This blog will expand on themes and topics first mentioned in my book, "The Automobile and American Life." I hope to comment on recent developments in the automobile industry, reviews of my readings on the history of the automobile, drafts of my new work, contributions from friends, descriptions of the museums and car shows I attend and anything else relevant. Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 , 2016, 2017, 2018, by the author.
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:
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
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 wheel.
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.