Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Car films I didn't know of: GENEVIEVE (1953)

a twin-cylinder 10/12 hp Darracq built in Paris in 1904.

To see an 8 minute film clip, go to:
This is the car that played the lead in the 1953 film ‘Genevieve’ set against
 the background of the London to Brighton run. In the film this 1904 Darracq
 is the hobby of Alan McKim, a barrister played by the actor John Gregson;
 an interesting detail is that Gregson does steer the car in the film, but 
couldn’t actually drive.
The owner of the Darracq at the time was the Englishman Norman Reeves.
 He had restored the car and named it ‘Annie’, but when the Darracq was 
selected to appear in the film, its director Henry Cornelius didn’t like the
 name and re-christened it ‘Genevieve’, after the patron saint of Paris,
 the city where the car was built. The film was a resounding success and 
in 1953 the car took part in the ‘real’ London to Brighton Run, attracting 
much interest along the way. The Dutch rally driver Maurice Gatsonides,
 who had won the Monte Carlo Rally earlier in the year, was behind the 
The Darracq itself was discovered among piles of junk on an estate in East 
London shortly after World War Two. There were fifteen car chassis, two
 of which were Darracqs. The Darracqs were purchased for £25 by Peter
 Venning, who built one car out of the two. He later found a two-seater
 body in a barn, but because he had just got married and had neither time 
nor money, he sold the car to Norman Reeves, who finished building the
 Darracq in its current configuration. Eventually Reeves got tired of all
 the publicity surrounding the Darracq and sold it to an Australian friend
 who exhibited the car in a museum for about 40 years. The car was
 acquired by the Louwman Museum in the 1990s and has since been a r
egular and popular participant in the London to Brighton Run.

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