Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about Russian History => Imperial Transportation => Topic started by: tian79 on April 21, 2004, 05:36:08 AM

Title: Car
Post by: tian79 on April 21, 2004, 05:36:08 AM
http://personal.inet.fi/cool/makkes.garage/protos.html

Picture 11 RUSSIAN IMPERIAL FAMILY'S A 35 HP

Specially made for the family.
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Forum Admin on April 21, 2004, 08:37:10 AM
The 1913 garage list for the Tsar's cars does not list a Vauxhall. Not reading Finnish, Im not sure what the rest says. Perhaps it was made for another member of the Imperial Family?
Title: Re: Car
Post by: BobAtchison on April 21, 2004, 09:20:34 AM
This car doesn't appear on the list of cars purchased by Nicholas II.  Maybe it was owned by some city government and used by them on a visit?
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Belochka on June 24, 2004, 07:18:54 PM
I wonder if anyone can let me know please - when did cars first appear on SPb streets?

Thanks  :)
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Forum Admin on June 24, 2004, 08:33:34 PM
Sometime just around 1900 from what I can tell. Not much earlier, and certainly not much later than 1905.
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Belochka on June 24, 2004, 09:02:56 PM
Thanks Bob!
:D
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Belochka on July 01, 2004, 11:41:51 PM
Bob, I have just finished reading My Life by Princess Marie Bariatinsky. In her book she wrote that her husband acquired a Dion which was driven by their chaffeur in Tsarskoe Selo in 1897.

She related an amusing story that neither the chauffeur nor her husband knew how to stop the vehicle - except by running it against a tree, which she notes with some irony, "had the desired effect"!

At one time her husband (Prince Anatoli) was accompanied by the regiment doctor who sat at the back over the engine, shielded by wet blankets to protect him from severe burns ...

"... everything went well for ten minutes and we were all enjoying the drive, when suddenly without the slightest warning we were enveloped in a cloud of steam. I and the mechanic jumped off and the doctor fell out, then we heard an explosion ... which caused little damage to the machine."

This entire episode was related to Nicholas and Alexandra who were "intensely amused" :)

Understandably their Majesties prefered to wait until the "machine was brought to a state of perfection" after first viewing it in Paris with Prince Anatoli in 1896 during a State visit.
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Joanna on August 06, 2004, 08:14:20 PM
There is an interesting history of the Imperial Garage from President Putin's Transport:

"...The Special Purpose Garage has a long history. It dates back to the first state garage in Russia that was created at the Court of Nicholas II in 1906. The Imperial Garage was located in Petrograd. Initially, the garage had ten cars, and just a few years later it already had twenty. Then a chauffeur’s school was established at the garage. A large building was constructed for the garage in Petrograd, which exists to this day (it now houses the carriage museum).

At the beginning of 1917, His Majesty’s Garage became the motor-transport depot of the Temporary Government, and after the October revolution it became the motor-transport depot of the Soviet government. In November 1917 the depot had 46 cars.

In 1918, the garage moved to Moscow along with the Soviet government. The cars which served Vladimir Lenin and his inner circle were kept at the Kremlin. They made up the backbone of the Special Garage that Vladimir Lenin founded by a Decree he signed on 31 December 1920. The garage was headed by Stepan Gil, Lenin’s personal chauffeur.

Later, the Special Garage was renamed the Special Purpose Garage.

The old Tsarist-era cars that were produced at the beginning of the 20th century soon stopped working. Therefore, a group of 15 Rolls Royce cars were purchased in England. They served Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky and Lunacharsky..."

Does anyone know where this carriage museum is located? Are there photos of the building?

Joanna

Title: Re: Car
Post by: Robert_Hall on August 06, 2004, 09:32:40 PM
Joanna, I just did a Google search- carriage museum russia. There are a few listed. The listing I thought best is  "Court Carriages of the 18-20th Centuries. St.P Imperial Stables, etc. Apparently there is one in the city & another at the Catherine palace [& another in Moscow!].
Hope this helps.
Robert
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Forum Admin on August 06, 2004, 09:36:39 PM
Joanna,
I wrote a short history of the Imperial Garage for the AP main website
http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/impgarage.html
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Joanna on August 06, 2004, 09:59:15 PM
Hi Rob,

I had read your article when it was first put on the site  :) And having seen again the large photo of the Renault cars outside the garden gates of the palace square, I know from your writing that they were not part of Nicholas' fleet of cars.

