- Written by webmin
If you’ve ever wanted to join the rest of the lunatics on the annual London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run but haven’t had an old enough car, has Bonhams got a deal for you. The auction house has announced that two of the cars that will be offered for sale at its November 5 auction in London have already been entered in the event, which takes place on the first Sunday in November.
The older of the two, shown here, is a 1900 De Dion Bouton “vis-à-vis.” The car is the product of one of the world’s oldest automobile manufacturers, founded in 1883 by Comte Albert De Dion, George Bouton and his brother-in-law, Charles Trépardoux. The vis-à-vis is powered by a single-cylinder gasoline engine of 137cc that features electric ignition, overhead valves and a flywheel on either end of the crankshaft. Mounted under the seat, the engine drives the rear wheels through a two-speed gearbox.
The vis-à-vis was introduced in 1900, and stayed in production until 1903, when the engine was moved to the front of the car. The body style was especially appropriate for genteel Parisians, who could civilly converse while motoring about the city’s boulevards. Driver distraction, though, was a distinct possibility.
Bonhams estimates that the De Dion will bring £50,000-£60,000, or about $80,000-$95,000. One of the rules of London-to-Brighton is that cars depart from Hyde Park by year of manufacture, with older cars going first. Being from 1900, the De Dion will assure a desirable, early departure time. An added bonus: Lucky passengers will have their backs to whatever wind the De Dion is able to produce.
The second London-to-Brighton entrant to be auctioned is a 1902 Rochet 4-1/2 horsepower Vis-à-vis, estimated to sell for £38,000-£45,000, or about $60,000-$70,000. Two other cars offered for sale are old enough to compete, but have not been entered: a 111-year-old 1899 Decauville 5hp, estimated at £20,000-£30,000, or $32,000 to $48,000, and a 1903 Sunbeam 10/12hp rear entrance Tonneau, estimated to sell for £160,000-£180,000, or about $254,000-$285,000.
London-to-Brighton, the world’s longest running automobile rally, commemorates the Emancipation Run of 1896, when Britain’s motorists celebrated the easing of restrictions on automobile use; speed limits were raised from 4 MPH to 14 MPH, and cars were no longer required to be preceded by a man on foot waving a red flag. Finishers of the run will be rewarded with a piping-hot bowl of chili con carne and a dash of mulled wine, provided by Bonhams.