There are no records to tell what coachwork once adorned this 1910 De Dion-Bouton for sale on Hemmings.com – only to tell that the car emerged from the factory as a bare chassis – so during its restoration a decade and a half ago, it got the runabout body seen here, a sporty complement to its for-the-time advanced chassis and drivetrain. Just make sure to invite your mechanic to take a ride on the mechanic’s seat when out for a jaunt in it. From the seller’s description:
The current owner purchased the automobile in 1998. Records show the previous owner purchased the vehicle in 1982. The current owner has not explored the provenance beyond that point. Badging on the automobile cites the Puteaux manufacturing plant, so it’s not clear whether it originated at the U.S. manufacturing plant, or was imported.
The good news… essentially all the original parts and hardware survived, down to grease applicators, hubcaps, oilers, and even the dashboard clock and horn. In addition, the hand-crank 14-horsepower engine started and ran beautifully, and the car drove well. The transmission operated smoothly, and the steering, although anything but a tight-ratio, was stable. The current owner decided to commence a full-scale restoration and customization in 2000. The car was handed over to Great Lakes Motor Works in Boyne City, Michigan, and work commenced. The owner designed a plan for the coachwork that would result in a two-seat (plus mechanic’s seat) runabout style, with “fastback” flair to provide a bit of a racing look to the body. As much of the original body work was mahogany, the custom shop at Van Dam boat works in Boyne City, MI, was involved in designing and updating the final product.
Restoration was undertaken at the nuts-and-bolts level. The only components not disassembled were the engine and transmission. Given its excellent operation, there was no need to risk damage during disassembly that might result in being unable to obtain hundred year-old replacement parts. Every other item was disassembled, restored, and painted in the Great Lakes Motor Works custom shop. The radiator was rebuilt, the carburetor was sent to The Old Carb Doctor in North Carolina, and many of the items painted during the prior restoration were discovered to actually be brass, which was polished and coated. In truth, no expense was spared.
The car was shown at the 2002 Meadowbrook Concours de Elegance, and at several other events. It has sat in a heated collector garage since that time, and is started each year, but driven very little. As one might expect, starting a hand-crank engine requires following a sequence of steps: opening valves, priming cylinders, adjusting the choke, etc. Recent residence move has brought the car to the market.
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