I had seen the reference to the garage now carriage museum in St. Petersburg and was curious where this building is located and now wonder if Robert's identification of the Stables is it !!!

Many thanks
Joanna
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Joanna on August 23, 2004, 11:09:04 PM
Further to Rob's reference to Kegress "...At the present moment, owing to the constant fault-finding of the Controlling Commission, the Head of the Mechanical Department of the Garage, Kegress and his assistant must listen to numerous reprimands and claims which surely makes the work of the employees much less efficient. Under the circumstances Kegress has lately asked me several times for the permission to retire.

... I consider Kegress an irreplaceable worker and I am afraid his leaving will be a great loss for the garage. Your Highness knows, of course, how much His Majesty appreciates Kegress..."

There is a short biography of Adolphe Kegresse "...He was the chief of Russian Tsar's garages..." and verification of Prince Orlov's above letter "...and since 1909 he's been developing a half-tracked mechanism for cars ..."

http://derela.republika.pl/c-k.htm

There is also a photo of a Rolls with the Kegresse audosledge that was Lenin's but "... confiscated from a member of the Russian nobility..."  The site also states that the "...Czar had a limo with this chassis..." Could this Rolls have been from the Tsar's garage?

http://www.prewarbuick.com/features.htm

Joanna
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Mike on October 11, 2004, 07:55:19 AM
Another  article (http://www.motor.ru/motor/progs/issue.cgi?artno=19-4) on imperial cars. It's in Russian and not new (1997), but the photos are self-explaining, and the car models are given in Latinic.
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Joanna on October 11, 2004, 01:00:12 PM
Quote
Another  article (http://www.motor.ru/motor/progs/issue.cgi?artno=19-4) on imperial cars. It's in Russian and not new (1997), but the photos are self-explaining, and the car models are given in Latinic.


This is amazing Mike! Many many thanks! In the sixth photo of 1903 with the Mercedes, is that the Feodorovsky Cathedral in the background?

Joanna
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Arleen on October 11, 2004, 02:54:24 PM
Sure wish I could read Russian Mike, that article looks so interesting. I enjoyed the pictures.  ..Arleen
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Forum Admin on January 31, 2005, 12:05:20 PM
we just acquired a 1906 Russian magazine, for the archives, which low and behold contained a period photo of the first car Nicholas bought, the 1906 Delauney-Belleville, and you can clearly see Prince Orlov driving Nicholas and Alexandra at a military regimental Parade in late august or early september 1906 at Peterhof. I added it to the main Imperial Garage page, but thought it may be of interest here as well.
(http://www.alexanderpalace.org/palace/images/ncar1906.jpg)
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Mike on January 31, 2005, 12:57:56 PM
A great photo! I've read so many times about Orlov driving N&A in that Delauney-Belleville but have never seen it before.
Title: Re: Car
Post by: TheAce1918 on June 04, 2006, 06:24:47 PM
I could have sworn that in the Alexander Palace/Tsars Garage page...there was an artilce near the middle or bottom that read: The Tsar picks a Ford :-?

Title: Imperial Motorcars
Post by: RogerV on October 14, 2006, 03:46:21 AM
I read the article about the Imperial garage(s) with great interest.  Like everything else, the Romanovs seem to have purchased only the most expensive models.  HIH might well have considered an American car or two (not necessarily a Ford though) for the simple reason that American cars were designed for very bad roads, and if anything, the roads in Russia were worse than those in North America.

The big, very expensive French and German cars that Nicholas seems to have preferred were designed to operate on the good roads of Western Europe, and Russian roads must have been extremely hard on them.

