The daughter of the late Clair Reuter, Mary Kuly and her nephew pose for a parting shot in front of the Devin bodied Bandini.
In Part I, we were corresponding with Mary Kuly, whose father, Clair E. Reuter had stored a Bandini in his garage for over fifty years and sadly, passed away as Mary was just getting to know about her father’s racing activities. Now, more than ever, Mary needed some help to sort out the parts and figure out what to do with her father’s old Bandini.
Time now to find out more about Cliff and Jack Reuter. According to the family website, “Jack Reuter is the one of world's foremost European car enthusiasts. He began collecting in the 1950's and continues today. His current stable consists of a 1955 Bandini Siluro 750cc DOHC, a 1949 Bandini Siluro Crosley Devin, and a 1964 Porsche 356 C Sunroof Coupe. His impeccable taste in mid 50's European sports and racing cars is revealed in the following pages.”
Click here for the Reuter website.
Jack Reuter, no relation to Clair, is a veteran car collector. This was GTO #3765 when owned by Jack.
Jack Reuter had indeed owned some of the greatest Ferraris including a 250GTO, chassis 3765, the Dino Ferrari 166MM, and many others.
In a later email, Cliff would write about his father,
“One of the great things about my Dad is he had all of those incredibly
important cars but always viewed them as rolling sculpture and not a money making venture. He is a true enthusiast and has always loved the etceterini the most.”
Family and friends of Jack Reuter gather around his Bandini at Pebble Beach. Jack,
Jenny, Brenda, Cliff, and Tracy Reuter
We decided to ask Cliff if he could help Mary Kuly. We thought at first the two families with the same German name might even be related, but if so no one can remember.
On September 4th we emailed Cliff.
“Does your father know of another Reuter who owned a Bandini? His name was Clair, called "Sonny" Reuter and until his death a month ago, lived in Naperville Il. His family still have his old Bandini.”
Promptly, Cliff wrote that he wasn’t sure, but he’d ask his father, now 72 years old. “I just talked to my dad and he did know of the car but had not thought about it for years. He is not sure the frame is Bandini but we can tell if they have pictures of it, especially the front. We would like to take a look at the car depending on its proximity to St Louis.”
Hooking the two families up, we did not hear anything for several weeks. We assumed that Cliff and Jack would be checking out the car and helping them identify parts. Finally, on September 24th, we received a happy and excited email from Cliff.
Clair Reuter's Bandini sees the light of day after many years of hibernation.
I called Mary after you suggested I do so.
We had a great conversation and we established the fact that she
would only sell the Bandini under the right conditions. She would part
with the car only to someone who knows and loves Bandinis, and would not resell it. She was also eager that the new owners fully appreciate it for what it was, restore it true to her Father's
design, and keep it in the Midwest.
A quick look at the cockpit area revealed the Bandini frame, but also a lot of work ahead.
“When she realized we would do all these things and more the deal was done. and in fact bought the car last weekend! It is very rough and needs everything. This restoration is going to be a labor of love which will end up costing us way more than the car's current value. This does not bother us because we are honored to be the guardian of this beautiful car! I have to thank you for referring Mary to us and everything else you did to make the sale possible. This car will always be known as the Clair Reuter Bandini Devin Crosley. I think Clair is the hero of this story because
he bought the car, personally altered it, raced it, and then would not part with it for 50 years! He loved the car and so do we (already)!!”
to go. Mary Kuly stands by the trailer in the background.
Well, we thought, that was quick. We asked Mary how she felt about the deal.
“I'm really glad that Cliff and his dad picked up the car. I think the price was fair and what is really neat is our last name connection. Who knows but only my father if we are related in some distant way. Jack Reuter is just chock full of interesting tidbits of knowledge and information. Cliff is quite smart too. He has the heart, drive and artistic flair to bring dad's car back to life. I'm quite grateful for them. I felt as soon as I talked with them dad's car was meant to be cared for by them. When they pulled away with the Bandini a part of my heart with it and I wanted to cry but at the same time I was so happy.”
If everyone was happy, we were too. Cliff later wrote about what happened after he and his father got the Bandini back home to St. Louis.
arrives at the Jack Reuter home and is immediately cleaned up and looking a bit happier.
“The only thing we knew to be original
Bandini were the side frame members. It had no numbers and
the front suspension, rear suspension, and cockpit members were not
the same as our 1955 Siluro. We sent photos to Dino
Bandini and Michele Orsi (Bandin Museum www.bandincars.com). They
confirmed that it was an early Bandini frame and everything was original
Bandini. From then on we treated the car as the 46th known Bandini
in the world.…”
At the present time, Cliff and Jack are having the Crosley engine rebuilt by another Bandini expert, Jerry Greaves, (Greaves has owned a number of Bandinis, including the only Bandini Zagato ever made) and are in the process of restoring the chassis. Cliff will document this restoration process on the Bandini page on his web site Etceterini.com.
So it all ended well. There were, however, a few odds and ends which were the result of Clair Reuter’s photo collection. We’ll have more on this in another edition of VeloceToday.