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Brno 1934 Photo - Misidentified by GP Library?


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#1 Paul Taylor

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 05:12

This photo comes with a fanciful description:

 

"Motor racing is dangerous. As a kid I avidly followed the stylish Prince Bira’s racing exploits. His cars were entered by his cousin Prince Chula whose Swiss-Russian PA took this frightening photograph. His name was Alexander Shura-Rahm and here during practice at the Brno circuit in Czechoslovakia an inexperienced local driver named Josef Brazdil had just crashed his brand-new Maserati 6C-34. I’m afraid the poor chap died…"

 

Shura37+12c0060-2.jpg?format=1000w&conte

 

 

 

However, this photo is meant to be Brazdil's crash and is supposedly from the "Archiv Automotoklubu Masarykův okruh". I don't really know what a Maserati 6C-34 looks like from underneath, but the photo below looks a bit more like one. I'm not sure at all about the photo above, but it looks close to something like a Bugatti Type 35 or something else entirely.

 

TR5e2ac8_0028.jpg



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#2 Tim Murray

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 05:35

Here’s an earlier thread on Brázdil’s crash, plus his entry in Motorsport Memorial. No mention in either of the car catching fire, so it’s likely the first photo isn’t Brázdil’s car:

Apropos absolutely nothing

http://www.motorspor...hp?db=ct&n=1059

#3 Vitesse2

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 07:06

As Bira didn't start racing until 1935 - and never ventured as far as Brno until 1937 - I don't see any real reason for Shura to have been there in 1934. There were some locally-owned Bugattis in the 1937 voiturette race, at least two of which seem to have retired, although the only known accident seems to be Zdenek Pohl rolling his MG K3.



#4 john medley

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 08:37

Duke of Grafton's fatal accident Bugatti T59 ?



#5 Allan Lupton

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 08:38

The crashed car's curved front axle is not like a Maserati which I believe had a straight axle with upswept ends. Like this:

14766070442_a0dfee04da_b.jpg



#6 Paul Taylor

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 09:06

I'm almost certain now that it is Paul Pietsch's practice crash at Brno in 1937. The spectators seem to be helping to pull the car off the road and down the bank. In which case it is a 6C-34 after all.

 

http://the-fastlane....php?editid1=722

 

paul3a.jpg



#7 Jhdrussell

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 11:37

 

However, this photo is meant to be Brazdil's crash and is supposedly from the "Archiv Automotoklubu Masarykův okruh". I don't really know what a Maserati 6C-34 looks like from underneath, but the photo below looks a bit more like one. I'm not sure at all about the photo above, but it looks close to something like a Bugatti Type 35 or something else entirely.

 

 The GP Library's caption is correct.

It IS Brazdil''s car.

 

EDIT _ I now agree with Paul that the GPL photo is misidentified.


Edited by Jhdrussell, 19 August 2019 - 06:23.


#8 Paul Taylor

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 03:27

Pietsch's 1937 crash. Absolutely certain it's the same one.

 

 

img15619-1.jpg

 

36504625-1-x-1.jpg

 

pietsch1937czech2.JPG

paul3a.jpg
pietsch1937.JPG
pietsch1937-3.JPG
1937pietsch.jpg


Edited by Paul Taylor, 19 August 2019 - 03:29.


#9 Tim Murray

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 05:04

In the ‘mystery’ photo the r/h chassis rail and the steering arm running alongside it are both severely bent, probably indicating impact with a tree or other solid object. In the Pietsch photos both of these items appear relatively undamaged.

#10 Paul Taylor

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 07:50

In the ‘mystery’ photo the r/h chassis rail and the steering arm running alongside it are both severely bent, probably indicating impact with a tree or other solid object. In the Pietsch photos both of these items appear relatively undamaged.

 

Almost all of that damage is immediately behind the front wheel so would be concealed in my photos. Similarly with the age of the photograph, the shadows/highlights have been flattened so it is harder to tell if the chassis is bent out of shape.

 

Anyway, please observe the similarities between the GPL photo and my photo in Post #6. E.g.:-

 

- The bend in the engine cover.
- The missing rear axle, but intact front end.
- The fire at the rear end
- The topography of the land
- The colour of the vehicle
 
The final piece of the puzzle is in this picture:
 
1937pietsch.jpg
 
It's very small, but in the centre of the image to the left of the wreck is a tree with a very light trunk, perhaps actually painted white. The same tree can be seen far right in the GPL photo.
 
It seems that, since Pietsch's car was in the middle of the road upside down and on fire, the "marshals" decided to drag it down the earth bank and off the track. Add these facts to the knowledge that Shura Ram had yet to form his relationship with B. Bira and Bira wasn't racing in 1934, it seems less likely that he was there.


#11 Doug Nye

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 20:37

Fair cop - we evidently put two and two together, unchecked...and made 22...   :blush:

 

(We do get rather more of them correct, however...)

 

DCN



#12 Paul Taylor

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 10:12

Fair cop - we evidently put two and two together, unchecked...and made 22...   :blush:

 

(We do get rather more of them correct, however...)

 

DCN

 

 

Of course. We are more likely to question ourselves rather than the archive, but we had to confirm for definite. Thanks for accepting our findings though.

