1904 DE DION BOUTON 6HP TYPE Q TWO SEATER
Registration No. Not known
Engine No. 16701
Dark green with red coachlining
Engine: single cylinder, 90 x 110mm bore and stroke, 700cc, water-cooled with automatic inlet valve and De Dion Bouton coil ignition and carburettor; Gearbox: two speed and reverse, expanding clutches, integral final drive and De Dion rear axle; Suspension: front, semi-elliptic, rear, three-quarter elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: internal expanding brakes on rear wheels and transmission. Right hand drive.
As far as it is known, Count de Dion never committed his business and technical philosophy to paper, but his desire to produce cars that were simple, reliable, and inexpensive, with adequate performance, was plainly exhibited through his work in collaboration with Georges Bouton. Although making some fine steam-powered vehicles from 1883 onwards, these did not really meet the Count's objectives. However, once Georges Bouton developed a high-speed internal combustion in 1895 the seeds were sown that would rapidly grow to precisely satisfy De Dion's wishes.
First there were the motor tricycles that were mass-produced in their thousands, then the much-copied vis-à-vis motorcars introduced in 1899, followed by the front-engined cars from 1902. Enduring features were the high-speed water-cooled engine with reliable electric ignition, the clever gearbox bolted to the tubular chassis, with expanding clutches for each gear, and the final drive utilising the distinctive De Dion back axle.
This car is a good example of the De Dion Populaire, is well presented and in all important respects appears to be correct. The former Birmingham registration and a dashboard plate reading 'Heath's Garage, G F Heath & Co, John Bright Street, Birmingham' indicate where it spent its early years. It has been a regular Brighton Run participant; last taking part in the event in 2003.
Whilst not fast cars, single-cylinder De Dion Boutons are lively, light, and easy to drive once their individualistic controls had been mastered. Their high survival rate and enduring popularity are tributes to the soundness and quality of the products of this pioneering firm, the foresight of Count De Dion, and the engineering genius of Georges Bouton.