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in the book The Le Mans 24 Hour Race by David Hudges Printed 1963.
the race record for 1935 LeMans
nr 2 Alfa Romeo 2,3 Dreyfus-Stoffel
nr 6 1,75 Alfa Romeo Desvignes-Don
Unfortunaly the is no pictures of the 1,75 alfa Romeo
 

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nr 6 1,75 Alfa Romeo Desvignes-Don
Unfortunaly the is no pictures of the 1,75 alfa Romeo
Actually, race number 21.

#21 – Guy Don (GB) – Jean Desvignes (F) – Alfa Romeo 6C – 6ème (2763,818 km à 115,154 km/h)

According to Marc C.'s research, "Guy Don" is a nickname for Guy Weisweiler





Source: Mustang66 and GuyAFWI on Autodiva forum
 

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Discussion Starter #24

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le Mans 1935

Inside the car is a badge that says (in English) that this car participated in the 1935 Le Mans race (driven by Don/Desvignes) and came in 5th overall but records found on the Internet indicate 6th overall and a class win in the 3-litre class. However, a badge that seems to stem from later date is no proof that this is actually true.
Dear members,

There is a new and great book called "24 Heures du Mans" with a total of 1500 pages of information and pictures of all the cars that did classify and didn't classify for the race from 1923 up and including 2010. It has been written by Moity, Teissedre and Bienvenu.
There is a picture of the Alfa Romeo 6C with a 1774 cc engine with startnumber 21. It confirms that this car was classified in 6th place overall, was driven by Guy Don and Jean Desvignes and did win the 1501 - 2000 cc class. I didn't include the picture because of copyright issues.

Ciao, Olaf
 

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Discussion Starter #26 (Edited)
Dear members,

There is a new and great book called "24 Heures du Mans" with a total of 1500 pages of information and pictures of all the cars that did classify and didn't classify for the race from 1923 up and including 2010. It has been written by Moity, Teissedre and Bienvenu.
There is a picture of the Alfa Romeo 6C with a 1774 cc engine with startnumber 21. It confirms that this car was classified in 6th place overall, was driven by Guy Don and Jean Desvignes and did win the 1501 - 2000 cc class. I didn't include the picture because of copyright issues.

Ciao, Olaf
Thanks for the info on the book, Olaf!

I noticed the embedded pictures (with links to the Autodiva forum) that gtv2000 included in his post #22 above no longer work, so I'm attaching them once more below. Is the picture in the book one of these two pictures?
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Thanks for the clarification, Olaf!
 

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Discussion Starter #29 (Edited)
So, here's my long-awaited update:

Anyone can see from the pictures posted in this thread that the car looks different during the Le Mans race than today. This raised a number of questions, such as: Was the car rebodied after the race? Was the car rebodied for the race? Is it the same car or two different cars? What did the car originally look like? To what appearance should it be restored?

That discovering and/or verifying the history of a car that was built more than 75 years ago would create some difficulties is no big surprise. There is no "go-to place." The books by Fusi and Cherrett reflect what was known 20-30 years ago. Their writing presumably benefited from the input of retired Alfa employees that were still alive then, but unfortunately this benefit no longer exists. The Archivio Storicho can't help with any information, as these cars were built just after the great depression when Alfa was coming out of a deep financial crisis where record keeping probably was not a top priority and, if such records existed, some of them got lost or were destroyed during WWII. So, research very much depends on the knowledge of, and favors by, automobile historians and people in the car collector community.

Because there have been some fakes, recreations and/or attempts to fabricate stories to enhance the value of some vehicles of this model, the responses seem to be quite guarded until the owner and/or restorer are taken seriously. As luck would have it, the owner of this car has a history of collecting rare cars, including some Alfa Romeos, is genuinely interested in discovering the actual history of the cars he owns. Furthermore, the restorers seem to have built quite a reputation for restoring cars to what I would call a "standard of originality" (including Miles Collier's 8C 2900 and several Lagondas shown at Pebble Beach) rather than glitzy over-the-top restorations. But even with these credentials, finding information is slow process.

