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S.E.F.A.C. once again


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#1 Leif Snellman

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 09:36

Greetings from Richard Line, the S.E.F.A.C. owner.
True to form (1935) the S.E.F.A.C. did not made its 2003 deadline ;) but all the parts to make a engine are ready (May 2003 ) and it should be very close to completion now. I he gets the engine done in January he may have her finished and running before the end of 2004.
Richard also make the following interesting notes:

"I met Jean Le Page De Dommartin before he died and he relayed as much as he could remember of the car when it was his and he called it the Dommartin, he was also a long time friend of Petit and discussed the car with Petit during the build (back in the 30s). A friend of mine tried to talk to Petit about the SEFAC a few years before he died but he was reluctant to discuss it. I expect it was still a disappointment to him. Today we can look at what he did and know what the mistakes were, and it is easy to correct them without changing anything fundamentally. Mostly the problems were oil delivery, simple to correct today without the pressure to be at a race by a certain date. In those days a years delay in having the engine ready would make you a year behind the well funded opposition. Petit stood no chance in 34. It's amazing that it made 39 laps in 1939 running an engine that was five years out of date with no real budget. Jean said of his old friend that he was stubborn and would not listen to any ones advice where the SEFAC was concerned. He must have been convinced the design could be made to work, why would he still be prepared to work with it from 33 to 48 ?"


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#2 Steve L

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 11:54

Thanks for sharing the photos and information about the S.E.F.A.C.

I was wondering what happened to the car between 1948 and when Richard Line got hold of it?

Also, is there any chance of seeing some pictures of the chassis :) ?

#3 robert dick

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 15:32

It 's not surprising, since Émile Petit was responsible for the design, that in principle the SEFAC engine was a combination of two evolved 1.1-litre Salmsons as used in the twenties, placed side by side, and blown up by a rather large Roots blower.
According to Serge Bellu, the cylinder dimensions were 70/90 mm. The gearbox was an electro-magnetic Cotal. The frame had a wheelbase of 270 cm and a track of 128.
Anxious to see photos of the frame.

#4 Richard Line

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 17:23

The gearbox was a specially built Cotal box for the Dommartin which was about the only thing that Jean insisted on and got his own way, during the revamp for the Dommartin engine company project, up untill that time it was a Wilson pre selecter or derivative of. I have the Cotal box under the bench at home. It is unfortunatly unusable as Facil Vega wealded the input and output shafts together when they had the car on loan :evil: . I have another servisable unit under the bench that I bought before I found out that the box was originally a Wilson derivative. I intend to use the ENV 145 box that I have rebulit for it as this is more in keeping with originality. I would attach some pictures to this message if I knew how, so will send some to Leif who obviously knows his way round this problem

#5 dretceterini

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 18:19

Richard:

I, for one, would like to thank you for your time, effort and expense in saving a car that few know about, much less care about. It will be great to see the car on the tyrack, even if it doesn't turn out to be competitive with other cars of the period. :clap:

#6 VDP

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 19:15

what a strange way for Emile Petit and Albert Lory top engineers in the twenties and a sad end SEFAC For one and CTA Arsenal for the other.
A little question the REAL weight of the SEFAC ?

Robert

#7 GIGLEUX

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 20:04

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For Steve and Robert to help them awaiting pictures of the frame!

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#8 Leif Snellman

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 20:48

Originally posted by Steve L
I was wondering what happened to the car between 1948 and when Richard Line got hold of it?
Also, is there any chance of seeing some pictures of the chassis :) ?

Answer from Richard Line:
"I have some info somewhere about a chap called Laland who advertised her for sale in the 60s, and I bought her from an auction that was selling her on the behalf of an Irish motor museum. I would love to know if there really is a sister car, that would be great news. (Refering to the TNF SEFAC-Maserati discussion). Period pictures are what I need.
Regards Richard"


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#9 Michael Müller

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 21:01

The only similarity with the chassis of the Sommer Maserati Special may be some nuts and bolts, but absolutely nothing more...

