Property from a Private European Collection,c.1898  Léon Bollée  3hp Tandem Two-seater   Chassis no. 954
Lot 212N
Property from a Private European Collection
c.1898 Léon Bollée 3hp Tandem Two-seater 
£45,000 - 55,000
US$ 59,000 - 72,000

Lot Details
Property from a Private European Collection,c.1898  Léon Bollée  3hp Tandem Two-seater   Chassis no. 954 Property from a Private European Collection,c.1898  Léon Bollée  3hp Tandem Two-seater   Chassis no. 954 Property from a Private European Collection,c.1898  Léon Bollée  3hp Tandem Two-seater   Chassis no. 954 Property from a Private European Collection,c.1898  Léon Bollée  3hp Tandem Two-seater   Chassis no. 954 Property from a Private European Collection,c.1898  Léon Bollée  3hp Tandem Two-seater   Chassis no. 954 Property from a Private European Collection,c.1898  Léon Bollée  3hp Tandem Two-seater   Chassis no. 954 Property from a Private European Collection,c.1898  Léon Bollée  3hp Tandem Two-seater   Chassis no. 954 Property from a Private European Collection,c.1898  Léon Bollée  3hp Tandem Two-seater   Chassis no. 954 Property from a Private European Collection,c.1898  Léon Bollée  3hp Tandem Two-seater   Chassis no. 954 Property from a Private European Collection,c.1898  Léon Bollée  3hp Tandem Two-seater   Chassis no. 954 Property from a Private European Collection,c.1898  Léon Bollée  3hp Tandem Two-seater   Chassis no. 954 Property from a Private European Collection,c.1898  Léon Bollée  3hp Tandem Two-seater   Chassis no. 954 Property from a Private European Collection,c.1898  Léon Bollée  3hp Tandem Two-seater   Chassis no. 954 Property from a Private European Collection,c.1898  Léon Bollée  3hp Tandem Two-seater   Chassis no. 954
Property from a Private European Collection
c.1898 Léon Bollée 3hp Tandem Two-seater 
Registration no. Not UK Registered
Chassis no. 954
* Pioneering French automobile 
* An icon of its era
* Potentially LBVCR and Pioneer run eligible
* Rare survivor 

Footnotes

  • Perhaps reacting against his father's total commitment to steam transport, young Léon Bollée saw greater potential in the internal combustion engine and designed his first such powered vehicle, a tandem two-seater, three-wheeler as early as 1895. Production was based at Le Mans and the single-cylinder, air-cooled, engine was offered in two versions developing either 2hp or 3hp, giving these machines an amazingly fast turn of speed. Three forward speeds were standard and the tubular frame owed much to bicycle manufacturing methods. Bollée's significant invention in this machine was the driving wheel axle carried by levers pivoted on the frame of the vehicle, allowing the movement of the axle backwards or forwards to increase or release belt tension for gear changing. The engine was mounted horizontally with radiating cooling ribs and ignition was by hot tube, using an oil-fired burner, a similar system to that of Panhard-Levassor. Contemporary motor racing driver, Charles Jarrott, in his standard work, 'Ten Years of Motors and Motor Racing' referred to the presence of Léon Bollées at the start of the 1896 London to Brighton Run as follows - 

    "Léon Bollée was there, with a small fleet of those extraordinary little machines invented by him, which always, to my mind resembled land torpedoes more than anything else." Léon and father Amédee Bollée and H.O. Duncan were to drive these vehicles in this landmark event. In 1897 Léon Bollées won The Motorcycle Cup, a major race organised and sponsored by 'La France Automobile', then as now qualifying for both motorcycle and car events. The Paris-Amsterdam Race, held in the same year, was won by Jamin on a Bollée, extraordinarily covering 170km in 4 hours and 13 minutes. 

    Léon Bollées are accepted for both the LBVCR and the equally prestigious Sunbeam M.C.C. Pioneer Run to Brighton. The late Sammy Davis, founder of the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain, was an energetic Léon Bollée driver and today they have a distinct appeal to more sporting sorts. 

    A natural fit for any collection of early cars or motorcycles, the Bollée offered here arrived in this collection a dozen years ago. Its history file includes a lot of correspondence and material regarding these machines and charts ownership back through to the mid 1980s when it had surfaced with a Monsieur P. Touzet of Martres-Tolosane in France. Prior to this, the Bollée is listed with an inscription to the French Club des Teuf-Teuf as early as 1950, when it was the property of Jules Bruyere, of Boulevard des Invalides, Paris. Photos show it to be in usable order at that time.

    It still sports its original chassis/manufacturer's plaque noting it to be number 954 of their production, this number being clearly stamped in its frame also, which when compared with other known survivors would seem to place it in the 1898 year of production. A number of other components around the driver's seat are stamped '26'. 

    The trike has been used in the current ownership, but not in recent years and so recommissioning would be advised. There can be no more authentic way of re-enacting the 1896 Emancipation Run than on one of these exciting (just ask the passenger!) 'land torpedoes'.
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