Need For Speed – 19th century edition at Rétromobile

Hot rods with 2 horsepower and reckless drivin' at full 35 miles an hour!

2y ago

Rétrmobile was among the frontrunners in bringing renowned museums on board with memorable pieces from their vaults. The National Car Museum of Compiègne is a regular guest of the show, last year they showcased a few pre WW I Renaults joining Renault and other Museums at the 120 Anniversary Celebrations. This year the Museum was honoring the De Dion - Bouton brand, as Albert de Dion was noted among the most important donors of the Museum.

Marquis Albert de Dion was noted among the pioneers of the automotive industry. In 1882, he partnered with Georges Bouton and Charles Trépardoux to finance their workshop in Puteaux where they built steam-powered tricycles and quadricycles, followed by heavier vehicles like the one on display, designed in around 1890.

In 1888, the Marquis de Dion teamed up with Parisian engineer Delalande and started experimenting with combustion engines; then a few years later in 1894 he founded De Dion-Bouton & Cie. Thanks to the runaway success of his tricycles and single-cylinder vehicles, de Dion-Bouton became the world’s leading automobile manufacturer in 1900.

In 1905, de Dion-Bouton released the three-quarter drive coupé, that was also on display. In 1904 de Dion-Bouton developed a four-cylinder engine and started using metal chassis and disc clutches. The one on display was used by the company's management.

The other featured masterpiece is the Lamborghini Flying Star II, concept car on the basis of the 400 GT with a bodywork designed by the Milan-based Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera coachbuilder company. The car also announced the upcoming “Concept car. Pure beauty” exhibition of the Museum, that revolves around unusual concept cars and will be launched on 29th November 2019 at Compiègne and will run until 23rd March 2020. The Lamborghini Flying Star II is such a unique concept car. It is one of the first shooting breaks with hatchback coupé design. It was also the last vehicle to come out of the prestigious Touring Superleggera before it folded in 1966.

The Museum also presented another historical masterpiece. The Jamais Contente was the first electric car to break the 100 km / h speed barrier already in 1899. In fact, I met the Jamais Contente twice last year (in Paris and in Mulhouse), which begs for the question how many replicas are around, but this was bearing the name of the Jenatzy foundation (Camille Jenatzy was the driver breaking the speed record).

And that concludes my reports on Rétromobile. I believe this was the very last post on the show,. I will dedicate some time now to catch up with my museum reports, and I'm feeling lucky that I did not make it to Stuttgart last week, as it would have meant to start an even bigger series of posts, like running on a treadmill. :)


If you do not have that much time check out my top 10 favourites from the show:


Join In

Comments (2)

  • Very cool Zold! I'm a huge De Dion fan, and I have met with the Jamais Contente too, it is pretty special!

      2 years ago
    • Thanks, I was pretty sure that the 19th century Hot Rod will catch your attention already :)

        2 years ago