De Dion-Bouton Tricycle

By 1900, France had a burgeoning motor industry, the world’s foremost, with eleven manufacturers turning out nearly 5,000 cars and numerous independent assemblers selling tricycles and voiturettes composed of mechanisms that had come from various manufacturers. A common example of the genre consisted of a De Dion-Bouton high-speed engine in one of Alexandre Darracq’s tubular Perfecta frames. Many of these were tricycles, but the configuration was easily converted to quadricycle form by substituting a steerable forecar with a tricycle’s front fork.

Perfecta frames came with handle bars, pedals and hubs but no saddle, engine, transmission or wheels. These would all be procured and installed by the assembler, most of whose names were lost to time. A typical drive train included a Bozier two-speed epicyclic gearbox and cone clutch.

This excellent 1-3/4 hp air-cooled De Dion-Bouton tricycle dates back to circa 1899 and, like all pre-1900 examples, is devoid of a front-hub brake. It has the elegant maker’s badge on the surface carburettor and the desirable and optional aluminium cover for the main drive gear. The pedal chain is the proper block type, not the commonly found modern bicycle chain. Accompanied by a DVLA form V-5, it can easily be registered in the United Kingdom with the number BS8362, which it bore during its previous residency. It was awarded with a Science Museum certification in 1994 and by the Sunbeam Motorcycle Club in November 2002. An authenticated veteran, it comes with a dating certificate from The Society of Automotive Historians Inc. and is ready to campaign the London-to-Brighton run.

RM Auction of Aalholm Automobile Collection on August 12, 2012

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Fluid Images

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