1913 De Dion Bouton

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1913
  • Car type 
    Other
  • Country VAT 
    IT
  • Lot number 
    1
  • Drive 
    RHD
  • Condition 
    Used
  • Number of seats 
    2
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Green
  • Drivetrain 
    2wd
  • Fuel type 
    Petrol

Description

• A car of a fabled marque from the earliest days of the motorization.
• An excellent opportunity, in a great moment to buy an ancêtre.
• “Fin de siècle” details in an already modern car in many aspects.
• Completely restored.

The model

The company was founded in Puteaux by Jules-Albert De Dion, by George Bouton and by his brother-in-law Charles Trépardoux. They started building steam-powered cars in 1883. Ten years later, steam tractors were produced, designed to tow carriages and using an innovative rear suspension design, that would become famous as De Dion axle, where the function of direction and transmission of the axis of the wheel are separated. This system was futuristic and effective, especially in sports and is still used on some vehicles. Bouton was later responsible for introducing the spark plug as we know it today, with the threaded stem, easy to disassemble. In 1893, de Dion became convinced that the future was in the internal combustion engine. Trépardoux was not convinced and left the company. In 1895 the company began to produce petrol cars with a small single-cylinder engine. A new small single cylinder engine of 137 cc was built which turned at the unprecedented speed of 3000 rpm and had electric ignition. It was applied to a chassis based on a three-wheeled bicycle. The company soon started producing engines for other companies. Finally, over 150 other companies used their engines. In 1898 the three-wheeler was joined by a four-wheel model and in 1900 by a vis-a-vis carriage with the engine under the seat and rear-wheel drive via a two-speed gearbox: it was the Populaire model. In 1900, De Dion-Bouton was the world's largest automaker, producing 400 cars and 3200 engines. A factory was also opened in Brooklyn, New York and, thanks to De Dion-Bouton, the first road map was published. By 1901 the De Dion-Bouton Company was firmly established as both a successful innovator and a manufacturer of high quality engines and motor vehicles in Europe. The engine was placed front in 1903 and a reverse gear also appeared. Multi-cylinder models were added that year with the two-cylinder 1728 cc Type S, followed in 1904 by the four-cylinder 2545 cc. Type AD. The cars also became more “conventional”, with the radiator placed on the front of the engine and the clutch control changed from a lever to a pedal. By the end of 1904, De Dion-Bouton had established an enviable reputation for the performance of its single and twin-cylinder engines, ignition systems and transmission, coupled with a robust lightweight chassis suitable for a wide range of two and four-seater coachwork. The motor car industry, barely a decade old, was going through a period of dynamic change with the early stages of mass production, improved machine tooling, different types of customers emerging, new commercial opportunities and rising competition. In the years from 1905 to 1914 De Dion-Bouton met these challenges with a mixture of innovation and entrepreneurship, launching eighty-two different types of vehicles in single, twin, four and eight-cylinder configurations. Many of De Dion-Bouton’s innovations were well established, reliable and effective. However, they were no longer ‘cutting edge’ or fashionable, and the company was acutely aware of the need to demonstrate a willingness to change, regardless of how difficult, expensive, and perhaps sometimes unnecessary, that might be. Whilst in 1904 the earl De Dion was convinced that the future prosperity of the Company lay in small vehicles and trucks, within four years the decision was taken to focus on four cylinder vehicles. By 1909 margins on single cylinder cars had been tightly squeezed and the success of the 12hp four cylinder Type BH had persuaded the management to cease production of the 10hp twin cylinders. The four cylinder cars had various engine configurations: small cars had engines of 10/12hp; mid-sized cars were equipped with 14/18hp power units, and the top of the range vehicles had 25/30hp options, adequate for formal landaulet coachwork. The growth of the commercial vehicle business for trucks and buses, for which the larger four cylinder engines were necessary, also offered improved economies of scale. Competition, especially in the small and mid-sized four cylinder sectors, was fierce and the large-scale operations of some American manufacturers, notably Ford, were already depressing showroom prices. The enticing opportunity, something which the earl De Dion generally found difficult to resist, was the launch of an eight cylinder engine, with its potential advantages of brand profile and strong margins. The De Dion-Bouton was the first with a mass-produced V8 engine, a unit with 35 horsepower, in 1910. Generally, the Company promoted a limited number of models every year, usually around five to seven. From 1910 to 1914 this number doubled. This abundance of passenger vehicle (88 models and 26 different engine configurations in 10 years), in addition to the commercial vehicle activity, was in stark contrast to many of their competitors, who undertook less development but sold more vehicles. During World War I the factory produced weapons components, armored vehicles and aircraft engines as well as cars and trucks. At the end of the war the company experienced a period of stagnation. Later, despite new models, very expensive, the production of touring cars ceased in 1932. Meanwhile, railway production had become much more important. A small amount of commercial vehicles was built until 1950. The brand disappeared definitively in 1968. De Dion-Bouton’s enthusiasts estimate that there are around 1,000 cars of the brand left in the world.

