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1902 DE DION BOUTON TYPE L 6HP VIS-À-VIS For Sale by AuctionBonhams are delighted to offer at our forthcoming Collectors' Motor Car Auction on Friday 3rd November at The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run Sale, New Bond Street, London, 26 veteran motor cars – plus 200 lots of automobilia. The full online catalogue can be viewed at www.bonhams.com/24123. For further images and information on this lot, please follow the link.
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
1902 DE DION BOUTON TYPE L 6HP VIS-À-VIS
REGISTRATION NO. NOT UK REGISTERED
ENGINE NO. 8494
* A rare example of the definitive rear engined De Dion
* Ex-Charbonneaux collection
* Good original car
* Eligible for De Dion Bouton Club UK Events and more
£55,000 - 70,000
€61,000 - 78,000
To be sold without reserve
In 1899 De Dion Bouton began marketing a 3½ horsepower voiturette, an all new generation of four wheel motorcar with rear mounted engine driving through a system of gears to the rear wheels. Then a more powerful 4½hp engine was offered in those vis-à-vis models from October 1900 as the new model for 1901. A light tubular chassis frame was used and with this 498cc power unit the car had a comfortable speed of 25mph. Finally in 1902 just prior to the introduction of their famed front-engined Populaire models, a definitive rear-engined car was offered, being listed as a Type L.
The 'L' ostensibly had the same structure of its predecessors, but by now a 6hp 700cc engine was provided. With little additional weight, it can safely be assumed that these cars went rather well and perhaps not surprisingly more brakes were required! The Vis-a-vis offered here appears to be one of those very late examples. Comparison with Michael Edwards recent publication on these early cars suggests that it conforms to that specification. It is listed as such on its old French registration, albeit the type plate no longer seems to be fitted to the car.
The De Dion seems to be a very authentic example of its breed with all the hallmark features of original coachwork, its body being numbered 826 in the wood surround beneath the driver's seat and even the mounting points for its dais top being integral to the body design. Its radiator carries original plaques for 'G.A.' standing for Grouvelle et Arquembourg a noted component supplier and so clearly also an original feature. A later Besnard acetylene lighting system is presently fitted.
This was one of the most recent a acquisitions for the collection, the current owner purchasing it at auction in France in 2010. There it had been offered by Monsieur Philippe Michel, and a copy of a French registration document confirms it to have previously been part of the noted collection of Philippe Charbonneaux at St. Dizier in the 1970s.
In more recent times the De Dion has received some cosmetic attention with new button-back leather seats and seat squabs, but it is not clear when it was last run and so recommissioning is advised.
In the last few years exhaustive research by a number of De Dion enthusiasts has enabled clarification of model specifics for these early cars, which provides little doubt that this would be accepted for Veteran Car Services dating as being built no later than 1902. As such it would of course be eligible for the Bonhams sponsored London to Brighton Run, as well De Dion Bouton Club UK events. And while it might start a little later than other Vis-à-Vis models, its 6hp engine is sure to help catch the rest quickly!