Founded in 1903 by Baron Charles Petiet, the Ariès company was based at Asnières and then at Villeneuve-la-Garenne close to the Aster factory which supplied many of its engines. Ariès is Latin for ‘ram’ and symbolises power. The car maker soon became known for its reliable, high-quality products. Initially targeting middle-class customers for its private cars, Ariès quickly diversified and from 1907 offered more modest vehicles. At the same time, the French company produced from the start goods vehicles and lorries, which were widely used during the First World War. Ariès offered a wide range of vehicles, fitted with different engines including the single-cylinder fitted to the VT small car in 1908, the first French V6 engine developed in 1910 and, in 1912, a sleeve-valved engine built under licence from Knight. Despite this varied output, the company lacked both a strong brand image and sufficient industrial power. Only 20,000 vehicles rolled off the production lines in 35 years. Faced with the financial crisis of the 1930s, Petiet threw in the towel and the make disappeared in 1938.
The Ariès we are presenting here is a CB4 L-series model, an elegant four-seat ‘torpedo’. It is fitted with a 9HP four-cylinder engine with overhead inlet valves and side exhaust and a Cozette downdraught carburettor. According to the factory register, it was apparently built in 1932, but the car’s registration papers suggest that it was first registered in January 1930. An extremely rare, if not unique, feature of this example is that the body is styled differently at the rear, with a sharply pointed tail like an aircraft fuselage, which may be a so-called ‘Bordino tail’, designed by the Italian racing driver Pietro Bordino and originally intended to reduce aerodynamic turbulence on racing cars. Inside the engine compartment is a plate from the firm Eugène Affouard in Asnières, which was founded in 1930 and taken over by Chausson in the 1970s. The company specialised in boiler making and sheet metal work. Acquired by Monsieur B in 1972, the Ariès was only completely restored at the end of the 1990s, as can be seen from the numerous invoices on file. Its aubergine-coloured bodywork with black sills and wings gives it a superb appearance. Once again, the restoration was carried out thoughtfully and to a high standard, Monsieur B having taken the trouble to preserve part of the snakeskin-style upholstery on the door cards and rear seat, as well as on the dashboard. This Ariès CB4L is absolutely magnificent and probably one of a kind; it represents an unparalleled opportunity to acquire an exceptional collector’s item.
Aguttes – Auction House in Paris
The Autumn Sale 2020 / 13th of December