The car

The De Dion-Bouton DY, chassis no. 189 is a 1913 car. In that very year, De Dion-Bouton was probably the largest vehicles manufacturer worldwide and, gradually, the customers showed to desire bigger and more refined cars. Only one De Dion-Bouton passenger car used a 2-cylinder engine yet, all the others were mostly four-cylinders in a wide displacement range, plus a V-8. In 1913, the 4 cylinder models were the following: DX, DW4, DY, DZ/EA, EB/EB2/EI. The De Dion-Bouton DY, chassis no. 189 is a Torpedo bodied car, powered by a 2,4 litre four-cylinder side valve engine. It’s a right-hand drive, as every motor cars in those years. Finished in green with black fenders, has the original varnished wooden rims and correct high quality reproduction Michelin tyres. It has black leather interiors and a new black cloth top. Suspensions are live axle front and rear with semi-elliptical front springs, 3/4 elliptical rear springs and drum rear wheel brakes. No front brakes. The car is still fitted with its rare original Blériot acetylene headlights. In 1897, Louis Blériot, a pioneer of the French aviation and the first flyer of the English Channel, created a company that produced lamps for cars. His first patent, filed in 1897, concerns the creation of acetylene headlights. With this totally new lighting, night driving became actually possible for the first time. Blériot and his team constantly improved their products and diversified their range with new, often revolutionary, patents. This attention to detail perfectly matches the De Dion-Bouton philosophy, which benefits from the results obtained to further enhance vehicle safety for its customers. The 1913 De Dion-Bouton DY, chassis no. 189, was completely restored over the years, starting in the 60s. The last restoration took place in 2008. The engine conforms to the original, by type and year. The bodywork has been completely repainted. The details are precious and correct, by year and by model: from the trumpet horn into the right-hand side, to the acetylene generator, to the external leather and wooden trunks. The interiors have been partially redone with materials similar to the original. On the dashboard, an optional watch of the era. The car is fitted with the original crank starter, but also with an electric starter not foreseen at the time. As an expert told: “The performance will not be sparkling, but it should go on doing so forever”. A car known for the qualities of its engine, an example of a fabled marque from the earliest days of the motorisation, an elegant and restored tourer with versatile Torpedo body. A rewarding purchase under the most profitable period on the market, to buy an ancêtre.

State of the Art

Completely restored.

Litterature
• Michael Edwards, De Dion Bouton, An Illustrated Guide to Type & Specification 1905-1914, Surrenden Press, UK 2017.

Certifications and Statements

ASI.

Documents

To be registered (with ASI certification).

Eligibility

• Goodwood Revival. Eligible
• Nürburgring Classic. Eligible.
• Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Eligible.
• Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Eligible.
• Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille. Eligible
• Concorso d’eleganza Villa D’Este. Eligible.

Certifications and Statements

ASI.

Documents

To be registered (with ASI certification).

Eligibility

• Goodwood Revival. Eligible
• Nürburgring Classic. Eligible.
• Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Eligible.
• Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Eligible.
• Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille. Eligible
• Concorso d’eleganza Villa D’Este. Eligible.