#10 Michael Müller

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 21:05

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Comes from McRonald's archive (he's also member here at TNF)

#11 Steve L

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 21:11

A big thanks to Richard, Leif, GIGLEUX and Michael for posting all this great information on such a little-known and fascinating car!

I hope the forum will help turn up some new details to assist Richard in his rebuild and in tracing the full history of the S.E.F.A.C.

I look forward to following this thread closely :) !

#12 Jonas

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 21:19

On the picture showing the engine internals spread out on the floor it looks as though the crankshafts have their cranks/throws a bit offset from the 0 and 180 degrees (sorry, don't know the exact name in english..) normally seen in a straight four cylinder engine. What is the thought behind this? I guess it's a special arrangement owing to the fact that there are two engines mounted together, but I still can't see that this would be a good solution..

#13 Richard Line

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 21:35

Hi VDP, The weight was quoted as 931 kilos in 1938, rather embarasing for a car that was originally :confused: built for the 750 kilo formula. While bored one saturday I draged out the fuel tank, and put it on the scales. It was a little over 35 kilos dry. Still bored I filled it with 192 Lt of water. no wonder it split in practice.

#14 Michael Müller

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Posted 09 December 2003 - 21:47

Well, the 750 kg formula in French events probably was only applicable for non-French entries... :cool:
The SEFAC should start at Montlhery 1935, the same event where the works Bugatti of Benoist was equipped with the large 4.9 litre engine, which surely lifted the car above the 800 kgs...!
The SEFAC entry was finally withdrawn for - ...hmm, let's say "technical reasons", but not due to overweight. There's a fairly good chance that the weighting card of the SEFAC has been filled in already before the car arrived with 749.5 kgs...

#15 GIGLEUX

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 00:01

As far as I know: after WW2, the SEFAC was still the property of Emile Petit. I found three lines in
'"L'Equipe", the french sports newspaper, in 1946, announcing the car had been sold to Roccati who was a racing car trader in Paris for 250000 francs; Roccati intented to enter the car no less than at Indy! In fact it was only a rumour and Petit sold the car to Jean de Dommartin. It was to be entered in F1 races (1500 sc 4500 us) so the superchargers were removed and two carbs fitted in place; by the same time the bore was increased to 80 mm and cubic capacity to 3600 cc. A new body was realized by Née a coachbuilder from Levallois (Paris suburb). The tests were made by Yves Giraud-Cabantous and first outing of the "new" car was at the practise sessions of the GP du Congrès technique, a race organized at Montlhéry in the late days of october 1947. It was only a show. The Dommartin EP88 was registred 6829 RQ. In april 1948 and always with Giraud-Cabantous, a second test was made at Montlhéry and after that an entry was asked for the 1948 ACF GP at Rheims for the 18 th of july. Preliminary tests were made at Rheims on 24 th of june conjointly with the CTA-Arsenal team. The car was driven now by Pierre Meyrat and Alexandre Constantin but lubrication matters occured, not something new with the SEFAC,and the entry was
cancelled. Jean de Dommartin had lost trust in the car and stopped the adventure though Petit wanted to transformed it in a 1500cc supercharged, certainly by removing one engine. The car was kept in Dommartin's estate. In 1959 Dommartin borrowed one of the car's engine to Facel
who were searching an unit for their future Facellia; the engine was put on the bench without any precaution with the result we know. During the seventies the Dommartin was on show at the Châ-
tellerault motor museum; in the eighties, after an exhibit at Rétromobile, Dommartin sold it to Henri Lalanne an important old cars trader and it was bought by the Dublin's museum. In 1994 Richard
bought it in an auction for 6567,19 sterling pounds if what was published at the time was correct.

