1905 Germain 5.7 litre, 32.2hp Royal Tonneau  Engine no. 1213

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Lot 714
1905 Germain 5.7 litre, 32.2hp Royal Tonneau
Registration no. IK 2239 Engine no. 1213

Sold for £ 161,000 (US$ 197,496) inc. premium
1905 Germain 5.7 litre, 32.2hp Royal Tonneau
Coachwork by Carrosserie Van den Plas, Bruxelles

Registration no. IK 2239
Engine no. 1213


  • There are few Edwardian motor cars that can truly be described as having ‘attitude’, but this chain-driven grand tourer from one of Belgium’s pre-eminent manufacturers certainly qualifies – perhaps the ideal motor car for ‘Mr Toad’ and his family. SA des Ateliers Germain were pioneers in the Belgian motor industry, commencing manufacture as early as 1897, constructing Phoenix-Daimlers under licence. Their early models were all Daimler inspired, however by 1905 their quality luxury cars reflected significant Panhard influence, the larger chain-driven cars reflecting in no small way the influence of the great Gordon Bennett races. Close by at Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Van den Plas had established their new factory in 1903, producing bespoke coachwork for such renowned marques as Berliet, De Dion Bouton, Metallurgique and Panhard-Levassor. Naturally they were to receive commissions from Germain to clothe several of their chassis and this is just one such car with exquisitely elegant coachwork by Van den Plas of Bruxelles.

    This car is powered by a four-cylinder engine, each cylinder being separately cast and with brass water jackets. The engine drives through a four-speed sliding gearbox with final drive by side chains. Careful measuring of the stroke of this engine identifies the car as having an engine of 5,716cc with a bore and stroke of 114 x 140mm and RAC horsepower rating of 32.2hp, marketed in England as the 24hp model.

    The ‘Royal Tonneau’ coachwork of this car, (known outside its native country as Roi-de-Belges), is handsomely finished in blue livery and retains its original buttoned and pleated black upholstery. Accessories and furnishings are of exceptional quality including Éclaireur Elliptique headlamps by Bleriot of Paris, supplied by Weldhen & Bleriot, Sole Concessionaires for British Empire, Ducellier brass oil side lamps and a Lucas rear oil lamp completes the lighting set. Driving equipment includes a rear-mounted Stepney wheel, a hand-wind klaxon, a nearside running board-mounted tool box, hood and windscreen, (not currently fitted). Dashboard equipment includes a coil box containing four trembler coils for the dual ignition system, a dash clock and a Gauthier & Trenteliures oil box. A charming feature of the car is the nearside running board-mounted folding occasional seat which would generally be occupied by the chauffeur when ‘Mr Toad’ took the wheel.

    This car, clearly from affluent and distinguished early ownership, was laid up at Ballsbridge in Ireland in the mid-1920’s. It was acquired by the Lucey family in 1974 from the long term ownership of Dublin painter Paul Egestorff, the eccentric and prolific collector from whom Denis Lucey was later to acquire the 1900 Argyll. Egestorff had not used the Germain during his ownership. It was found to be in exceptionally original condition and minimal restoration was required to put this important Edwardian back on the road. The Germain was the largest car in the Lucey Collection and certainly a favourite because of its outstanding road-going performance, its top speed being limited seemingly only by the driver’s nerve and the car’s capacity to stop.

    The car was last used in May 2005 for a family wedding and has since been carefully stored. Only gentle recommissioning will be required to restore this powerful, imposing and superior quality European motor car to the open road.

Saleroom notices

  • This car comes with a buff log book recording ownership by G R Goodfellow of Morehampton Road, County Dublin, in 1922.
1905 Germain 5.7 litre, 32.2hp Royal Tonneau  Engine no. 1213
1905 Germain 5.7 litre, 32.2hp Royal Tonneau  Engine no. 1213
1905 Germain 5.7 litre, 32.2hp Royal Tonneau  Engine no. 1213
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