17 May 1999
1910 DARRACQ 18/22 HP SIDE-ENTRANCE TONNEAU
Chassis no. To be advised
White with red chassis and coachlining and red leather upholstery.
Engine: four cylinder monobloc, 3,100cc, HT magneto ignition; Gearbox: three speed and reverse with right hand side change, shaft drive; Suspension; semi-elliptic front, three quarter elliptic rear; Brakes: hand lever to rear wheels, foot operated on transmission. Right hand drive.
In the middle years between the turn of the century and the outbreak of the Great War it was a close run thing as to which of the three firms: De Dion Bouton; Darracq or Renault was to be France's largest volume producer of motor cars. Renault eventually came out on top, with almost five and a half thousand cars made in 1913, but De Dion Bouton and Darracq were well up to par, the production of each running at over 3000 cars per annum, with Peugeot rapidly catching up. As the war approached the "big three" became the leading four.
At the age of 55 in 1910, Alexandre Darracq had come a long way from his humble origins in Bordeaux through the huge financial success of his fin de siecle cycle manufacturing activities in Paris. He was among the first to apply the lessons that he had learnt from the cycle trade by establishing the quantity production of motor cars, making 700 in 1900, the first year of manufacture. Although personally disliking high speed motoring, Darracq cars were raced for him with many outstanding results because this brought valuable publicity. By applying sound techniques to his business activities and employing highly competent staff who designed well-engineered cars that offered value for money, Darracq was personally successful, as was his motor car firm and the customers were not disappointed.
An eight model range was available in 1910, ranging from a robust 8hp twin, to a 5 ½ litre luxury four cylinder, but it was the medium sized cars that suited the average buyer. The 2.4 litre 14/16 was the most popular model, but the larger 18/22 that had been introduced in 1909 with sporting coachwork on the same wheelbase as the 12/14 was appreciated by those who wanted more lively performance.
This car, from one of the most successful manufacturers of the day, has a dashing appearance that is enhanced by the Victorian hood for the rear passengers.
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