Note to self: Our readers love old cars, but 100 years is pushing the definition of “old.” Last week’s photo, for instance, was involved in one of the biggest events in history, but when it comes to automobiles, 1914 is considered ancient history.
We asked why the back seat of the replica in last week’s photo deserves remembering. It was because the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and his wife, Sofia, were riding in it on June 28, 1914, when Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip assassinated them. That day kicked off a string of events that started World War I – the Great War before we learned to count them.
We also asked what city the photo would have been taken in, and the answer was Sarajevo. We asked a harder question, too: What was the make of the car? We had to look that one up ourselves; it was a Gräf & Stift double phaeton luxury limousine that had been purchased Dec. 15, 1910.
It was a difficult quiz, and chosen randomly from the two readers who correctly guessed it was the name of Jim Muraski, of Martinez, who wrote:
“This week’s vehicle photo was taken in front of a museum on the historical street corner in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on June 28, 2014. The vehicle is a replica of the Graf & Stift car in which the Hungarian-Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sofia von Hochenberg, were assassinated by Serb nationalist Gavrillo Princip that day.
“The assassination of this couple in the back seat of the original Graf & Stift car on the same street corner in Sarajevo was the event that ignited the start of World War I.”
The other readers submitting entries were:
AUGUSTA: John Hayes wrote: “My best guess is a 1911 Cadillac 30. As for the city, I would guess Charleston or Savannah or maybe Augusta.”
Carolyn Ogles: “Wild guess – Beauford from the United Kingdom used as a wedding car.”
CANTON, GA.: David Anderson said: “This is the rear-seat view of the vehicle in which Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sofia, were assassinated on June 28, 1914. This is regarded as the event that started The Great War, or what later became known as World War I.
“The car is a replica of a 1910 Graf & Stift double phaeton and this picture was taken in Sarajevo at the very street corner where the assassination took place. The photo op took place on June 28, 2014, marking a century since that event.
“The original car belonged to Count Franz von Harrach, and was on loan for the day to the Archduke. The story goes that he had already survived an earlier attempt on his life that day when a bomb bounced off of the convertible top and exploded underneath one of the cars following in his entourage.
“It was fateful decision later in the day to go visit the injured members in the hospital in Sarajevo that put him right back in harm’s way. Being unfamiliar with the area, his chauffeur took a wrong turn and then stopped to regain his bearings. He had no way of knowing that he had stopped just feet away from the intended assassin, who of course set about to finish the job.
“The story also goes that all subsequent owners of the actual car met just as violent and fateful deaths as Archduke Ferdinand. Today the car is on display in a Museum in Vienna, Austria.
“P.S.: You made me really have to work for this one! I can usually guess the car within two or three model years, and a casual review of just a few images normally pinpoints it. Not this time! Neither the Hemmings nor the Historical Vehicle Association blogs I follow had any mention of this car on it and no search of any specific media site brought up anything either. I was using a very broad World War I military vehicle search criteria.
“I finally just started going through a very generic Google image search and was just about to give up (I had probably already waded through 200-300 pictures) when what appeared to be the very same full-size picture scrolled onto my screen! This was a history lesson through and through, because I have never heard of this make or that it continued in some form up until 2001.”
EVANS: PJ Rodgers said: “It’s the Model T Ford that’s used by the Laurel and Hardy impersonators at the annual fest in Harlem.”
MARTINEZ: Travis Starr guessed some car an Army general would have used in the 1920s, perhaps a Ford or Packard.