Hershey | Lot 132
1910 Zebra Type A Runabout
Offered from the collection of John Moir
$24,750 USD | Sold
| Hershey, Pennsylvania
9 October 2014
- Offered from the collection of John Moir
- A delightful French voiturette
- Sold new by London AC dealer F.W. Goodchild
- Includes a spare engine
- A little smile on four wheels
5 bhp, 32.3 cu. in. single-cylinder engine, manual transmission, suspension, and rear-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 73 in.
The Le Zébre was manufactured in Puteaux, France, between 1907 and 1931 as one of the world’s first “people’s cars,” which were intended to be affordable, simple transportation. It rode on a very simple steel chassis that was powered by a single-cylinder engine that was cast as a single unit with the gearbox, and it was available with light and tiny two-passenger bodywork. The design was remarkably uncomplicated and easy to work on.
Why the unusual name? Supposedly, next door to the factory was a stable with a very distinctive striped horse, and the company was named Zebra as a result. Low costs made the Le Zébre popular, but perhaps because it was an entry-level car that was often run into the ground by its owners, surprisingly few have survived the last century.
Like so many of the Moir Collection’s automobiles, it has a tangential connection to other cars in the collection, as the company was founded by two French engineers who had worked for Georges Richard at Unic. This particular car was sold new in England, under the name Zebra, by none other than London dealer F.B. Goodchild, whose main business was selling ACs, two of which are also now in the Moir stable. Unlike many of the torpedo-like runabout bodies used on the French cars, this Zebra has a body that was built in England, and it is in the more open runabout style. “It has always had a single acetylene headlight,” Mr. Moir notes. “At the speed this car traveled, who needs two lights?”
This cute and fun Zebra is the perfect automobile for the man who has everything.