Click on photos to enlarge - far superior
The House Pod Gigantami (Under the Giants) where we had the CCC dinner is situated in Ujazdowskie Avenue 24, part of the Royal Way.
It was built between 1904 and 1907 by Władysław Marconi.
The original interior was preserved during WW II as it had the function a
Nazi Officers' Club.
The House takes its name from the supporting statues of giants at the entrance.
|'The CCC Crew' assembled in the King Stanislaw Augustus Poniatowski Room|
For this particular meeting we moved rather upmarket to a Michelin Restaurant in the diplomatic heart of the capital. The family of one of the members of our club, Mirek Staniszewski, managed the restitution of their family home in Aleja Ujazdowski which is now partly a fine restaurant called Pod Gigantami ('Under the Giants'), the remainder of the building converted to flats. At the beginning of the meal he gave a talk on the fascinating history of the building and his family part in this story.
http://www.podgigantami.pl/ if you wish to explore the place further.
During dinner we discussed the brief Agenda.
Unknown to me we had a 'secret club secretary' among us who was busy with a sketch pad - Mr. Mathieu Spencer.
I will allow his sketches to speak with some additional commentary.
There was a mixed reception for the idea of having a stand at the Warsaw classic car event running for two days in May known as Autonostalgia. I think I will put out a survey to canvas any support among the membership for the idea. It will be necessary to arrange some members to 'stand guard' in rotation, who might prepared to exhibit their car or cars and who would share the insignificant costs. The idea of employing a lithe female pole dancer to deter boredom was enthusiastically discussed by the more chauvinistic among us.
More ambitious was an idea floated by Blazej Zulawski for an International Concours d'Elegance in Warsaw at a prestigious venue in the city in 2016. This would be the first time this has been attempted in Warsaw probably since World War II. This idea similarly received rather a mixed reception, mainly centering on the various alternatives possible for organisation and financing. Piotr Frankowsi, Blazej Zulawski and Michael Moran will explore this idea further, push it forward and report back.
Blazej Zulawsi suggested the idea of holding some more spontaneous dinner meetings in the summer at 'the growing number of interesting themed and eccentric restaurants evolving in Warsaw'. This idea was enthusiastically adopted.
Detail of the superb inlaid floor at Pod Gigantami originally laid in a palace owned by the aristocratic Lubomirski family
After what was a truly excellent meal with an extraordinarily wide-ranging choice for a prix fixe menu we were treated to an excellent talk on the Lwów Grand Prix of the 1930s by Mr. Piotr Frankowski - linguist, teacher, writer, magazine editor, racing driver, motor sport and aviation 'encyclopaedist' and all round nice guy. The less than rosy present situation in Ukraine made it appropriate to recall better days when Lwów was Polish.
I include a selection of brilliant photographs which give not only a picture of these heroic Polish Grand Prix drivers and their frankly fast and dangerous machines but also the sophisticated, stylish and cultivated European atmosphere of motor sport events in Poland before the catastrophe of WW II. Many Polish aristocrats with their love of risk and adventure (as well as money) raced Bugattis and other marques before WW II. Piotr told us some excellent stories. We only touched on the subject of 'Fast Women' - female racing drivers before the war. Another lecture needed for this!
Mr. Piotr Frankowski in lecture mode concerning the Lwów Grand Prix
All photographs © Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe
|A typical Polish military family attending a Lwów Grand Prix|
|The cobbles and tram tracks played havoc with skinny tires and cart suspensions. |
Note the number of Bugattis.
All rather glamorous and chic at Lwów - quite overturning absurd ideas about the complete backwardness of Polish society before the horrors of
World War II were unleashed. The country was predominantly agricultural of course but life in any country has many facets. The general world view of Poland remains myopic and profoundly influenced by the terrors of WW II. In his talk Mr. Frankowski certainly opened a much needed corrective window...
The German racing driver Hans Stuck (1900-1978) in the Mercedes 7.1 litre SSKL. His son and two grandsons all became racing drivers.
|What the devil was that? A familiar tremor? Note again cobbles and tramlines!|
The full set may be viewed at :
* * * * * *
In my researches (after being galvanized into action after the talk) I came across this site which is an absolute treasure trove of highly detailed information and description of famous and more obscure Grand Prix from 1925-41. One in the set deals with the 1932 Lwów Grand Prix which featured the great German ace Rudolf Caracciola in a 2.3 litre Alfa Romeo Monza (the ultimate winner of 66 laps at an average speed of 86.08 km/h or 53.49 mph) and Hans Stuk in a 7.1 litre Mercedes Benz SSKL who retired.
Click on Diver's names (in orange) for more fascinating information about each one.
I GRAND PRIX MIASTA LWOWA
Lwów (PL), 19 Jun 1932.
66 laps x 3041m (1.89 mi) = 200.71 km (124.7 mi)
Caracciola dominates Lwów street race.
Still under construction this site is absolutely brilliant. Spend a few hours...
The 15 CCC members present at the dinner:
Michael Motz, Guy Pinsent, Przemek V, Andy Fincham and Harvey Curtis sent their apologies.
Michael Moran (Chairman)