O'Rourke Coachtrimmers & Supplies

1927 Amilcar C6.

Interior RestorationsAlexander PinkComment

We have recently been entrusted with fabricating and trimming the interior of this wonderful 1927 Amilcar C6.  New seats were custom made to the car and owner with new seat foams to maximise comfort. We then trimmed the seats to the customer's specification. The next stage of the project involved fabricating knee rests to protect the driver and passenger from the bodywork that protruded into the cockpit. The final stage was to create a headlight cover to protect the single lamp from stone chips when not in use. 

It was an incredible project to be involved with, this car is truly stunning with jewellery level details everywhere you look.

The history of this car has been well-documented; The first of six Amilcar C6’s brought into Britain for sale by the sole concessionaire, Vernon Balls, it appears as a September import in 1927. A photograph was taken of it near Balls’ office and used in his advertisement, when he tried – without success - to market it as a sports-car by adding various items for road use, including an ugly windscreen, a spot-lamp, a hood and an electric starter, none of which had anything to do with the factory.

Early in 1928 it was bought by a syndicate of Cambridge students and within three or four months the hood, spot-lamp and windscreen had disappeared. Driven by A.S. Llewellyn, Bob Porter and Brian Twist the car had considerable success at various hill-climbs and race meetings.

After the students had disposed of the car in 1931 it was raced briefly and unsuccessfully by Maurice Falkner, who damaged the engine and sold the car via Balls “for spares” to an engineer well-known in Amilcar circles, the Russian E. P. Zerekidze. He carried out a number of modifications at his company in Harrow, Z. N. Motors. The differential was removed and the engine rebuilt: longer rear springs were fitted to increase the wheel-base by 7”, and he made various special parts for the engine. He also lightened the chassis radically, and on the engine even machined off the Amilcar logo on the camshaft-covers. A photograph dated 1933 shows the rolling chassis in this form with the second of Zere’s three versions of remote gear-change. Zere is said to have hidden the dismantled car in his attic in Harrow, perhaps to escape the attentions of prowling government scrap-metal collectors.

At that time most of the body disappeared, presumably it was too bulky to hide inside his house with the rest of the car, which in 1949 was offered for sale and bought by the TNC syndicate, John Tozer, Peter Tozer, Ron Narramore and Rex Clutton.

What little remained of the body was scrapped and replaced with a basic light-alloy frame and shell, and various modifications made to the engine to increase its competitiveness. With Tozer’s careful race-preparation the car became extremely successful in competition.

In 1962 11014 was sold to the Lyndhurst brothers, passing through the hands of several owners before being acquired by the present owner in 2010. By that time comprehensive attention was needed to most of the engine, drive-train and chassis.

Over time old racing cars are “up-dated” to maintain their competitiveness: in restoration the dilemma is to what form they should be restored.  

In this case the decision was taken to return the car to original factory specification wherever possible while accepting irreversible changes. Zerekidze’s lightening-work on the chassis cannot be un-done, but otherwise the car has been brought back to factory-specification while including Ball’s 1927 additions and one or two noteworthy items fitted in 1933 and 1950.

After restoration of the rolling chassis a brand new replica body was built, but then an original one from a C6 found in Berlin in 1958 became available. Its owner had been interested primarily in performance, and discarded the steel body in favour of a light-alloy copy.

The 90-year old original body was in a bad way and had perhaps been in a fire: nonetheless, with much work, skill and time it was restored to a high standard and fitted to the chassis, returning this historic racing car to correct and original specification, while incorporating a few important additions fitted during its life.

This significant racing car has returned to life after seven years of painstaking restoration and is now correctly clothed in original Amilcar C6 coachwork. 

The car has recently been displayed at the Royal Concours at Hampton Court Palace.

Finally we would like to thank the owner for providing the story of the car's history and the period photographs and Thornley Kelham for recommending us to undertake the work.