An incredible 1909 Lorraine De Dietrich has been announced as the latest entrant at the revived Chateau Impney Hill Climb following a detailed 10-year restoration – and it’s set to go head-to-head with one-time unofficial fastest car in the world, the Fiat S76 ‘Beast of Turin’.
The De Dietrich has been rebuilt from the chassis up by VSCC member Richard Scaldwell and is due to compete in the Edwardian and Veteran Car class at the 11-12 July event. In period, the marque’s reputation was built upon its racing pedigree, which included victory on the 1903 Paris-Madrid Rally, plus two wins at Le Mans in the 1920s.
Scaldwell, who is more used to piloting his 5.1-litre JAP-engined GN Grand Prix Special, will be driving the Edwardian behemoth during its post-restoration competition debut: “Many people do not appreciate how fast and effective these early GP cars were, with giant engines in a fairly standard production chassis,” he said. “This made the better examples capable of well over 100mph, yet they were still flexible and drivable enough for use in very long distance races.”
“The car is geared to do 110mph at only 1500rpm, meaning that the torque produced is as impressive today as it would have been in period. I’m approaching the Chateau Impney Hill Climb with some trepidation, as I don’t know how it will cope with the demands of the course – it will certainly be entertaining!”
Chairman of the Hill Climb, Rod Spollon, said: “De Dietrich embodied the very best of combined Edwardian French and German engineering in period, and Richard’s painstaking research and restoration is clear to see in the finished car. However, it’s a very different beast from the familiar GN Jap, so we are looking forward to seeing how he negotiates the challenge ahead.”
Tickets for the event are priced at £20 per adult, but you can take advantage of a 10% discount if you order before 30 June.