Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1
Lot 215N
Property from a Private European Collection
1898 Germain 6hp Twin Cylinder Open Drive Limousine 
£150,000 - 220,000
US$ 200,000 - 290,000

Lot Details
Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1 Property from a Private European Collection,1898  Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine   Chassis no. 1
Property from a Private European Collection
1898 Germain 6hp Twin-Cylinder Open Drive Limousine 
Registration no. not UK registered
Chassis no. 1
* Rare Belgian pre-1900 automobile
* Understood to be the prototype Germain car
* Retained by Germain until 1964
* Sympathetically restored

Footnotes

  • The Paris-Bordeaux-Paris race of 1895 had demonstrated, mainly thanks to Panhard-Lavassor and Peugeot, the superiority of the petrol engine over their steam and electric competitors. A group of Belgian industrialists, upon this observation, formed a group to study this new form of Automobile. They acquired several vehicles from Panhard-Levassor, Benz, Mors, Delahaye and Léon Bollée in order to study them more closely as a viable form of transportation for their own country. 
     
    The Ateliers Germain, located in Monceau-sur-Sambre, was a participating member of this group and had made the decision in 1897 to undertake the construction of automobiles. Up until that point their efforts were focused on manufacturing railway equipment, so a new special workshop was built and fitted with precision tools specifically to produce vehicles. Initially, a workforce of 200 men built the 2 cylinder 6V model with 6 horsepower. The first finished product rolled out of the factory on June 25, 1898 with many more to follow in the coming months. By the end of 1898, the factory had involved itself in manufacturing Elan carts under license, and in April 1900, they added a 12 horsepower 4 cylinder, known as the 12CV, into the range of products. 
     
    In 1902, Germain acquired the license from Loppart and Cie to construct the Renault light-duty car for Belgium. These Renaults featured seriously reinforced front and rear axles to resist the rough Belgian roads and were built with a new range of 7.5, 10, 15 and 20 HP motors in the Panhard system format. In the beginning of 1903, many commercial vehicles were also manufactured, from a 500-kilogram truck to the 5-tonne payload truck, and later that year, an experimental bus was provided to the city of London.

    In December 1903, the factory exhibited at the Salon de Paris the new Germain Standard series which would turn out to be a great success. There were three four-cylinder models, the 16/22, the 24/32 and the 35/45. In 1904 business was prosperous, and exports, especially to England, flourished, and Germain celebrated the exit of their thousandth carriage. 

    Ateliers Germain would perpetuate well in the 1960s before merging with Société Anglo-Franco-Belge to form Etablissements Germain Anglo, but automobile manufacture had long since been left by the wayside in place of railcars. Throughout this time, the company was known to have kept its first Panhard-Levassor derived automobile. In 1964, following the merger, a well known Belgian car enthusiast, Eugène Segers approached the concern and was able to negotiate its purchase. The fascinating correspondence and photographs on file chart the acquisition and show the car to have been in remarkably complete order. 

    Writing to M. Segers on 31st December 1964, the modern Germain company states 'the Germain car that we sell is dated 1898' 'it is the prototype which has never left the factory before this day and has never been registered.' Such a provenance could hardly be more simple...
     
    For a passionate collector such as Segers to have acquired this car must have been the equivalent of the finding the Holy Grail and understandably he would retain it for many years. Approximately two decades ago the present owner was able to acquire it for his collection where it has resided ever since. Used regularly when first purchased, in recent years it has been used far less and like others in the group we advise recommissioning before returning it to the road. 

    The Germain is the jewel of this fascinating collection. Its limousine coachwork typifies its period, with the whole panel on which the passenger sits swinging out to allow access to the rear compartment. There are no coachbuilder plaques evident, suggesting that it may well have been Germain's own workmanship. Viewed carefully it is easy to see the genus of the early Panhard-Levassor, and its separate lever for forward and reverse in addition to the gear change would seemingly place it as the equivalent of their M2F series. Interestingly all of the hubs are marked Ateliers Germain with an inset script of Phenix Levassor. 

    Preserved by its own manufacturer for more than half its life and cherished ever since, this incredibly rare formal Victorian automobile is deserving of close attention and would make a cornerstone piece to any early car collection. 
Activities
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N NOVA declaration

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    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
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