you think and has therefore taken some time to dispell.

Although I cannot come up with first hand reference to the fact, it has always in later years been rightly stated that she died in an Amilcar. Hugh Conway states it in his book, Pur sang, and consequently I was under the impression that "everybody" now knew that it was an Amilcar that she was killed in and not a Bugatti.

However, now that the question has come up again it is interesting to look into futher details.

The reason for the myth is very obvious and to explain that one have to look at a copy of the New York Herald Tribune, 1st September 1927.

"Isadora Duncan 50, famous American danseuse, died last monday evening in an automobile accident. Miss Duncan was driving a Bugatti, which she intended to buy, on the Promenade des Anglais, Nice. She wore, in the style she herself had made famous, a red silk scarf wound twice round her neck. While the car was in motion, one end of the scarf became entangled in the left rear wheel and it dragged the dancer out of the machine and onto the roadway where Miss Duncan died instantly."

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#40 Joris Bergsma

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Posted 16 July 2002 - 09:27

Dear Hans,

It was the Bugatti p[agews that made me start my research. Contrary that was is said and written often I found only one local newspaper claiming it was a Bugatti in which she died and one claiming it was an Amilcar. At the moment I am sorting out my pile of notes and intend to publish a little book about all the little known facts around her seath. By the way allready in AutMotor und Sport of 198-something there was a final publication on Isadora dying in an Amilcar. The German Bugatti club went to Nice and found the documents in which was clearly stated that she died in a Bugatti. The reason why so may people claim that it was a Bugatti is far more complicated than one might think. I will keep some of the details for publication in my booklet.


all the best, Joris

#41 dmj

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Posted 16 July 2002 - 12:26

Amazing! When I was just discovering Internet, 3 or 4 years ago, discussion on this subject at Jacob's Bugatti pages was one of first things to capture my imagination, along with mistery of "missing" Bugati Royale. And while I never found out if there is any truth in Royale story, I was more or less convinced that Duncan case was solved in favor of an Amilcar. But, although I still believe it was an Amilcar, I just found out it is still more or less open. And I would add: if there is any motoring-related subject that really intrigues me, someone on TNF will post details of it, sooner or later. :)

#42 dretceterini

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Posted 16 July 2002 - 22:37

IMO it was an Amilcar...

Stu

#43 dretceterini

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Posted 16 July 2002 - 22:42

Joris:

If you are now embarassed about owning an Amilcar, you can put it in a crate and send it to me....

:rotfl:

Stu

#44 Joris Bergsma

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 07:21

Hi Dret,

Knowing all this I would feel embarassed to own a Bugatti...

Joris

#45 Doug Nye

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 09:55

Having v. little interest in Isadora Duncan I have never spent any time researching the details of her tragic demise in any detail whatsoever BUT I do recall that my late friend Cyril Posthumus was quite involved at one stage in the late '60s or '70s in unravelling the story and I am sure he once told me he had spoken with someone who had been present or was connected in some way, and that the car involved was 'definitely' an Amilcar.

The Bugatti attribution came about - in his opinion - simply because it was considered more up-market and glitzy-ritzy by the media of the day... Certainly the impression to set before the public of the fading and controversial beauty snatched to her death on the Riviera from the seat of a gleaming blue Bugatti would have set the journos slavering rather more than the difficult concept of her meeting her maker in a...a what? An Amalca? Never heard of it - French sports car, Riviera, must have been a Bugatti...

Rather like the 'Daily Mirror' writer I once heard telephoning his copy from a hotel booth in Monaco. He was bawling down the line "As practice began today for Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix this Principality - jewel of the Mediterranean - has been invaded by thousands of Italian Ferrari enthusiasts...umm...nah, correction, make that 'tens of thousands'....nah 'ang on, put 'A MILLION rampant Italian race fans today invaded the mega-rich millionaire's playground of Monte Carlo'..."

Thus is history recorded.

DCN

#46 Joris Bergsma

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 10:10

Dear Doug,

May I come back on your line "éh Amilc...eh Amilcar , what never heard of " . You should realise that Amilcar was very popular in France in those days and sold between 1929 and 1939 something like 40.000 units....(most of those in the mid to late twenties). While Bugatti had more fame Amilcar as well was very succesfull in racing. Fact is that Isadora gave nicknames to her friends/lovers. And this one she gave the name Buggatti (yes the typo in Bugatti is correct, that was how she spelled his nickname). So it were probably not the tabloid who came up with Bugatti but Isadora herself who was probbaly not very familiar with French carmakes and used the one and only name of a sportscar she knew.

all the best,

Joris PreWarCar.com

#47 condor

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 10:47

Reading this thread...then doing a google search on 'Isadora Duncan death' and reading most of the info displayed....the forensic report etc.

I think the conclusion provided by
http://www.bugatti-c...ss/myth2_1.html
seems the most logical :)


Real Bugatti enthusiasts even went as far as to doubt the marque of the car involved – perhaps it was an Amilcar and not a Bugatti after all. Of course, it was a Bugatti. And this was no coincidence for two reasons. Firstly, only the cult object "Bugatti" was capable of enticing Isadora. Secondly, if ever there was a car that could turn a scarf into a deadly weapon it was the racing and road car, the 35/37 series Bugatti.

#48 Joris Bergsma

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 11:28

Dear Condor,

The German website is extremely bad informed. For example: the evidence for the car being an Amilcar has between published by Auto Motor und Sport in the mid eighties.

Second: from all reports is clear that the car drove no more than 10 metres.

Third: which type 35 / 37 Bugatti had staggered seats like the car in which Isadora died?

Then, ANY car is capapble killing the owner of a scarf when the end is catched bij the spokes of a wheel. Try at yourself with a scarf and the chepest Black @ Decker hobby drilling machine...

About the forensic report. I have emailed with this German man and he even never had heard of the Amilcar / Bugatti question.

regards,

Joris

#49 condor

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 14:21

Originally posted by Joris Bergsma


About the forensic report. I have emailed with this German man and he even never had heard of the Amilcar / Bugatti question.


Joris :) I appreciate you've spent ages trying to get concrete proof of which car it was

I thought that the forensic report had to be factual .....

Abstract
Accidental Strangulation Caused by a Vehicle: The Death of Isadora Duncan
Isadora Duncan, one of the world´s most famous dancers, died on 14. September 1927 by accidental strangulation caused by a vehicle. Sitting on the front passenger´s seat, Duncan´s scarf came into the the spokes of the rear wheel of a Bugatti. The driver, Duncan´s friend Ivan Falchetto could not see Duncan while looking forward but immediatly stopped immediately after 20 m. Duncan died at the scene. In the hospital, fractures of the nose, the spinal column and the larynx were oberved; furthermore, cartids were torn. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the accident in forensic literature.

So you e.mailed him...and he didn't know ?
Hmmmm.....this is intrigueing....

#50 Joris Bergsma

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 14:47

Hi Condor,

Well he had read a bunch of literature (which I have now as well) which all claimed Bugatti. And even scientist can't check everything they write down...

By the way the car had wings. How many T 35/37 cars had this equipment?

regards,

Joris