#16 Richard Line

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 12:24

Has any one got ant pictures of the SEFAC 1933 to 39. I need pictures showing bodywork detail as I intend to start on the new body as soon as i have the new engines installed. Unfortunatly I loaned some of what I had to a Magazine and were never returned, or replaced with others from their Rkive ): I have all the pictures and illustrations above this message already. I know there are alot more out there as Jean Dommartin was conned out of what he had by a Journalist who told him he was working for me. This chap also tried to sell me non existant cylinder heads :down:

#17 Michael Müller

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 12:32

2 more, but both are well known I believe. Top another one of Lehoux 1935 at Montlhery, below Tremoulet at Pau 1939.

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#18 Richard Line

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 12:37

Q, Where did you find these wonderful pics :)

#19 Michael Müller

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 12:43

On my harddisk...
Accumulated over the years, partly own scans from books, partly in exchange with friends resp. other TNF members, partly published here in TNF or other fora, or found somewhere in the internet. However, due to the large number filed electronically there's normally not enough time to make notes about the original sources. Not really professionally, I know, but better than nothing at all.

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#20 uechtel

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 13:09

Michael, the second one was a question in one of the 8W games

And I have yet another one:

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from Halwart Schrader: "Mercedes Silberpfeile". Caption says it were taken on testruns around 1938.

#21 McRonalds

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 13:16

Here comes the missing link -> the SEFAC during practice for the GP at Reims 1938, driver Eugene Chaboud:

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#22 McRonalds

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 13:37

And finally the last ride of the SEFAC at Pau 1939:

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#23 Steve L

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 14:02

Richard, how complete was the S.E.F.A.C when you bought it?

Do the original drawings still exist to help you make new parts?

#24 Richard Line

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 14:26

I am realy pleased to see these fantastic pictures, I am getting excited about getting back to work on the SEFAC as it's more than two years since I rebuilt the chassis, and other Projects have filled in the time. I particulary like oddball cars ( BRM P207 etc) that nobody else will like.
She came with the Dommartin body and one engine. So it was a big suprise when the phone started ringing and people started saying it was a car called the SEFAC and there was suposed to be anothe engine where the large lump of angle iron was. I have loads of pictures of her from when I got her and from when I took her apart.
I found a chap in France who aquired Petits drawings, and we found a simple outline drawing with some measurements on it which were correct. We ended up having to do drawings for everything.

#25 Steve L

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 18:18

Here's another nice picture!

http://www.members.a...nlinesuk/SEFAC2

#26 dretceterini

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 18:30

Simply wonderful! :clap: :clap: :clap:

#27 Richard Line

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 19:48

Hi Steve, Good picture, this is the shape front that floats my boat. :D The chap standing is I think BeBe and I think the chap in the beret is Petit. BeBe was alive untill a few years ago running a second hand bike spares business from a basement in Paris or so i have been told. More surprising ly a friend of the chap who was looking for him lived in an apartment above and never new it :( . Small world

#28 GIGLEUX

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 20:43

Michael, McRonalds, Markus: the German division is on the road. Now stop and give the place to a poor little Frenchie, it's a French car after all!!!

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ACF 1935 the SEFAC at the "pesage"

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ACF 1935 Lehoux at the wheel

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Always ACF 1935

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Front view of the car with its second body which was realized in 1937 for the Million

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Always in 1937 looking

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ACF 1938

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ACF 1938

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ACF 1938

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ACF 1938 a view of the cockpit

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ACF 1938 Chaboud at the wheel

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Montlhéry 1994 Richard and Karen Line with he beast!

#29 VDP

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 20:47

:clap: :clap: :rotfl:

Very nice pictures and never seen before

Robert

#30 Doug Nye

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 20:47

Coo! What a magnificent project. You do realise, Richard, that you are completely bats? REspect!!!

:up:

DCN

#31 rdrcr

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 20:54

Richard,

Welcome to TNF! What a marvelous project - and the very best of luck with it.

I have a question about your methodology of restoration; which iteration are you planning to fabricate? If you have mentioned it, forgive my asking again... You have stated which is you favorite body style - and I concur - but I was just wondering what version you are leaning towards.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. It is a very race piece indeed.

