Offered from the Fabergé Museum in Baden-Baden, Germany
c.1910 Peugeot 660cc V-Twin
Engine no. 25971
Formerly producers of tools, coffee mills, umbrella spikes and corsetry, Peugeot commenced its long-standing connection with transportation in 1885 when it added cycle manufacture to its portfolio. The second oldest motor manufacturer in the world, the company commenced car production in 1889 with a steam-powered tri-car but soon abandoned steam in favour of the internal combustion engine, building a succession of ever larger automobiles before introducing the first of its famous Bébé light cars in 1900.
Also one of the pioneering firms of the French motorcycle industry, Peugeot followed the familiar progression: first adding proprietary clip-on engines to its bicycles before building complete machines of its own manufacture. The first Peugeot was manufactured in 1882; at this time the firm was known as Peugeot Frères but, as more family members joined, changed its name to Les Fils de Peugeot Frères in 1889. In 1902 Peugeot adopted the Werner brothers' layout for a motorcycle, which placed the engine between the two wheels, thus improving weight distribution and handling, though assistance for the engine by means of bicycle pedals would remain a feature for some years to come. Truffault swing-arm suspension was adopted on some Peugeot models for 1904, making them among the world's most advanced.
Having relied hitherto on proprietary power units, the firm introduced its own v-twin engine in 1906. Using one of these Peugeot motors, Norton-mounted Rem Fowler won the inaugural Isle of Man TT race in 1907, and the French make featured prominently in the first ever motorcycle race to be held at Brooklands, when on Easter Monday 1908, a brace of Peugeot-powered NLGs finished 1st and 2nd.
The works Peugeots were a dominant force in motorcycle racing in the years immediately before and after WWI, thanks to a succession of innovative overhead-camshaft designs by Jean Antoinescu. A wide range of machines was manufactured between the wars, but after WW2 the firm concentrated mainly on the manufacture of two-stroke lightweights, mopeds and, following the Italian lead, scooters.
Dating from around 1910, this Edwardian Peugeot features direct belt drive, magneto ignition, V-block rear brake, luggage box and kerosene headlight, and has the optional Truffault leading-link front fork. A 'Motocycle Club de France' plaque is fixed to the luggage box. Well restored some time ago, the machine was purchased at Bonhams' sale of the Richard C Paine Jr Collection at Owls Head, Maine in September 2008 (Lot 806) and since acquisition has formed part of the Fabergé Museum collection in Germany. Described at that time as one of the Collection's best-presented and most collectible motorcycles, it is offered with bill of sale dated 10th July 1998 recording the transfer of ownership from Howard Lane to the Richard C Paine Jr Trust.