Early appearance: So far, we can derive from photographic evidence that the car in 1933 and 1934 (before the 1935 Le Mans race) indeed had the same body it has today. The first break was finding a picture (a picture I don't have permission to show here) that indicates the car was on display at some point during the 27th "Salon de l'Automobile de Paris" (the Paris Motor Show, which according to this web page was held for 10 days from 05-Oct-1933 to 15-Oct-1933), where the car appears in the spot of the black-and-white 8C 2300 Touring spider shown on p. 714 of Simon Moore's "The Legendary 2.3" that mentions the Italian "RACI" magazine as the source of the picture source. In the picture I cannot show here, the Figoni 6C is shown far away in the background, from behind and partially occluded. We hope to find more pictures of the car at this event.

The next break came when a collector in California provided the first two pictures below that supposedly show the car in its original state. This collector had chased this car for about 30 years (although not quite as long as the current owner, who remembers the car from his childhood) and was quite disappointed to hear it had changed hands. Still, despite the disappointment, he shared these pictures with RX, which I find highly commendable. He doesn't remember when, where or how he obtained these pictures but I consider them a big break. Although hard to read, one of the pictures indicates that the car won the "Prix d'Honneur" (Prize of Honor) at the 1934 Concours d'Élégance in Nice and the "Grand Prix" (Grand Prize) at the 1934 Concours d'Élégance in Monte Carlo. We hope we'll be able to confirm these prizes, find a name(s) of the entrant(s) and more pictures of these events at some point in time (but we still have no idea when these event were held and/or who organized them -- so, any information or helpful hints for research would be greatly appreciated).

Another author, who is who is currently researching the Figoni archives, indicated just last week that he may have found some more information and pictures about this car's early history. All of us are eagerly awaiting the results.

Figoni 1 (700 wide).jpg

Figoni 2 (700 wide).jpg

Le Mans: With respect to the 1935 Le Mans racing history, there seem to be still many more questions than answers. The Internet Internet proved to be an invaluable research tool. The Autodiva thread "L'Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 au MANS - 1931-1935" (to which gtv2000 provided the first hint in his post above -- thanks, Patrick!) was a good start and led me to searching through digital copies of several French newspapers available online at the French National Library which consumed a lot of time but proved to be a treasure trove of information.

Entrants: The "Le Mans Register - 1935" makes a distinction between entrants (people or teams who registered the car for the race) and drivers. As entrants, it lists "Guy Don, GB" and "T H 'Tim' Rose-Richards, GB ?" but another list mentions only Rose-Richards as entrant. It appears Rose-Richards was a well-known racing driver (see here). I have not yet been able to figure out where this registrant information came from and/or what, if any, the connection between Guy Don and Rose-Richards might be.

The above-mentioned "Le Mans Register - 1935" lists 4 drivers, of which only 2 started:

* Guy Don, GB
* Jean Desvignes, F
* DNS Guy Weisweiller
* DNS Georges Vernes

Weisweiller and Vernes are mentioned in "L'Ouest Eclaire" of 09-Jun-1935 (a week before the race) as drivers of the Italian Alfa Romeo crew (equippe italienne "Alfa Romeo" (see this 2.2 MB PDF file) and look for the section "Automobilisme - Les 24 heures du Mans se disputeront les 15 et 16 Juin").

Then, on race day, 15-Jun-1935, "L'Ouest Eclaire" (as shown in the Autodiva thread) lists Guy Don and Jean Desvignes as drivers of car #21. The car is described as Alfa Romeo 1,774 cmc, with an expected minimum distance of 2,450 kms (there is also a number 449 mentioned which I'm not sure what it pertains to but the second page mentions that the cars' minimum distance was adjusted according to displacement and whether a blower was present). I learned recently that L'Ouest Eclair had multiple, regional versions for the same day (about 20 versions, the one shown on Autodiva probably pertaining to the "Arrondissement Le Mans"). The copy I found online is the "Nantes" version that shows none of this information.

So, something must have happened between June 9 and 15 that led to the both drivers being replaced and/or one driver being replaced and the name of other being changed to an alias). I'm not sure we'll ever know why this change occured.

Guy Don: I could find absolutely NOTHING about this person. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Jean Desvignes was an experienced driver (24 Hrs Spa 1933 - 4th overall, 1st in 4.0 liter class on Bugatti T49; Le Mans 1934 - 9th overall on Bugatti T44; 10 hrs Spa 1934 - winner!). Desvignes died 3 weeks after the Le Mans race on 07-Jul-1935 in his Bugatti 44 in a car accident in Jonchery-sur-Vesle when he swerved to avoid an oncoming car during his return to Paris after the Grand Prix de Tourisme de la Marne in Reims (where he placed 3rd in the 3.0 liter class). His mechanic Botazo was seriously injured, but survived. (There are several newspaper articles that mention this event).