#32 rdrcr

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 20:57

http://www.members.a...nlinesuk/SEFAC2

An awesome amount of material on this car for its rarity - thanks to all for posting these photos...

#33 Vitesse2

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 23:07

Well that increases the number of pictures I've seen of the SEFAC/Dommartin by several hundred per cent! Marvellous stuff - thanks all.

Isn't it amazing how failure is so fascinating ....

#34 Richard Line

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 00:25

Hi Jean -Maurice, Thank you for sharing more of your hard drive with me. I think on the fifth picture down that it is Jean Dommartin looking over Bebe's shoulder. On the last picture Karen is still as beautiful as ever however I am quite a few kilos larger these days. :

#35 Richard Line

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 00:35

Hi RDRCR, It's the 1938/9 incarnation that I have in mind. It just looks right to me.

#36 rdrcr

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 00:48

Thanks ~

There has been much discussion here in the past about the restorations of racing cars...

As you are well aware, individual cars have undergone one, two or more major changes to their designs and makeup. Some are of the opinion that the original configuration would be the "most authentic" others would chose the iteration that had the most success or prominence, still others go for which design was the most appealing esthetically.

I take these matters on a case by case basis... Did you vacillate much over your decision or was it a "no brainer"? Being that the car looked very streamlined and sleek in the 38/39 era?

#37 uechtel

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 08:51

Great pictures!

Up to now I had no idea what the Dommartin looked like.

#38 Richard Line

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 09:36

Hi rdrcr, Hmm, I would like to tell you that a lot of deep thought went into it, however the truth is simply that the first picture I saw was the 38 nose. It was quite a while before I saw the version with the standard type grill. It's possible that had I seen the original version first I would choose that.
I have had people tell me in the nicest possible way that I must stick with the original look or possibly the world will come to an end. I have also had an unpleasant letter from a chap in France stating that I must keep the car as the Dommartin. My reply was to send him a paying in slip for my bank account :p . I had a phone call late one night from a Director of Renault, the point of the call was to say that they would like to get involved in the rebuild. The directors name was De Dommartin, no points for guessing his preference, I still get a card at Christmass from his wife.
Happily I am not a profesional restorer so dont have to agonisie over my decisions, truth is I make Motoring helmets and Flying jackets, tinkering with old racers is just for fun. I supose what I am realy saying is that it was a no brainer. I suspect the purist experts will be horified. I have spare paying in slips for anyone who feels stongly enough on the subject ;)

#39 VDP

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 10:40

Restoring a car or racing car is always difficult, if it was a good soldier there are alterations for improvement ??
Which version ? It s always a case of money ? What do we prefer a static car without internal components of a restored car with love ?
I m owner of a special Austin Healey 100 BN 2 with jaguar engine mod done in 1960 should I change it to a std spec 4 cyl without history ?

Robert

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#40 quintin cloud

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 11:20

Great pictures! Guys

:clap: :up: :smoking:

#41 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 12:04

Originally posted by VDP
Restoring a car or racing car is always difficult, if it was a good soldier there are alterations for improvement ??
Which version ? It s always a case of money ? What do we prefer a static car without internal components of a restored car with love ?
I m owner of a special Austin Healey 100 BN 2 with jaguar engine mod done in 1960 should I change it to a std spec 4 cyl without history ?

Robert


Change it back? ABSOLUTELY NOT! If the Jaguar engine was fitted as long ago as 1960 keep it in and and you will find the car has greater value that way than as just another standard-spec Healey. I bet it goes a darned sight better too - though I suspect it understeers?

