1903 BARRÉ TYPE Y TWO-SEATER
Registration No. Not Registered.
Car No. T 34
Engine No. 13655
Red with varnished wood body and mudguards.
Engine: De Dion Bouton single-cylinder, 699cc, with automatic inlet valve; Clutch: cone; Gearbox: 3-speed and reverse; Suspension: semi- elliptic front and rear; Brakes: rear wheels and transmission. Right hand drive.
Although Paris was the principal French car manufacturing centre, there were many car makers in provincial towns and cities who earned a living supplying largely a local clientele. One such was Automobiles Barré of Niort. This town is capital of the département of Deux-Sèvres and lies betweeen Poitiers and La Rochelle.
The firm started in the early 1890's as cycle makers and at the turn of the century added motor cars to their output. At the 1900 French Motor Show Barr© won a Gold Medal for their products and by 1901 had opened premises at 12 Avenue de la Grand Armée, Paris, the boulevard where all the major manufacturers had their showrooms.
In reality, like many 'manufacturers' of the period, Barré were no more than assemblers of motor cars, buying in their components from firms such as Lacoste et Battmann or Malicet et Blin, with engines supplied by De Dion Bouton, Aster, or Buchet, and in the vintage period from Ballot or SCAP. Barré's diverse range of cars were largely sold within their region, and they do not appear to have ever had a British agent for their cars. When they went out of business in 1930 it was world-wide events far beyond their control, not any weakness with their products, that brought this situation about.
This car, despite the Barré body-plates, dash-board plate, and a gearbox lid that proclaims: Barré Constructeurs, Niort, is pure Lacoste et Battmann, with a De Dion Bouton engine, and it is none the worse for that -- these being the best components available at the time. The engine drives through a cone clutch to a side-lever controlled conventional gearbox, linked by shaft to a bevel-drive rear axle. The De Dion Bouton engine number places it as being from 1903 and the configuration of the components and overall appearance of the vehicle indicates that this is the most likely date of the ensemble.
It is not possible to be certain whether the bodywork is original or not, but it certainly has been on the tubular chassis for a long time and is of the correct style for a Barré of this type and age. The bonnet is an original component, carrying the maker's plate for such items, that of Etablissements Liotard of Paris.
Although the car is not currently in running order, everything that is needed to make it work is present. Once thoroughly checked over their is no reason why this Barré should not perform well both on the London to Brighton Run and in events suitable for Veteran cars.