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1915 Van Blerck 17-Liter news, pictures, specifications, and information

Speedster
Chassis Num: 2188
 
High bid of $160,000 at 2008 Leake. (did not sell)
Sold for $142,500 at 2009 Leake.
Dutch immigrant Joseph Van Blerck was born on August 17th of 1876. He was a very skillful and innovative engineer who came to the United States in 1904 and worked for Henry Ford in Detroit. Around in 1906 he formed the Van Blerck motor company which would become on of the prominent producers of marine engines during the late 1910s. Their engines would capture some very early records in powerboat racing and would be used to power many of the Gold Cuppers in the teens and early twenties.

By 1916, the Van Blerck Motor Company had a diverse line-up of engines, ranging in power from 40-500 horsepower. The prices ranged from the low $1,000 to over $6,000 for the V-12 unit.

Automotive enthusiast, craftsman, and Pebble Beach awarded winner, Gary Wales constructed this massive Van Blerck Speedster. It has a wheelbase that measures nearly fourteen feet, a length of almost eighteen feet, and a staggering height of over seven feet. With all of this real-estate, it seats only two individuals. Most of the space is reserved for the engine, which - in honor of the Van Blerck Motor Company - is enormous. It is a six-cylinder, T-head unit that displaces 17 liters and produces 200 horsepower. In other words, its cubic-inch displacement is in the 1000 region. Each of the combustion chambers require three spark plugs to ignite all the fuel and air it digests with each stroke. During the Van Blerck era, this engine would probably have been hidden in the hull of racing boat. In modern times, it is mated to a three-speed transmission, and uses massive double chains to drive the gigantic rear wheels or a road-going Speedster.

The sheer size and sound of this behemoth attracts a crowd wherever it travels. When not in motion, there are plenty of details to admire. The down-draft carburetor is situated outside of the hood panel which allows for better fuel cooling. The rear of the vehicle features a brass fin positioned on top of the rounded tail. Brass ornamentation can be seen throughout the vehicle, with the largest collection found in the front. Two headlights flank the pointed and angular grille. Inside, the driver is positioned on the right, behind a very large steering wheel. There are plenty of gauges to inform about temperature, fuel, volts, oil, oil temperature, speed, and more.

This Gary Wales built Van Blerck Speedster is the only example ever created. In 2008 it was sold at the Huston Classic Auction presented by Worldwide Group Auctioneers where it was sold for $288,200 including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | May 2008
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• RM Auctions secures one of the 'Great Mercers,' the 'Austie' Clark 1911 Mercer Type 35R Raceabout, for its flagship Monterey sale, August 15–16 in California • Boasting an outstanding provenance, the Mercer is offered fresh to the market following single-family ownership since 1949 • Additional recent highlights for RM's Monterey sale include a selection of 18 vehicles from the former Bob Pond Collection • Frequently updated list of entries available online at www.rmauctions.com BLE...[Read more...]
FORD, GE WATTSTATION CHARGERS SUPPORT EMPLOYEE ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING NETWORK
◾Ford to install its first employee electric vehicle charging station network in Dearborn, Mich.; facilities across the United States and Canada to follow ◾Ford will work with GE as its network provider and supplier of electric vehicle charging stations; networked stations will help Ford understand charging usage and plan for future installations ◾Ford electrified vehicles have logged an estimated 65 million electric miles over the last 18 months. Ford now offers six electrified vehicles, incl...[Read more...]
GM FOUNDATION GRANT SENDS 256 DETROIT CHILDREN TO PRESCHOOL
 DETROIT – The General Motors Foundation is making a quality preschool education possible for 256 children in Detroit's most challenged neighborhoods through a $500,000 grant in support of the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) of Michigan. 'Early education is a critical factor in the long-term success of our children. This very generous gift from the GM Foundation will make a huge difference in the lives of our children, and we are very grateful for the support,' Education Achieveme...[Read more...]
TechShop and Ford Celebrate One Year of Innovation in Metro Detroit; Benefits Emerge from Entrepreneurial Spirit
•TechShop Detroit – a do-it-yourself workshop and fabrication studio where prospective inventors, makers and hackers can rent space to have access to high-tech equipment – celebrates its first anniversary with an event June 1 •In the past year, Ford's Employee Patent Incentive Program, in conjunction with TechShop, has in part led to 50 percent more patentable ideas by Ford employees •TechShop offers members a chance to tinker and test out new, innovative ideas with equipment on site to better...[Read more...]
45Th Anniversary Of 'All-American' Victory At 1967 Le Mans
Forty-five years ago this past week, American racing history was made, and thus far has neve rbeen matched again. With the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend, Racing in America reflects on the 45th anniversary of the Ford Mark IV claiming the second of four consecutive victories for Ford Motor Company cars at LeMans, arguably the greatest American racing victory on foreign soil. That day in 1967, the stunning red Mark IV, now in the procession of Henry Ford Museum as part of its Racing in ...[Read more...]


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