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C.1899 VIVINUS 3½HP TWO-SEATER VOITURETTE 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
C.1899 VIVINUS 3½HP TWO-SEATER VOITURETTE
REGISTRATION NO. NOT UK REGISTERED
ENGINE NO. 85
* Rare Belgian Veteran car
* Two family ownerships reported since new
* Sympathetically restored
£20,000 - 25,000
€22,000 - 28,000
As so many manufacturers in Europe and around the world would do, Belgian Alexis Vivinus advanced his bicycle business into the nascent motorcar industry in the 1890s. His first foray was to import Benz cars under licence, but it wasn't long before he focused on building his own automobile from scratch.
Not surprisingly he used a simple bicycle type framework, with an air-cooled single cylinder at the front, transferred by belt drive, like a Benz.
Ateliers Vivinus S.A. was founded in Belgium in 1899 and the market from his perspective seems to have been to get people on the roads in a simple user friendly way. While there were more luxurious options even by then, a measure of his success must come from the fact that it wasn't long before his own products were being licenced in other countries. The New Orleans here in the U.K. and early Georges-Richard cars in France being Vivinus clones.
As one might expect, the example in this collection is a very good original car. It is understood to have been discovered near Louvain in Belgium in 1986 and according to information on file was by that point with a Roger de Vlieghere a descendent of the original purchaser when new! Photos of the car at this time show it to be in good and complete order, but in need of refurbishment.
Acquired for the collection, a comprehensive restoration ensued bringing it to the condition it is today. Its use since has only been quite sporadic and it remains in very presentable order.
A light early car, as with its licenced counterparts the date of manufacture is almost certain to predate the turn of the 19/20th century and as such it would make a fine early start on the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.