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1903 CLÉMENT 12/16HP 4-CYLINDER REAR-ENTRANCE TONNEAU CAR For Sale by AuctionBonhams are delighted to offer 87 motor cars at our forthcoming Collectors' Motor Car Auction on Sunday 19th March at The Goodwood Members Meeting, Chichester, UK. The full online catalogue can be viewed at www.bonhams.com/24118/23
1903 CLÉMENT 12/16HP 4-CYLINDER REAR-ENTRANCE TONNEAU CAR
REGISTRATION NO. N 54
CHASSIS NO. 4186
*High quality veteran marque
*Four-cylinder, 4-seat London to Brighton car
*Restored by UK specialists
*VCC Dating Certificate
£250,000 - 300,000
€300,000 - 350,000
Already a successful maker of bicycles and pneumatic tyres – he owned the Dunlop patents in France - Adolphe Clément diversified into automobile manufacture in 1899, taking an interest in the existing Gladiator concern. Rear-engined tricycles and quadricycles were made at the Gladiator works in Levallois-sur-Seine before Clément began building a conventional front-engined light car around 1901. Clément's early vehicles were powered by Aster, Panhard and De Dion engines, all three makes being at the forefront of automobile development.
By January 1903 Clément et Gladiator claimed to have an annual capacity of 1,200 cars but in October that year Adolphe Clément broke his connection with the company and set up a new factory in Levallois-Perret, manufacturing cars under the 'Clément-Bayard' name. At the beginning of that same year Clément had introduced the 2,121cc 12/16hp model. One of the most advanced cars of its day, the 12/16 featured a pair-cast four-cylinder 'L-head' engine, four-speed transmission and a channel steel chassis at a time when many of its rivals still relied on the old-fashioned flitch-plated wooden frame. An ingenious pressurised lubrication system fed oil from the pump-fed cooling system to oil baths for the engine's big-end bearings.
This Clément was well known in Australian Veteran-car circles and was used as a clown's car in the Kangaroo Grounds in Melbourne for many years. By this stage in its life it had been modified and looked like a late Edwardian or early 1920s car. The Clément was left for many years in a semi-dismantled state and then acquired by a well-known VCC member, who brought it back to the UK circa 15-18 years ago. It is understood that he extensively researched the pieces he had acquired, and then had the car restored to its former glory as a fine example of an early four-cylinder Clément. Chris Pettit carried out the majority of the restoration, which was completed in 2006.
During the restoration the incorrect pedals were replaced with replica items; the missing firewall renewed; a suitable oiler found; the gear and brake levers extended to their original length; the chassis repaired; and the rear axle rebuilt, the timing gears were replaced in the engine (originals included in the sale). A new body was built using period front seats (sourced in France) on a new base, while the bonnet and wings were copied from another Clément, as were the missing footplates. The car also incorporates the following upgrades: an electric self-starter, coil and magneto ignition, and a windscreen.
On completion the owner entered the 2006 London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run in the Clément, and in 2008 sold it to the current vendor, who purchased it as an upgrade from his twin-cylinder car of the same make. The car was thoroughly checked over at that time and since then has been used for three local events only.
With four cylinders, four-speed transmission and four seats, this extensively restored Veteran represents the ideal acquisition with which to enjoy future London-to-Brighton Runs.