1906 CGV 20hp TC1 Landaulet Coachwork by Pingret, Guion et Breteau Registration no. not UK registered Chassis no. 3029 Engine no. 2333
Established in Puteaux, Seine in 1901, CGV took its initials from those of its three founders: Messrs Fernand Charron, Léonce Girardot and Émile Voigt, all of whom had been successful racing drivers for Panhard. Of the trio, Charron had enjoyed the greatest success, winning the Marseilles-Nice and Paris-Amsterdam-Paris races in 1898 as well as the inaugural Gordon Bennett Cup of 1901. Prior to the foundation of CGV, Charron and Girardot had been partners in a Panhard dealership and CGV's first automobiles were designed along similar lines, albeit noticeably lower-slung. The first CGV was powered by a 3.3-litre 15/20hp four-cylinder engine driving the rear wheels via a four-speed gearbox and chain final drive. A steel-reinforced wooden chassis was used, featuring transverse-leaf springing at the rear. Amazingly, the fledgling firm then produced the world's first straight-eight engine, which was exhibited in a prototype model at the 1902 Paris Salon. There was immense interest but it never entered production. CGV soon acquired a reputation for quality and an equally distinguished clientele, which included the King of Portugal, various lesser European royals and members of the British aristocracy. It was imported into the USA and sold there as the 'American CGV' while a limited number were actually assembled in New York and delivered with locally built coachwork. By 1905 the early models' atmospheric inlet valves had been dropped and the range had expanded to include 'T-head' fours of up to 9.8 litres, some with shaft drive. Despite CGV's success, the partnership was in crisis: Girardot and Voigt left to pursue other projects and for 1907 the cars were badged as 'Charron', continuing as such when Fernand Charron left to join Clément-Bayard in 1908. Little is known of the history of this CGV landaulet prior to 1982, when it was offered for sale in 'barn find' condition at Hershey and bought by Bill Winslow of Chicago. Five years later the car was sold and imported into the UK by Stephen Langton Limited, from whom it was purchased in 1992 by the immediately preceding owner. While in the latter's possession, the car underwent extensive renovation: the engine being rebuilt by David Harrison, the chassis by Peter Shaw, the radiator by Mike Dolby and the wheels including new beaded-edge rims by David Bysouth. The bodywork was removed and repaired prior to repainting; the window frames remade and re-glazed; and the wings, skirts, driver's compartment and rear hood section re-trimmed in leather. Some £47,000 is reputed to have been spent on the car, not including the initial purchase price. Acquired by the current vendor in 2005, the vehicle is presented in generally excellent, fully restored condition apart from the rear compartment, which needs to be re-trimmed and completed. Not used since restoration, this imposing Edwardian motor car is offered with a file containing import papers, a list of work carried out by Peter Shaw and David Harrison (including the letter's drawings) and various 'as found' and during-restoration photographs. Interestingly, this CGV was invited to appear on the BBC 2 Television programme, Top Gear as the earliest car with a 'modern' pedal layout, though the owner declined the invitation. One wonders why.