1913 Th. Schneider 5.6-litre Grand Prix Two Seater  Chassis no. 14122 Engine no. 22

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Lot 645
1913 Th. Schneider 5.6-litre Grand Prix Two Seater
Registration no. M 5000 Chassis no. 14122 Engine no. 22

£ 120,000 - 150,000
US$ 160,000 - 200,000
1913 Th. Schneider 5.6-litre Grand Prix Two Seater
Registration no. M 5000
Chassis no. 14122
Engine no. 22
Company founder Théodore Schneider was a racer at heart – he had taken part in competition at the tiller of a Rochet-Schneider (a company he had also founded) as early as 1896– so it was quite in character that he should enter a team of four cars for the 1913 French Grand Prix, each fitted with a 26hp, four-cylinder, monobloc engine of 5.6-litre capacity with a bore and stroke of 96 x 190mm. Bosch dual ignition was standard and the engine drove through a cone clutch to a four-speed gearbox. The cars were distinctive with their scuttle-mounted 14 gallon capacity radiators. Four of France’s leading racing drivers were selected to campaign the Team Cars in this gruelling race, Croquet, Gabriel, Champoiseau and Thomas. The race took place over 29 laps of the twisting, undulating and in places dangerously narrow Circuit de Picardie course. It was an inglorious event for Th. Schneider, Champoiseau finishing in 7th place at an average speed of 65.1mph, and Thomas and Croquet came 9th and 10th respectively. Gabriel, famed as the victor of the 1903 Paris-Madrid race, drove car no 12, which retired from the race on lap 4.
This car may well be Gabriel’s car from that race. Like several other Edwardian racing cars, it has had a chequered history. The first recorded Grand Prix Th. Schneider in England was the car purchased in 1924 by Edgell Baxter from George Newman’s emporium in Euston Road, London, Newman selling the car to Baxter with the story that Captain Duff had lapped Brooklands in it at 98mph. Baxter handed over £65 for the car which served as a fast and exciting family car for three years. The car was kept at Baxter’s works and when his company collapsed the Th. Schneider finished up in the next-door scrapyard.
Its ultimate fate is not recorded: however Veteran Car Club stalwart Ted Woolley discovered this engine, gearbox, radiator and other parts mounted in the front half of the chassis and bolted to a massive iron frame. It had been used for driving a water pump and generating plant in a mill near Kettering.
Despite a most careful search the remainder of the car could not be located. Woolley wrote to the Mayor of Besancon in France, where these cars were built, seeking contact with former Th. Schneider employees and was fortunate to receive a reply from Th. Schneider’s former racing team manager who was then in his 80’s. Woolley travelled to France and was regaled with stories of the four racing cars entered in the 1913 French Grand Prix. Further good fortune through this contact resulted in the location of suitable parts for this car and the discovery of a similar chassis, probably from a production car. The rear part of this chassis was grafted on to the front part by Rubery Owen and the car was finally put together by VSCC Past President, the late John Rowley. The car was completed in 1971 and following Rowley’s ownership it passed to yet another VSCC. Past President, Tom Threlfall, who campaigned it enthusiastically. In 1988 it was acquired by the present owner. In his book ‘The Cars from Besancon 1900-1930’ Mark Douezy records that ‘It is very possible that some of Baxter’s car components, and particularly the engine, are in Roger Firth’s Grand Prix car. The engine is one of the units that were used on the racing cars and a small series of 28CV sport.’
The engine conforms to the specification of the four racing cars, differing from the production “Grand Prix de Picardie” models in having a higher compression ratio, special camshaft, lightened, tubular connecting rods and lighter pistons by Derihon (which are with the car but not fitted). It appears that the cylinder blocks used in the Grand Prix cars differ from the production models in that the four valve caps are held by four large iron bars for quick release and the plug holes are cast into the block on the offside in separate chambers and not located in the valve caps. It is thought that engine no.22 is more than likely to be from Gabriel’s car from the 1913 race.
This car has been actively and successfully campaigned in both VSCC and VCC events since 1971. In 1991 its importance was recognised by the French Government who had the car on loan at the celebrations covering the Centenary year of the motor car in Paris. By invitation this car has also taken part on four occasions in demonstrations at the Nürburgring in Germany and in 1998 it participated in the G.P. de l’Age d’Or at Montlhéry.
This exciting Edwardian racer is presented in full running order, sits on 880 x 120mm tyres and driver’s equipment includes a (wholly inadequate) Smiths 0-60mph speedometer, oil and fuel pressure gauges and a rev counter. As well as the beaded edge wheels as fitted, it comes with a set of well base wheels, together with front and rear wings (not illustrated). The car is VCC Dated and carries Plate No.1274 and comes with a VSCC buff form. It is currently licensed and MoT’d to September 2005.
1913 Th. Schneider 5.6-litre Grand Prix Two Seater  Chassis no. 14122 Engine no. 22
1913 Th. Schneider 5.6-litre Grand Prix Two Seater  Chassis no. 14122 Engine no. 22
1913 Th. Schneider 5.6-litre Grand Prix Two Seater  Chassis no. 14122 Engine no. 22
1913 Th. Schneider 5.6-litre Grand Prix Two Seater  Chassis no. 14122 Engine no. 22
1913 Th. Schneider 5.6-litre Grand Prix Two Seater  Chassis no. 14122 Engine no. 22
1913 Th. Schneider 5.6-litre Grand Prix Two Seater  Chassis no. 14122 Engine no. 22
1913 Th. Schneider 5.6-litre Grand Prix Two Seater  Chassis no. 14122 Engine no. 22
1913 Th. Schneider 5.6-litre Grand Prix Two Seater  Chassis no. 14122 Engine no. 22
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