c.1904 De Dion Bouton 8hp Model V Rear Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 491

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Lot 868
c.1904 De Dion Bouton 8hp Model V Rear Entrance Tonneau
Chassis no. 491

Sold for US$ 150,000 inc. premium
c.1904 De Dion Bouton 8hp Model V Rear Entrance Tonneau
Chassis no. 491
The foundation of the automobile was laid by Comte Andre De Dion. Starting out in partnership with George Bouton and Charles Trépardoux they first built steam-powered small boats, then turned their attention to road vehicles. De Dion soon became convinced of the potential for internal combustion engines to surpass steam in power, weight and portability. Trépardoux did not share his conviction and his name disappears from the company in 1894.

It was at this point that Establissements De Dion-Bouton S.A. turned its attention solely to internal combustion engines, initially creating a 137cc single cylinder engine which, through one simple innovation, made the spark ignition engine as it is known today possible. It was the then-revolutionary concept of mechanically timing the spark so it always took place at exactly the same place in the crankshaft’s travel.

Adjustment of the timing became, until the creation of effective throttle control and carburetors, the primary means of controlling a spark ignition engine’s crankshaft speed and remains over a hundred years later essential for power, torque, economy and low emissions.

While De Dion Bouton built complete vehicles, from motorized bicycles through tricycles and lightweight quadricycles, it was as an engine manufacturer that the company made its greatest contribution to the growth of the automobile. De Dion Bouton sold engines and, even more importantly, licenses to manufacture their engines to anyone. Their licensed manufacturers formed the basis of companies which would define the automobile business including Packard, Peerless and Pierce-Arrow in the United States.

Literally tens of thousands of De Dion Bouton engines were built before the first decade of the new century was half over and their ubiquity is an important statement about the company’s importance. De Dion Bouton engines were inexpensive (Samuel Langley acquired one in 1900 to use in his aviation experiments for only $115.80) and inspired hundreds of inventive engineers and mechanics to strive to do better, faster, more powerful while teaching them the rudiments of the Otto cycle spark ignition engine.

Bonhams has researched The Paine Collection’s De Dion Bouton with two of the best versed experts on these cars, namely Malcolm Jeal and Rory Sinclair, both former members of the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain’s Dating Committee. Working from photographs, in their considered view, the engine number 15152, which is stamped on crankcase, block and timing cover, and gearbox casing number 7994 are both consistent with those on cars made by De Dion Bouton in 1904, and therefore also the Type V plate which the car wears on its dash. The Type V, was introduced in 1904 and was powered by an 8hp 942cc inlet over exhaust engine with atmospheric intake valve actuation, and three speed with reverse transmission. On the basis of these findings the car could well prove to be eligible for the famed British London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, when returned to the road.

With righthand drive, wheel steering and a pair of brass kerosene sidelights it represents the latest thinking at De Dion Bouton, important steps in design, construction and coachwork ahead of the firm’s earlier quadricycles. The front seat and forward portions of the body appear to be very old while the tonneau is later. While it can serve, as it did in the Seal Cove Museum, as an important example of the contribution of one of the pioneers of the automobile, it will also be the basis for a rewarding and instructive restoration.

The Marquis De Dion (he acceded to that title upon the death of his father in 1901) not only was a patron of the automobile, he was an active inventor, designer and contributor to the automobile’s design and concept. Arguably, there is no more seminal figure, one through whose hands so many aspects passed, from the engines and automobiles themselves to the development of accurate road maps and organization of the first, pioneering automobile club.
c.1904 De Dion Bouton 8hp Model V Rear Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 491
c.1904 De Dion Bouton 8hp Model V Rear Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 491
c.1904 De Dion Bouton 8hp Model V Rear Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 491
c.1904 De Dion Bouton 8hp Model V Rear Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 491
c.1904 De Dion Bouton 8hp Model V Rear Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 491
c.1904 De Dion Bouton 8hp Model V Rear Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 491
c.1904 De Dion Bouton 8hp Model V Rear Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 491
c.1904 De Dion Bouton 8hp Model V Rear Entrance Tonneau  Chassis no. 491
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