De Dion-Bouton was born of a partnership between financier Count Albert De Dion and Georges Bouton, maker of miniature steam engines and mechanical toys.

De Dion-Bouton’s earliest vehicles were powered by steam engines, but by the early 1890s gasoline engines had taken over. The designs turned out by the firm were frequently revolutionary: by 1893 it had built four-cylinder rotary and twelve-cylinder radial engines. The first production engine of import was a 137 cubic centimeter, single-cylinder creation that turned at an incredible 3,000 rpm, whereas a contemporary Benz engine ran at around 470 rpm. The early De Dion-Bouton engines were installed in tricycles, making them very affordable. In 1910 the company introduced the world’s first series-produced V-8 engine. While not particularly successful, it did inspire Cadillac’s D.M. White to develop his successful V-8. While much is known about the company, little has been written documenting the individual vehicles.

Specifications: Type CD; 8 horsepower, 942 cubic centimeter, one-cylinder engine.

Accession no. 1998L103

Next Item