I wonder also, does anyone know if Nicholas ever learned to drive himself?
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Mike on October 14, 2006, 07:09:43 AM
The Romanovs never used cars for travel inside Russia, only for short rides in cities and around imperial residences - where roads, unlike in other parts of the country, were kept in an excellent order.

Nicholas II never learned driving. At that time everybody important was chauffered. In aristocratic circles, driving was considered a fashionable sport, not a mean of self-transportation. Some younger grand dukes - including Mikhail Alexandrovich, Gavriil Konstantinovich and Dmitriy Pavlovich - were known as ardent motorists.
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Forum Admin on October 14, 2006, 09:19:49 AM
Nicholas did purchase Ford cars and trucks for the Russian Army, specifically because of their durability, reliability and ease of repair, there used to be an excerpt from a period magazine on the website called "The Czar Picks a Fort" describing this. I'll have to see where it disappeared to.

Mike is, as always, totally correct, Nicholas never learned to drive himself, preferring his personal chauffeur, Adolph Kegress, to do so.  His preferred cars were loaded onto the Imperial Train along with the other "luggage" and taken with him wherever he went, except for Livadia, where there was a permanent garage including the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, as shown in the Garage article.

Title: Re: Car
Post by: Dominic_Albanese on October 15, 2006, 10:14:11 AM
Mike is, as always, totally correct, Nicholas never learned to drive himself, preferring his personal chauffeur, Adolph Kegress, to do so.  His preferred cars were loaded onto the Imperial Train along with the other "luggage" and taken with him wherever he went, except for Livadia, where there was a permanent garage including the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, as shown in the Garage article.


Rob - are you sure that Nicholas II didn't drive himself?  I have read about him driving around the mountains of Crimea scaring his passengers to death because of the break neck speed at which he drives at.  Also, I vaguely remember something about Nicholas racing (his brother) Michael when they were younger - again, they were both speed nuts.  I'd have to dig around in order to find where I read it and I suppose, that my aging memory may have failed on this one ???
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Forum Admin on October 15, 2006, 12:02:16 PM
Dom,

I think you are thinking of GD Ernst Ludwig.  I know HE scared his passengers with his speed and reckless driving, especially at Darmstadt.  Nicholas did not even ride in a car before 1905, so I rather doubt he and Michael "raced"  when they were "younger". Now he did enjoy speed, that being the specific reason for buying the Mercedes 40hp cars for use in the field.
I have never seen a mention anywhere ever, not even in Spiridovitch (who I think would have mentioned it) if Nicholas ever drove himself.
Title: Re: Car
Post by: JD on November 09, 2006, 01:33:06 AM
I'd read that AP article before but failed to notice the Tsar had a Silver Ghost in his stable.  Very impressive.  This seems to be one area where Nicholas was not afraid to spend; I wonder if he was one of the first to 'collect' cars in this manner, or was this fairly typical behavior for the rich at the time?
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Forum Admin on November 09, 2006, 08:56:18 AM
Hi JD,

The very first draft of my article did not mention the Silver Ghost as I did not then have confirmation from Rolls Royce at that as to whether Nicholas actually owned any.  There was speculation on both sides.  The answer from RR was that Nicholas had ordered three in total, but only taken delivery of two, both of which were at Livadia. The third was being built in 1914, but the war broke out and prevented him from having the car delivered.

Be equally impressed by the cost of the Delaunay-Belleville SIMs, each one cost the equivalent of about 150,000USD in today's money.

I think Nicholas was more "car crazy" than those few aristocrats of the era who had similar personal wealth, given the rapacity with which he built and filled garages.
Title: Re: Car
Post by: RogerV on November 10, 2006, 10:37:43 PM
Keep in mind the fact that a Rolls Royce in 1910 or 1912 wasn't quite as impressive as it would be today.  At that time in history there was a fairly large number of expensive, luxurious, hand-built cars on the market, and it wasn't too long before that when ALL cars were hand-built and expensive.  As the Esteemed FA points out, the Delaunay-Bellvilles may well have been more expensive than the Rolls Royces, and at least in the pictures they appear to be more substantial cars.

