<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494

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Lot 360
The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.
c.1899 Société Parisienne Victoria Combination
Engine no. 15494

Sold for US$ 68,200 inc. premium
The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.
c.1899 Société Parisienne Victoria Combination
Engine no. 15494
Single Cylinder De Dion Bouton Engine
2¼bhp
2-Speed Manual Transmission
Full Elliptic Leaf Spring Rear Suspension
2-Wheel Rear Contracting Bad Brakes

*Rare early pioneering front-wheel drive motorcar
*Sympathetically restored
*Usable alternative to De Dion tricycles
*Offered from a prominent private collection


La Société Parisienne

Late in 1898 the French cycle firm La Société Parisienne, of 10 Avenue de la Grande-Armée, introduced a tiny front-wheel drive voiturette that it called the Victoria Combination. This consisted of a lightweight two-seater trailer of the pattern known as a 'Victoria', combined with the back axle and mechanical components of a motor tricycle, but this axle was placed in front of the trailer and steered by a long tiller on which the controls were located. The first examples were powered by 1¾ horsepower De Dion Bouton engines geared directly to the differential, but larger engines of this make were fitted as they became available.

Basic though these vehicles were, quality components were used in their construction. In addition to the popular and reliable De Dion Bouton engines which were fed by a Longuemare automatic carburettor, the front driving axles were obtained from Alexandre Darracq's Perfecta works, and the Victoria bodies were made by one of the city's leading coachbuilders: Alfred Belvallette. Once the larger 2¼ hp engine appeared in June 1899 gearing was added, generally that made to Monsieur J. Didier's patent and referred to by his name, although actually manufactured by Guyenet et Balvay.

The Victoria Combination was well reported in the period motoring press and examples successfully took part in a number of voiturette competitions. In the Paris-Rambouillet-Paris event of October 1899 a Victoria Combination with two people aboard covered the hilly 100 kilometer course at an averaged speed of 16 mph and won its class. The favorable publicity engendered, plus the simplicity of the vehicles and their low price of 3000 Francs – around $600 – made them popular, so much so that although the design was patented it was nevertheless pirated by a number of other makers. It is estimated that more than 400 Victoria Combinations had been sold by the time production ceased in mid-1901. Less than a dozen examples, or period copies thereof, are known to survive, but some of them have been fairly frequent and successful participants in the London to Brighton veteran car run over the years.

The Motorcar Offered

The vehicle on offer is the genuine article, bearing the Société Parisienne maker's plate, bodywork plate of Alfred Belvallette (number 425), 2¼ hp De Dion Bouton air-cooled engine (number 15494) of 1900, Longuemare carburetor, and Didier two-speed gear and clutch. The vendor acquired it many years ago from the late Henry Austin Clark Jr. of Long Island Automotive Museum fame, and it is believed that he obtained the vehicle from the estate of railroad magnate and financier George J Gould of Lakewood NJ. There is a photograph published in both American and British motoring journals in 1902 showing the Gould family with their various automobiles, one of which is a Victoria Combination which matches this example to perfection.

Sold by Bonhams in 2012 on behalf of long term custodian the late Ray Lindsay, at this point it joined the collection of a prominent collector of mainly early vehicles in the North East. In this tenure, his research has led him to believe that it may be slightly earlier than we had previously thought and that it could be a 19th Century vehicle hence our circa 1899 attribution today. The car was also lightly recommissioned and has been run and used on a few occasions since.

Front-wheel drive automobiles were very unusual in the pioneer period and this example offers the opportunity to obtain an attractive, authentic machine of good provenance that would provide a different kind of motoring experience and could potentially be used on the famed Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run in the UK.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that this vehicle is titled under its engine number and its title is in transit.
Contacts
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
<i>The ex-Henry Austin Clark Jr.</i><br /><B>c.1899 Soci&#233;t&#233; Parisienne Victoria Combination  </b><br />Engine no. 15494
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