12 November 2007

Trains, planes and automobiles

Kim du Toit started it, with a request for lists of the five most beautiful cars ever made. I submitted these:


1. 1931 Duesenberg J dual-cowl phaeton



2. 1929 Duesenberg J torpedo phaeton



3. 1938 Mercedes 540K



4. 1929 Mercedes SSK



5. 1939 Jaguar 100


(What I really wanted was a picture of a dual-cowl phaeton with its top down, to display its dual-cowlness, but I couldn't find one. Had to settle for this one instead.)

Then NRAhab asked for lists of five favourite airplanes. Here are mine (in no particular order):

Junkers Ju 87G-2 - The Ju 87 Stuka (short for Sturzkampfflugzeug, meaning "dive bomber") became famous during the German invasion of Poland in 1939. The standard (B and D) models were equipped with two forward-firing 7.92mm MG 17 machine guns and a single (B) or twin (D) rear-firing 7.92mm. The G-1 and G-2 variants added a pair of 37mm BK 37 anti-tank guns, one under each wing. Hans-Ulrich Rudel flew one of these "tankbuster" Stukas on the Eastern Front.

Messerschmitt Bf 109G - In the 109G the 7.9mm machine guns of the older models were replaced by a pair of 13mm MGs. There was also a 2cm cannon firing through the propellor hub, and some added a pair of 2cm cannons under the wings.

Boeing B-17G - The B-17 Flying Fortress was an incredibly tough bomber - some of the pictures make you wonder how the thing even managed to stay airbourne, let alone make it all the way back to England and then make a safe landing. Early models were armed with eleven .50-calibre machine guns; the G model added two more, in a chin turret.

Fokker Dr.I - "Dr" in this case stands for Dreidecker, or triplane. The Dr.I is usually found painted red, as with this replica (no original WWI-vintage aircraft remain), because this was the plane flown by Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen.

Messerschmitt Me 262 - The world's first operational jet fighter. And a really nice-looking one, in my opinion.


(Yes, these are all old. My interest in military history expanded to a love of history in general around the time I left high school, and I quit reading as much military stuff as I used to. The latest warplane I'm really familiar with is the F-4 Phantom II. Planes that I considered, but which didn't quite make my top-five list, include the P-40, Spitfire, Snipe, P-47, B-58, SB2C, Boeing 314 and - just because its so bizarre - BV 141.)

And just to round it off, here are my five favourite locomotives:


Canadian Pacific 4-6-4 Royal Hudson



London and North Eastern 4-6-2 A3
"Flying Scotsman"



Union Pacific 4-6-6-4 Challenger



Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 Class J



Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy


H/T to Tam.

Update 29 Nov: Kim du Toit has the results of his poll (ie, the five cars that got the most votes), along with his own top-five list, here (with additional commentary here, here and here). He also posted his own list of favourite planes.

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