Contrary to popular opinion, Henry Ford was not the first to mass-produce an inexpensive car; the 1902 "Curved-Dash" Oldsmobile is generally considered to be the first such vehicle.  However, I don't think the IF would have had a use for such a small car, unless it might have been for just driving around the park.
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Dominic_Albanese on November 12, 2006, 10:52:37 AM
Dom,

I think you are thinking of GD Ernst Ludwig.  I know HE scared his passengers with his speed and reckless driving, especially at Darmstadt.  Nicholas did not even ride in a car before 1905, so I rather doubt he and Michael "raced"  when they were "younger". Now he did enjoy speed, that being the specific reason for buying the Mercedes 40hp cars for use in the field.
I have never seen a mention anywhere ever, not even in Spiridovitch (who I think would have mentioned it) if Nicholas ever drove himself.

Hi - you must be right.  I don't know where I got this - if I find it I'll PM it to you.  Spirdovitch would certainly have known...

best,
dca
Title: Re: Car
Post by: RogerV on December 22, 2006, 12:28:38 AM
I unfortunately can't remember exactly where I saw it, but SOMEWHERE on the web is a picture of what I think are the Grand Duchesses sitting in the back seat of a Delaunay-Belville, and there are TWO tires and wheels on either end of the rear axle, rather like a truck, making a total of four altogether, excluding the tires and wheels on the front axle.

This was at first a bit confusing for me, as you almost never find this type of wheel arrangement on a regular car.  However, I did a little research, and discovered that the Delaunay-Belville limousines weighed four tons each (6329 Kg), and the extra wheels were probably necessary to accommodate the car's great weight.  They also would have provided addition traction if the car was ever driven in the snow.

Look carefully at the rear wheels of the cars belonging to the IF in photographs, and you can see this unusual wheel arrangement.
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Mike on January 10, 2007, 02:34:46 AM
I've just discovered an interesting Russian site on the Imperial garage in Tsarskoye Selo (http://www.tsar-auto-club.spb.ru/club/building_history.html). It contains several photos of vehicles and buildings, as well as the lists of Nicholas II's personal cars and service vehicles as of 1910, with 1912 additions.

More current photos of the garage buildings may be seen at this Russian blog (http://community.livejournal.com/karta_spb/196736.html#cutid1).
Title: Re: Car
Post by: hikaru on March 28, 2007, 12:21:14 PM
I just want to give to you an information about an unique museum - I suppose - the better of the world museum of old cars - "Museo Nicolis" in Villafranca di Verona (Italy). It is real treasure - I never saw such q-ty of old cars , such beuatiful cars (for example - the Benz which was made for Maharajah). By the way, all of this cars could run and could be used.
According to the museum's book: "The "Nicolis Museum of Cars, Technology and Mechanics" in Villafranca near Verona,is a spectacular container of culture and ideas.
It was created by Luciano Nicolis, a Verona enterpreneur who tells the amazing development of our society oner the last 2 centuries. The collection includes hundreds of cars, motorbikes, bikes, cameras, typewriters, musical instruments, unfiindable items...The museum is the "hidden dream" that Luciano Nicolis made come true in 2000, opening the "Museum of Cars, Technology and Mechanics" with pricious items discovered all around the world: cars, motorbikes, bicycles, musical instruments, cameras, typewriters, works of human genius. The Museum is passion and entertainement. He introduces himself to visitors as " I am nutcase who did all this", however adding "we are not the owners of all this, just the safekeepers for the future...."
The web address of the museum is : www.museonicolis.com
Really, I was in shock when I visited this modern 5-th floor Museum.
Title: Re: Car
Post by: TheAce1918 on March 28, 2007, 05:16:46 PM
This is a great link hikaru.  Merci.  My favorite car within their collection would have to be the '55 Thunderbird  :D
Title: Re: Car
Post by: hikaru on March 28, 2007, 11:13:45 PM
I am glad you liked it.
Title: Re: Car
Post by: Joanna on August 25, 2008, 07:46:02 PM
Photograph of the interior of the Imperial garage:

http://www.mk.ru/f/b/mk/42/960672/44.jpg

Joanna