c.1918 De Dion Bouton Model HD 15cv 2.9litre Charabanc Registration no. DS 7970 Chassis no. HD 22751 Engine no. 183240
The French publication L'Autocatalogue listed the De Dion Bouton Model HD as a 1918 model with a bore and stroke of 85x130mm, displacing 2,940cc and rated in France as 15cv. Although L'Autocatalogue did not list the model for 1919, The Motor magazine in England in March 1919 listed the Model HD, referring to it as 20/24hp and RAC rated at 24.2hp. They referred to the production of the 20/24hp model in war years for use by French Army Staff Officers and referred to De Dion's real advantage in having this model in production to satisfy post-war demand.
The HD was robustly manufactured and mechanically conventional in all respects, the four cylinder side valve engine driving through a four speed gearbox, spark being provided by a Victrix magneto of De Dion Bouton's own manufacture. De Dion coachwork was built in house in the company's state of the art factory at Rue Jean Jaures near Puteaux in the immediate post-war years. It seems likely that production of the Model HD continued into the 1920s as The Motor referred to availability of the model from May 1919 following regrouping after the war. The chassis number of this vehicle may suggest manufacture in 1920 although we recommend further research as it is possible that military models were re-commissioned by the factory for civilian use.
When imported from France into the UK in the 1980s it was suggested that it had seen service in The Great War, later passing into service with the police and subsequently serving as a fire tender on a French airfield. It was then restored and used by a restaurant as a very distinguished courtesy bus. The vehicle was acquired by a consortium of enthusiasts at Bonhams 1995 sale at The Natural History Museum, its three rows of seats, with one for the driver too, proving ideal for jolly charabanc outings to hostelries in the Cheshire area. Improvements during this ownership have included the fitting of a new hood and clutch and the big ends were done about ten years ago.
This rare commercial, eligible for the prestigious HCVS London to Brighton Run, is smartly presented in green livery and comes equipped with electric lighting, oil sidelamps, snug sidescreens, running board mounted two gallon petrol can, Michelin type disc wheels and a useful luggage carrier. It is described as being in good mechanical order, is UK registered and comes with a Swansea V5C document, old French documentation, a good history file relating to the marque De Dion Bouton and several old MoT certificates.