Hershey | Lot 227
1900 De Dion-Bouton Type E Vis-à-Vis Voiturette
The Merrick Auto Museum Collection
$121,000 USD | Sold
| Hershey, Pennsylvania
10 October 2019
- Paris-built De Dion Vis-à-Vis
- Formerly owned by Robert Gottlieb; restored by Eric Rosenau
- Eligible for the London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run
Until 1899, the French firm De Dion, Bouton & Compagnie produced mostly motorized tricycles, some of which were made into four-wheelers with a two-wheel forecar arrangement. That year the Type D Voiturette was introduced, a true four-wheel car with a tubular “waisted” chassis frame. The engine, a single-cylinder 3½-horsepower, 402 cc unit, was located at the rear and drove through a two-speed constant-mesh transmission, with gear changes effected with clutches. The Type D became known as Vis-à-Vis, French for eye-to-eye, as the two passenger seats face one another.
In March 1900 came an improved model, the Type E. Wheel bearings were upgraded, and the shaft brake was replaced with two band brakes, one acting on each rear wheel. The gear change was revised, providing lever operation with a neutral position. The engine and three-quarter elliptic leaf-spring suspension were continued from the Type D.
Although there was brief production of De Dion vehicles in New York in 1900 and 1901, this vehicle bears the dealer medallion of G. Loisel of 17 rue Monsigny, Paris. According to Amicale De Dion, the De Dion Club in France, it was built there in 1900 and exported to the U.S. sometime thereafter.
Previously owned by collector and journalist Robert Gottlieb of Beverly Hills, California, this Type E Vis-à-Vis was restored by Eric Rosenau of Ramona, California, in burgundy with black accents and fenders. The wire wheels are a brilliant red. The seating is black leather in excellent condition; the brass Mauretania headlamps and other accessories have polished up well, and all mechanical features are well detailed. Previous owners have included L.K. Newell of Quapaw, Oklahoma.
A very nice example of the famed De Dion Vis-à-Vis, this car’s age renders it a potential participant in Britain’s famed London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run.