Editor: Jaap Horst
While at the the Musée National de l'Automobile - collection Schlumpf, during the last Bugatti Festival September 2004, I invited Michel Hanser, to meet me there. Michel lives in Mulhouse (Lucky him!) and even worked at the museum in the past, for Mr. Schlumpf himself. Michel is a fellow member of the BAA, so we talked about the Bugatti Airplane mostly, but he told some interesting stories as well, like from the time the museum staff Jacked a 70´s Porsche LeMans type car, and broke the chassis: The car was not build to be jacked on one point only...
But of course, as the title says, the Royale T41, and then especially the Park Ward bodied car chassis 41.131 was subject of one small anecdote. I never heard anybody about this before, therefore I will tell it here. On the opening picture of this article, you can see the driver´s side of the Park Ward, where 3 distinctive holes can be found. The function of these holes was simply, to mount an accessory often used in those days.
Sorry, wrong side, no light can be seen! Nice picture though!
Yes, this is the picture (click it for an enlargement!), where the search light is clearly visible. The light is easily accessible through the open window, to be handled by the chauffeur. (The one from the photo above, though he seems to be sitting on the passenger seat!) It seems that for mounting such a light, a couple of holes would be necessary, let´s say 3.... The close - up makes it all more easily visible. Interestingly, when the limousine left Park Ward, the search light was not there yet, as period pictures show (see Paul Kestler´s book, where the photo with search light also comes from). The first owner, Captain Foster had the search light, as well as a 3rd light on the front, fitted after delivery of the car.
Now, when was the searchlight removed from the Royale, leaving three ugly holes behind? Was this while the car was in the Shakespeare collection? Or even before? The answer is exceedingly simple: Mr. Schlumpf didn´t like the search light on the Royale, so he had it removed, and it was later mounted on a Hispano Suiza J12 Berline from 1933, chassis 14021. The car can be seen below (click it for an enlargement!).
Interestingly, and maybe typical for Schlumpf, the Hispano has sliding side windows, with the moveable window sliding to the front. (Examine the picture closely!) With the window open, it is impossible for a normal man (or female, the light is on the passenger´s side!) to reach!
Remains one mistery: The Park Ward now has a rear view mirror, which it originally had not, see the same pictures. From which car did Mr. Schlumpf get the mirror, was it from the Hispano????
One last view at the misterious (not so) holes in the Royale´s side.