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26th Jun, 2022

Land speed record breaking car to be seen at Droitwich hill climb

Droitwich Editorial 11th Jun, 2015 Updated: 17th Oct, 2016

DROITWICH will be one of only two places in the UK to see a historic car, which once smashed the land speed record, race again.

The 1909 Lorraine De Dietrich was built at the start of the 20th century by Jean de Dietrich and, after beating the world record, it was dismantled so no one else could use it to do the same.

Now after a painstaking, decade-long restoration project by Richard Scaldwell the rare Edwardian classic will be back in action at the Chateau Impney Hill Climb.

Richard, who is a car restorer by trade, has rebuilt the regal 16.5 litre, four-cylinder vehicle from what was the bare bones of a salvaged De Dietrich.

He has spent the last ten years searching and crafting out the additional parts he needed for the car which is a hybrid of Edwardian Franco-German engineering.

In the race the car will take on a stellar line-up of cars including the Piccard-Pictet and the fearsome Métallurgique Maybach Special.

One of the De Dietrich’s most prominent exponents was American, turned French, racing driver Arthur Duray who was famous for his 1911 land speed record attempt in the Fiat S76 – the Beast of Turin.

That will face off against the De Dietrich in the same class at the forthcoming Hill Climb.

Richard, who for the last 25 years has been known as a keen competitor on the historic motorsport scene, said: “The car is geared to do 110mph, meaning that the performance of the car is as impressive today as it would have been in 1909.

“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, but it will certainly be entertaining.”

Rod Spollon, chairman of the Chateau Impney Hill Climb Club, said: “We’re delighted that the De Dietrich will compete at the

Chateau Impney Hill Climb, allowing thousands of spectators to see all of the hard work Richard has put into bringing this incredible car back to life.

“It’s thanks to people like Richard that cars like this are still able to run today, rather than sitting in a museum or indeed, being lost to history.”

Rod said the original speed trials at the Chateau Impney were very inclusive events, with lots of families and children in attendance and they wanted to recapture this spirit by making this year’s Hill Climb a fantastic family day out for local residents.

He added the paddock would be totally accessible, allowing spectators to be able to see Richard’s hard work up close before it embarks on its run up the Hill Climb course.

The weekend-long Chateau Impney Hill Climb event is taking place in the grounds of the landmark hotel on July 11 and July 12.

Visit www.chateauimpneyhillclimb.com or call 01905 774411 for more.

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