De Dion Bouton (Type W)
De Dion Bouton was a French car and train manufacturer which operated from 1883 to 1953. The company was founded by the Marquis Jules-Albert De Dion, Georges Bouton and Monsieur Bouton’s brother-in-law Charles Trépardoux. Bouton and Trépardoux were fine engineers but lacked the funds to develop their ideas until they partnered with De Dion. They began by manufacturing a small number of steam-powered cars, but by 1889 De Dion was convinced the future lay in the internal combustion engine. Just 11 years later, the company had become the largest manufacturer in the world producing 400 cars and 3,200 engines which became well known for their quality, reliability and durability.
HP2938 was imported from France in 1988. Previously the car was on display at the Chateau De La Clayette museum for a few years. Closed or convertible cars of this period are extremely rare. HP2938 is a unique De Dion Bouton brougham with a detachable coach-built top giving the option of either an open touring body (as seen here in the rotunda) or an enclosed body with a glass division between driver and passengers (see accompanying picture). And unusually for a car of its age, it remains in very original condition throughout, with original body, leather seats, and silk blinds in the detachable roof section.
The twin-cylinder 10hp engine makes the car fairly practical and enables its participation in the Royal Automobile Club’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. And HP2938 has been driven thousands of miles in various rallies all around Europe. Its top speed is around 35 mph and the usual cruising speed is approximately 25 mph.
The car has twice won the prestigious RAC Regent Street Motor Show’s Concours d’Elégance. It also won its class at the 2019 Warren Classic and came second for Best in Show. Previously the car appeared at the Louis Vuitton Concours at the Hurlingham Club; ‘Style et Lux’ at the Goodwood Festival of Speed; and it has been displayed at the Grand Palais in Paris where a number of motor shows were held in the early 1900s.
Displayed courtesy of owner, Club member Mr Harold Pritchard, from Monday 5th October to Sunday 18th October 2020.
Further information can be found in the library display cabinet (rotunda first floor).