Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More about the Peugeot

I did a little research of the “skiff” because I fell in love with its boat-like design. Actually I don’t remember the car from my childhood (the way I remember cars we drove frequently, like the 1907 Rolls Royce and the 1913 mercer Raceabout). Evidently the construction of skiff bodies on automobile chassis was primarily a French innovation, courtesy of Henri Labourdette Coachworks; such cars had appeared in auto races as early as 1897. The Peugeot skiff won at Indianapolis in 1913, 1916 and 1919, according to my father in his book Bright Wheels Rolling. In the book he says the car was a gift (!) from William Leeds of New York City, and “was one of the finest cars in our collection.” At some point, my father sold the car (and a number of others) to his good friend Dr. Sam Scher of Mamaroneck, New York. It was from Scher's collection that Richard Paine purchased it for the Seal Cove Museum.

I can’t help but think that this car may have been the inspiration (vision) my father had for a 13-foot mahogany-hulled, teak-decked launch for our yacht “Serenata.” The launch was christened “Irregardless,” because it took my father several tries before he found a boat builder who would construct it, saying “Irregardless of what others have told you, such a boat can be built and I will build it for you.” And he did!

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