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Hans Tanner- a wheeler dealer?

Discussion in 'Vintage (thru 365 GTC4)' started by bitzman, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. bitzman

    bitzman Formula 3

    Feb 15, 2008
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    I met Hans Tanner around 1970-'72 when he was an editor at Petersen publishing doing gun books and one
    spectacular two edition magazine called Sports Car World.
    (Anyway, I wonder if he was really a race car manager or a sort of hanger on when he was in Europe in the Fifties who would find one wealthy client after another (like Temple Buell) and help them get cars?
    Was he part owner of Scuderia Centro Sud?

    I also remember hearing about him buying and selling cars throughout Europe.

    I realize he died tragically (suicide) so , in asking this question about who he was, please understand I am not trying to knock someone who was part of the Ferrari community (author of several books for Clymer on Ferrari) , just wondering if, looking back through the telescope of time, is he now thought of as a significant figure in the sports car world of the '50s and '60s or a bit player?

    I wonder this about lots of names I read, my favorite name so far being
    "Filmer Paradise" who was the Ford official in Germany that reportedly brought Ferrari and Ford together when Ford was thinking of buying Ferrari. I love the name and don't know if Mr. Paradise ever did anything significant in the car world other than that one introduction.
     
  2. Simon^2

    Simon^2 F1 World Champ

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  3. Ed Niles

    Ed Niles Formula 3
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    I'd never read that story before; thanks. It captures Hans as well as could be expected in the allotted space. There was always some veiled rumor about guns and Cuba, but I'm not sure what was truth and what was fiction. I was one of just a few people allowed into his modest apartment after the double shooting (I don't think anyone really knew why he had to take her with him) and found that his set of Ferrari Annuals (most likely swiped from Petersen anyway) had been removed, ostensibly to return them to Petersen. I ended up buying the remains of his Ferrari literature from the Public Administrator's auction. In my view, he was a minor wheeler-dealer compared to some, but was well-known and dare I say it respected as a result of his Clymer book (one of the first Ferrari books ever) and his Tec-Mec connection. It is true that he and Allen Bishop started the Virginia City Hill-climb for the FOC, so of course he was revered by that group.
     
  4. JazzyO

    JazzyO F1 World Champ

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    Wow, another example of how wonderful the Vintage section of F-chat is.

    Thanks for pointing me to the column, very interesting.


    Onno
     
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  5. Jeff Kennedy

    Jeff Kennedy F1 Rookie
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    I was led to believe that he and Allen Bishop were pretty good friends.

    Jeff
     
  6. MiuraP400

    MiuraP400 Formula Junior
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    #6 MiuraP400, Feb 21, 2012
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  7. wbaeumer

    wbaeumer F1 Veteran
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    Mar 4, 2005
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    Tanner also -next to his job with the Temple Buell -race team- acted as a dealer/broker in the very late 50s/early 60s and advertised hs services in various UK-magazines from that period.
    He was never co-owner of Scuderia Centro Sud.

    Ciao!
    Walter
     
  8. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Interesting post as usual!
     
  9. tongascrew

    tongascrew F1 Rookie

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    Yes, this is the real thing and any good collection should have one. There are a couple of them for sale on the internet and probably thru the good dealers. Be aware there is a reprint. The front cover is completely different and it is definitely a reprint. just one man's opinion tongascrew
     
  10. 360gtracer

    360gtracer Formula 3
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    I've been looking at some of these books - one with cover as shown here, one with mostly red cover - both claiming to be "first edition". Which is *actual* first edition?

    Thanks.

    gp
     
  11. Marcel Massini

    Marcel Massini F1 World Champ
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    The one published 1960 by Floyd Clymer Publications.

    Marcel Massini
     
  12. 360gtracer

    360gtracer Formula 3
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    Thank you Marcel!

    gp
     
  13. MiuraP400

    MiuraP400 Formula Junior
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    Mine does not appear to be a first edition, it does not have the print date listed on any of the title pages. However in the top left corner inside the cover page there is an ad for one of Floyd's other books "Performance Tuning the Sumbeam Tiger V-8, 260 also "289" for 1967". So clearly my copy was printed after 1967 and not the original 1960 printing.

    Cheers Jim
     
  14. NOLE

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    My copy is dated 1959, no edition specified, published by Foulis
     
  15. tongascrew

    tongascrew F1 Rookie

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    Reprint has a white cover with three B&W pictures published by Veloce Press, San Antonio Texas 2005 just one man's opinion tongascrew
     
  16. 360gtracer

    360gtracer Formula 3
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    So I got a copy of the book pictured in MiuraP400's post - but! The one I got is literally "LIKE NEW" - fantastic condition and I'm thrilled! And I'll remain thrilled regardless of what the answer to my question is (because it's in such great condition). My question is - what *should* I have paid (realistically and fairly) for a *LIKE NEW* copy of this book?

    Thanks!

    gp
     
  17. VIZSLA

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    #18 VIZSLA, Feb 27, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Seems that he did at least one other book for Clymer.
    I found a copy of his Handbook of Grand Prix Cars Post - War to Present from 1963.
    Nice photos and circuit maps.
    Sold for a buck less than the Ferrari book.
    Interestingly his name doesn't appear on the cover/
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  18. Doug Nye

    Doug Nye Karting
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    Jan 21, 2008
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    As far as I know, some of what David Davis wrote about Hans Tanner was correct. But that memory about British journalists describing his books as 'cock books' because large parts of them were poppycock, though based in fact, is slightly mis-remembered.

