I SUSPECT many of us have knick-knacks at home culled from the Glamis Extravaganza. I certainly sneaked a few into the house over the years. But in too many visits to remember, I never returned home with a new (or old!) vehicle.
As a youthful adventurer, now with 60-plus countries to my name, my imagination did cartwheels at the sight year on year of the monstrous tracked vehicle at Glamis which had been the first vehicle to traverse the Sahara. Many readers must have better memories of it than I have, so forgive me if I don’t do it justice.
It was a Citroen Kegresse which looked like it could make short work of any obstruction. Its tracks were a cross between a bulldozer and a tank, and it had oversized front wheels. A canvas-covered section lay behind the driver’s cabin. If I remember correctly, its bodywork was coloured sandy-yellow and it dated to around 1929 – some seven years after André Citroën had sent an expedition of these vehicles to follow the camel tracks across the desert from Algeria to Timbuktu on the first motorised crossing of the Sahara.
These French half-track vehicles later saw extensive service with the German army during the Second World War.
Anyway, back to the world of collecting. No less an auction house than Bonham’s recently featured the very thing, a 1920s Citroen Kegresse – but in scale model size!
This was a rare tinplate clockwork model of a Kegresse, made around 1926, probably in Germany. In battleship grey, with its fine steel key surviving, but bearing the bashes and bruises of childhood use, it appeared at Bonham’s Goodwood Revival auction in Chichester last month, where it took a multiple estimate £3750.
Goodness only knows what it might have made in ‘mint and boxed’ condition – the way the collectors like their toys nowadays.
Incidentally, back in 2013 Bonham’s had offered a real Citroen Kegresse from 1931, but it remained unsold against pre-sale hopes of £140,00-£200,000.
I can reveal a local connection, too, as the near £4000 Bonham’s model was formerly the property of the Keiller marmalade-magnate family of Dundee.