DCN

#42 VDP

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 12:12

Thanks Doug
but I would only says that any car got it s own story depending the owner we are here for preserving them for the next generation

Robert

#43 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 12:41

Pardon??? :confused:

#44 Richard Line

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 14:56

I am not sure the next generation are all that interested in the old stuff, sub 60s and less so the 30s. Where I live its white Novas with exaust systems that look like they nicked of the Napier Railton :lol:

#45 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 15:01

Originally posted by Richard Line
Where I live its white Novas with exaust systems that look like they nicked of the Napier Railton :lol:

.... and sound systems so loud the driver can't hear the engine :rolleyes:

#46 rdrcr

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 15:49

Originally posted by Richard Line
I am not sure the next generation are all that interested in the old stuff, sub 60s and less so the 30s. Where I live its white Novas with exhaust systems that look like they nicked of the Napier Railton :lol:


Nor am I... When I was doing restorations, the 30's cars were the all the rage and the Sports and Racing cars of the 50's and 60's were becoming a huge hit - prices skyrocketing well past the moon.

Then I saw the emergence of the muscle car and special interest genre of cars coming to the fore. It's all good, but I wonder if there are any souls interested in the glorious past. In those years (the 80's) I also witnessed the demise in stature and value, the brass era cars (the 20's mostly) and some are very cool, the Stutz, Bugatti, Packards of course, etc. etc.

In my reemergence into the hobby / industry, I have discovered an alarming thing… That the coveted cars from the 30’s, the V16 Cadillacs, Packard 12’s etc., some Mercedes and other European marques have not kept their value apprecation rates and in some cases, have even fallen. (we were seeing 15% per year, 20 years ago in these cars) The truly rare and custom bodied cars are still way up there of course, but no longer is that valuation across the board. Yet, the over-restored ‘57 Chevy FI’s fetch 125k+.

What I think is happening is, the consumer is a younger set and that just associate this bit of luxury or self-indulgence with cars of their childhood. Like those collectors before them.

The very wealthy collectors - those who value all sorts of cars no matter what the era, will still be the biggest players – that hasn’t changed. They will keep those cars alive in their collections... But the hobbiest, the fellow that might have 1 or 2 cars has changed the face of collecting by and large. Not that this is a bad thing, supply and demand have always been a part of the hobby – but it is disturbing to some extent that the rolling art of the 30’s with amazing engineering for the day, is going the way of the cars of the 20’s.

Excuse the OT line of this post, but I thought it relevant.

I applaud your decision - that it was the iteration that you saw first, is of little consequence. I also like your assertion of others opinions on the matter… Don’t like it? Write a check…

Regards ~

#47 Richard Line

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Posted 14 December 2003 - 17:31

Hi, Thank you to all who have contributed to this thread, it is encouraging to find that so many people are interested enough in the old girl to find time to respond, and even post pictures. For this I am very gratefull.
Cheers Richard :clap:

#48 dretceterini

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Posted 15 December 2003 - 04:21

Richard:

and we are grateful for you spending the time, energy and finances to restore a car that so few know about, much less, care about :clap:

#49 Doug Nye

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Posted 15 December 2003 - 12:52

I tried to find the Sommer SEFAC chassis contemporary mention yesterday, trawling through 1933-34-35 magazines. Zippo. Very frustrating because I clearly recall finding the reference originally. In February 1934 mention was made in 'Motor Sport' of Sommer being set to drive "a new 2.8-litre 8cyl French car" - and then Sommer and Andre Parant were described as being "tipped" to drive the new SEFAC which was to have an 8-cylinder engine arranged as two 4-cyls in parallel, 68mm x 90mm bore and stroke, displacing 2600cc and predicted to develop some 240bhp at 6,500rpm. The prime designer remained anonymous at that time - later revealed to be Emil Petit - but his assistant was named as Simon Brault, formerly of Lombard. The Aubier-Luval company was named a supplier of "special steels" used in construction of the new car while Rolls-Royce developed Hiduminium RR alloy material was being supplied by the Debard concern.

Here's a typical news page from July 1935 which might raise discussion - and not only of the SEFAC...

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...and the contemporary Franc or Lire were worth how much in Sterling or US Dollars?????

DCN

#50 alessandro silva

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Posted 15 December 2003 - 14:05

Referring to 1999. 1 lira of 1999=1682 liras of 1934 which makes 1,010,882,000 1999 liras for Varzi which makes around 320,000 GPB. Of prize money only.