Guy Weisweiller: In the Autodiva thread mentioned above, somebody thought that "Guy Don" was in fact "Guy Weisweiller." This conjecture seem to be based on a report that listed Weisweiller as attending Desvignes' funeral, but in my research I did not find any convincing arguments that Guy Weisweiller is in fact Guy Don. I have not yet asked the poster what he found out that made him believe this is the case.

I found it very difficult to find any information about Guy Weisweiller. Pretty much the only references I found were French medical research papers that were supported by "Bourse Guy Weisweiller (France)" or "Fondation Guy Weisweiller" or similar stipends or research grants. There is also a Madame Guy Weisweiller (possibly his wife) who bred several successful race horses in the 1960s. There could be possible connections of Guy Weisweiller to the private banking family Weisweiller that belongs to the extended Rothschild family or to the German Scientist Gustave Weisweiller who published research papers in biological Chemistry and married in Paris in 1908. Both possible connections need more research.

Georges Vernes: Born in 1909, Georges Vernes is a descendant of a private banking family. He married a Jacqueline Wallace in October, 1936 -- which is where my conjecture comes from that the name "Jacky" painted on the cowl of the car may be in reference to this lady. I found a Georges Vernes biography on the French Who's Who last year that indicates he was also a private banker from a different private banking family. There is also some genealogy information about both the Vernes and Wallace families available online (see Genealogy of Georges Vernes and
Genealogy of Jacqueline Wallace
). I have a hunch that the name "Jacky" painted on the hood of the race car may be referring to Jacqueline Wallace, bit this is pure speculation at this point in time.

Race report: This page of "L'Ouest Eclair" (published on 17-jun-35) provides and hour-by-hour description of the race. Although it doesn't provide much insight about your car but still worth mentioning.

Loose ends: Just last week, we received a picture Simon Moore has found that shows the car in what seems to be a used car sales room (rumored to be in Paris). Fortunately, this picture shows the complete license plate "6112-RJ2" (whereas the license plate is only partially visible in the picture at Le Mans shown above). We don't know where or when this picture was taken, but it seems to be the same plate that was used during the race. A quick search led me to a web page that indicates the plate may date from about July, 1934, but more research is required (I don't know yet if or how ownership history can be researched in France). The fact that the car is not in two-tone paint leaves room for speculation that the picture may have been taken after the race.

Alfa Figoni Garage in Paris (700 wide).jpg

One of the biggest questions that remain is whether or not this car was rebodied for Le Mans or if it is a different car with the same license plate. Currently, we tend to believe that it may be the same car (but that may just be wishful thinking) as there are some details (such as a quite unique little apron between the front dumb irons) in the picture of the car shown during the race that seem to be still on the car and seem to be completely original with several coats of paint that only became visible after complete disassembling the car. Of course, we hope to find more pictures of the car before, during and after the race that will answer these questions.

I consider myself lucky to live near a restoration shop that restores such an interesting car. I'll post more about the car's history when we find more. If anybody has more information about or pictures of this car, please don;t hesitate to contact me on or off AlfaBB. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

I also intend to post more pictures of the restoration progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #30 (Edited)
Here's a quick glimpse at some of the "time capsules" one may encounter when dealing with a car of such age -- I'm sure very few modern cars will have such hidden surprises.

First, the frame of the seat back. It's funny how, presumably in 1933, one of the French workers wrote "Alfa Romeo" and then, obviously as an afterthought, "et Juliette" on the frame -- long before Alfa conceived of a Giulietta.

DSC01551 (700 wide).jpg

The seat bottoms, which consists of individually upholstered left and a right seats, turned out to be a jewel. Once the leather and padding was removed and the burlap-covered spring frame was revealed, there was, neatly held in lace with springs, a piece of packing paper.

DSC01565 (700 wide).jpg

DSC01591 (700 wide).jpg

The paper has some lines drawn on it (presumably a template for the recess of the frame) and written instructions for the workers. The thing that stands out is large, red writing "Jeudi matin" (meaning "Thursday morning"). There is additional writing we can only partially decipher and did not photograph very well.