 

 

----

 

Anyway, myself and some 'friends' have been hunting through Czech and Slovak newspaper archives. We found another photo of the Brazdil wreck:

 

34Brazdil-CzechNP.jpg

 

 

This was from the Prague newspaper "Lidové noviny", dated 29.09.1934. 

 

There are many over-exaggerated descriptions of the crash and it seems that the (frankly - crazy) stories about Brazdil committing suicide to avoid jail for failing to pay the balance on his new Maserati were wide of the mark.

 

Yes, it seems he was arrested for something relating to that, but according to a Slovak newspaper, there was an appeal and the arrest warrant was dropped before the practice session. Matter cleared.

 

The Czech newspapers seemingly started all those suicide rumours (while also blaming his astrological signs for being in the wrong part of the sky). Another Czech newspaper said the tyre punctured, the car flew four metres into the air, rolled end over end and split into two pieces. Well, this IS the wreck, all four tyres look inflated and the car is dented but intact. So in terms of the facts, I would rely more on the Slovak reports, which say he was inexperienced, the Maserati was unwieldy and hard to control under power and he therefore made an error which sent him off the road.

 

All findings will end up on MMorg and in the CPdB later.



#13 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 14:47

"MMorg" and "CPdeB"    :confused:



#14 Vitesse2

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 14:52

"MMorg" and "CPdeB"    :confused:

Motorsport Memorial and the Crash Photos Database



#15 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 19:57

Aaaaahhh - thank you...  I was mystified...

 

DCN



#16 GMiranda

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 21:10

Of course. We are more likely to question ourselves rather than the archive, but we had to confirm for definite. Thanks for accepting our findings though.

 

 

----

 

Anyway, myself and some 'friends' have been hunting through Czech and Slovak newspaper archives. We found another photo of the Brazdil wreck:

 

34Brazdil-CzechNP.jpg

 

 

This was from the Prague newspaper "Lidové noviny", dated 29.09.1934. 

 

There are many over-exaggerated descriptions of the crash and it seems that the (frankly - crazy) stories about Brazdil committing suicide to avoid jail for failing to pay the balance on his new Maserati were wide of the mark.

 

Yes, it seems he was arrested for something relating to that, but according to a Slovak newspaper, there was an appeal and the arrest warrant was dropped before the practice session. Matter cleared.

 

The Czech newspapers seemingly started all those suicide rumours (while also blaming his astrological signs for being in the wrong part of the sky). Another Czech newspaper said the tyre punctured, the car flew four metres into the air, rolled end over end and split into two pieces. Well, this IS the wreck, all four tyres look inflated and the car is dented but intact. So in terms of the facts, I would rely more on the Slovak reports, which say he was inexperienced, the Maserati was unwieldy and hard to control under power and he therefore made an error which sent him off the road.

 

All findings will end up on MMorg and in the CPdB later.

 

I also think that those suicide rumours were fabricated. It doesn't make proper sense to commit suicide using a Grand Prix Car and trying to crash it, even if there were almost none degree of safety back then, the idea could fail and, if he was to be arrested, could end with police guarding his hospital bed.

What I also read somewhere is that his supposed suicide attempt could be linked to a love triangle with another local driver, but I think the source isn't reliable.



#17 Odseybod

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 23:01

Coming to this quite late, I also suspect that the talk of Brazdil committing suicide is fairly fanciful (unless it can be shown that he had previously exhibited suicidal tendencies).

 

I'd imagine that he might well have decided a good performance in the race would have established him as a local hero, ensuring his early release from klink. He may even have familiarised himself with the course by driving round it in an ordinary road car. The excitement of getting his hands on the latest competition Maserati might have been enough for him to overlook that fact that he was approaching the fateful corner much faster than before, leading to the disaster.

 

Some decades later, a similar miscalculation claimed the life of the former Czech President Dubcek, after his chauffeur was caught out by the performance of the BMW 7 series that had just replaced the accustomed Tatra as State transport (though some maintain that a properly driven Tatra would have sailed around the slippery corner that tripped up the 'Bavarak').

 

 

 

 

 



#18 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 23:17

What a lovely anecdote!

Not having too many Tatras in Australia, such an expression is unlikely to be heard here...

#19 Odseybod

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 12:50

Without dragging this too far off-topic, Ray, there's a widely held belief that German officers of the occupying forces in WW2 were expressly forbidden to drive big Tatra saloons that had been 'liberated' from the locals, after a significant number had been killed at the wheel, caught out by the winning combination of a big rear-mounted V8 and swing-axle suspension. It was said to be the Czech Resistance's most effective anti-Nazi weapon ... 



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#20 Vitesse2

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 13:56

Without dragging this too far off-topic, Ray, there's a widely held belief that German officers of the occupying forces in WW2 were expressly forbidden to drive big Tatra saloons that had been 'liberated' from the locals, after a significant number had been killed at the wheel, caught out by the winning combination of a big rear-mounted V8 and swing-axle suspension. It was said to be the Czech Resistance's most effective anti-Nazi weapon ... 

Apparently a sensationalist inflation of a passage in 'Tatra: The Legacy of Hans Ledwinka' by Ivan Margolius & John G Henry.

 

The Czech Resistance's most effective anti-Nazi weapon was likely the Sten gun. Although there's also an argument in favour of the bomb which exploded inside Reinhard Heydrich's car.