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SNAPSHOT 71: Holiday Postcard

This week’s ‘snapshot’ has a holiday theme. For us, the fact that it must date from immediately prior to the outbreak of World War 2 in no way diminishes its interest. It is a commercially-produced view, looking across the harbour at Cannes on the Côte d’Azur. High summer; and somewhere around the middle of the day, the Mediterranean breeze plays with the foliage at the tops of the huge palm trees, and the distant steam yachts and other shipping are dressed overall, their flags and bunting extended with the wind.

Naturally, it is the cars casually caught in this shot that demand our attention. This image is less than half of the area of the complete photograph, and cropped from the left was a notice reading ‘Station de Taxi-Autos 8’. Prominent is a Unic taxi, its rear quarter open. Left-hand drive, it has steel artillery wheels and twin side-mounted spare wheels. Marchal headlights are fitted. This seems to be a c 1929 model, and the registration oddly is a Calvados issue of late 1933 to early 1934. The next taxi is a fine old Minerva, right-hand drive, and the radiator mascot can be seen: it is the expected head of the goddess of that name. Again, the registration is later – but a local one: Alpes Maritime, early 1936. The stylish tail is that of a V12 Lincoln Zephyr coupé, again locally registered (mid-1937). More distantly are (probably) a Renault Nerva and then, clearly, a Lancia Dilambda saloon.

On the move approaching the camera are an English-registered (CXF432, March 1936) Buick 90, the same type as that of which King Edward VIII (he was to abdicate in December of that year) and Mrs Simpson owned a matching pair, and, distantly, a Light Fifteen Citroën. Blurred and speeding along is a small sports car, its windscreen folded flat, its driver, perhaps a lady, crouching down low. Your contributor was aware of the need to call in the expertise of a fellow SAHB Member, who not only identified it as a Lancia Belna with a Pourtout sports body, this being the French-built version of the Aprilia, but also provided a fair amount of the above information, too.


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