    In fact Hans Tanner contributed a regular column to the British monthly magazine 'Motor Racing', which was presented under the name 'Coche', Spanish for 'car' I suppose. My old friend and mentor Denis Jenkinson and our mutual friend Pete Coltrin used to read Tanner's material in this column and giggle over its frequent inaccuracy and characteristically grandiose claims of personal endeavour. They saved particular derision for some of his road tests, because as far as they were concerned Tanner couldn't drive and in fact did his road tests from the passenger seat while Bertocchi or Sighinolfi whipped him around the Modena Aerautodromo in whatever Maserati or Ferrari's latest offering might be.

    They described that section of 'Motor Racing' magazine not as the 'Coche' column, but as Hans Tanner's 'Cock Column' - because, in English vernacular, he so often wrote utter cock.

    I never met him, but began my journalistic career with 'Motor Racing' in 1963, by which time Tanner had flown the coop in Modena and Pete Coltrin had not only taken over the 'Coche' column - immensely improving its credibility and stature - but having also taken over the room in the Hotel Real Fini that Tanner had abandoned. He had left his bills unpaid, and the hotel proprietor kept the room for him for many months. Pete was tired of his tiny room there and regularly pressed Fini to let him take over Tanner's much larger old room. Eventually the owner relented, and Pete moved in - discovering, as he told me, not only an impressive stack of pornographic material but also a large stash of racing team badges, memorabilia and above all headed note paper representing all manner of racing organisations, some genuine, but a number seemingly fictional...

    For some years Pete, Jenks and I conducted a pen pal correspondence and it was always a joy when a letter from Pete would arrive at home on Scuderia Temple Buell-headed paper, or Scuderia America-Sud, or Officine Tecnica-Mecanica, etc.

    I may be muddled in the name of the Modena hotel that Tanner fled and where Pete took over, but from memory it was the Hotel Reale, which was taken over by the Fini family and then became styled as the Hotel Real Fini. But I do have a dim memory of there being two such establishments involved in that series, not just the one. Or did the old Real Fini of that period move into different premises post-period? I cannot recall. Ho hum - perhaps someone with better knowledge of Modena in period will put me right?

    But basically, the British enthusiast world - or at least those in the know - didn't really rate Hans Tanner as highly as he was rated in America. As far as we were concerned this was for good reason. But even his critics would admit he was a real character, and motor racing life would have been infinitely less colourful without the likes of him being there...

    DCN
     
  19. Ed Niles

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    Can't argue with anything Doug says; always a delight when he chimes in. I had met both Hans and Pete in Modena in those days, and Pete surely was more knowledgeable about the things of which we speak. Of course Hans had one advantage: He wasn't addicted to that God-awful Modena Lambrusco. I think it was the Palace Hotel, down the street from the Real Fini, that was favored by Hans and Pete as well as most of the drivers and "in-crowd". Pete and Lella ended up in an apartment behind the Palace. Pete and Lella and the British gearbox guy (what's his name?) and his "Italian wife" crammed my wife and me into a typical small FIAT for a tour of the Modenese automotive highlights. Later, I did the same thing with Chuck Queener, which was even less fun that with my wife! Sorry, rambling on again.
     
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  20. 3500 GT

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    #21 3500 GT, Feb 29, 2012
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    Very interesting stuff Mr. Nye and Mr Niles, thanks for sharing those stories.

    Hans Tanner also authored the Maserati Owners Handbook.

    Published in 1961, it actually has a fair amount of information on early Maseratis and a wealth of information from 1948-1961.

    Also some very rare photos including shots of the "Maserati Grand Turismo di Lusso 3500/T" and "Maserati Grand Tursimo di Lusso 3500/A", (official names, Pre 250-"Lusso" Ferrari! ;) ).

    Tech specs. Chassis specs, rare photos etc. A very good book to have if you have a Maserati or Ferrari. I saw a nice original 1st edition on eBay sell for $570. And a repo for $25 via Amazon.

    ~Ciao and best!
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  21. Chuck Queener

    Chuck Queener Karting

    May 18, 2006
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    Hans worked in the book division of Peterson Publishing in the early 1970s. I joined the staff at Motor Trend in '71 and brought Tanner to Ferrari Owners Club meetings. As we know, he had written the only books available about Ferrari at the time. "Ferrari and Maserati in Action" was one.

    He was a character. He ate strangely and had a second pair of shoes in his desk for trips to the Crapper. This ruse, he thought, would disguise him as culprit of the foul odor coming from behind the door.

    He and Bishop went to Virgina City on weekends and thought the approach from Carson City might serve well as a hill climb. I was president of the FOC at the time so we presented it to the board. It was lots of fun but then people started killing them selves.

    Hans couldn't drive because he only had sight in one eye. He loved guns and as Ed mentioned their were many rumors involving gun-running and Cuba. I think he may have gone to Nassau for the races and never returned to Modena.

    He did a page for the FOC newsletter that I did using his photos and captions. I loaned him several sketches of Ferrari's world champion drivers for the fourth volume of his book. After its publication he became depressed saying there were many errors but he never blamed anyone.

    Bishop knows the rest.
     
  22. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    Can you post any of that various letterhead??

    I need a new sketch pad, here at the office......:D :D



     
  23. Marcel Massini

    Marcel Massini F1 World Champ
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    #24 Marcel Massini, Mar 2, 2012
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  24. Marcel Massini

    Marcel Massini F1 World Champ
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    #25 Marcel Massini, Mar 2, 2012
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