DSC01576 (700 wide).jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #31
And here's an example of the level of detail and quality the owner and RX Autoworks are willing to go. The pictures show the floor-mounted dip switch for the headlights. Trust me, the pictures don't do the quality justice. When I saw this switch yesterday, I had another one of these "love 'em but hate 'em" moments: "love 'em" for what they are capable of doing but "hate 'em" for pointing out how flawed my car will be by comparison. Seeing stuff like this switch just wants me to do a better job on my car -- but it's just not going to happen if I want to drive my car in the foreseeable future.

DSC01653 (700 wide).jpg

DSC01654 (700 wide).jpg
 

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Absolute gorgeous car.... and the history research is stunning.
A Gold Top topic, for sure.

Thanks a lot for such readings!

Regards, Alvaro.
 

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feuillure

Further, some pencil scribblings on the bodywork also point to french heritage. On the top of one of the door frames, it says "border de chacque coté de la feuillure" which I loosely translated as "wrap [or bend] around both sides of the groove" -- which must be an instruction to the panel beaters as to how the aluminum skin is to be applied. I had some problems figuring out the term "feuillure" and, through translation to German, found it pertains to the groove in windows and doors where presumably a weather seal could be attached.
Hello Ruedi,

The French word 'feuillure' means 'groved' or 'carved'. Will that help?

Ciao, Olaf
 

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Thanks for sharing all those research results and documents, Ruedi!

As for Guy Don, you may be aware that in French it's a word game for "guidon" meaning "handlebar". It's therefore clearly a nickname.

Marc C. who posted on autodiva is a friend and he is very good at tracking biographies of prewar drivers. I remember he told me this finding directly. Yet indeed it's just a guess in this case, but you can be sure that he searched deep before putting that guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
As for Guy Don, you may be aware that in French it's a word game for "guidon" meaning "handlebar". It's therefore clearly a nickname.
I did not know that -- thanks for making me aware of it, Patrick!
 

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I've asked Marc if he can help with Weisweiler. He might post directly here if he has anything to add. According to his post on Autodiva, he concluded "Guy Don" = Guy Weisweiler on the base of two observations. The presence of Weisweiler at Desvignes' funerals, as you understoof it, but also on the fact that an early entrants list associated Desvignes and Weisweiler instead of "Guy Don".
 

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Any chance that Guy Don maybe a typo as a result of Guy Weisweiler being also entered and could it be that the driver was Kaye Don, a fairly prolific Alfa racer and land & boat speed record holder from Britain that competed in many 6C's both 1500 and 1750?

Moreover, Don may have had some reason to disguise his identity. That is, he apparently disappeared from racing as he served a 6 month jail sentence 1934 after crashing on the Isle of Man, killing his passenger.

Some pictures of Kaye Don attached. Resemblance to the guy on the right in the picture posted by Ruedi earlier? What do you think?
 

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Discussion Starter #39
You get an "A++" for effort, Dave! Here's the same detail from the original picture (which has a lot of low-light noise because I didn't use a flash).
 

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Discussion Starter #40 (Edited)
Any chance that Guy Don maybe a typo as a result of Guy Weisweiler being also entered and could it be that the driver was Kaye Don, a fairly prolific Alfa racer and land & boat speed record holder from Britain that competed in many 6C's both 1500 and 1750?

Moreover, Don may have had some reason to disguise his identity. That is, he apparently disappeared from racing as he served a 6 month jail sentence 1934 after crashing on the Isle of Man, killing his passenger.

Some pictures of Kaye Don attached. Resemblance to the guy on the right in the picture posted by Ruedi earlier? What do you think?
This is a very intriguing notion, Ulrich! There is certainly some resemblance between the man on the right and one of the pictures you posted (although the noses seem to be pointing in different directions) but I think we would need higher resolution pictures from Le Mans to tell for sure. Just this week, I received (from poster "GuyA.FWI" on AutoDiva -- thank you again!) a higher resolution PDF of "L'Ouest-Éclair" of 15-Jun-1935 that supposedly shows the drivers before the start. The picture from before the event seems to bear much less resemblance to Kaye Don -- but I'm not even sure if the person on the right is the same person in these two pictures from the event.

I'm still trying to locate the source and a higher resolution version of the drivers before and after the event (I sent a PM to the poster on Autodiva earlier this week but have not received a response yet).

As for Kaye Don's racing history, I found him affiliated with Sunbeam but not with Alfa. Do you have any information about races he participated in driving Alfas?

1935-06-15_61_72_53_0005 (cropped).jpg 35LM21.jpg
 
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