1912 CLÉMENT-BAYARD TYPE AC4 COUPÉ DE VILLE
Registration No. Not Registered.
Car No: 16139
Engine No. 16324
Dark green and black with yellow coachlines.
Engine: 4-cylinder (bi-bloc), 2.6-litre, L-head; Gearbox 4-speed and reverse; Suspension: semi-elliptic front and three-quarter-elliptic rear; Brakes: rear wheels and transmission. Right hand drive.
The industrial and personal activities of Adolphe Clément are complex. With a background in the cycle industry and making a fortune from acquiring the French rights to Dunlop tyres, he became involved with many makes of cars, manufactured aero engines, dirigibles and aeroplanes, and the successful racing activities of his cars in the heroic age should not be overlooked.
As if this were not enough, he added the name of a mediaeval knight to that of his own to become Monsieur Clément-Bayard, ran his companies as private enterprises so that their details were not in the public domain, and, produced a bewildering range of models. Many pages would not be enough to provide the full picture of the man, who became immensely wealthy as a result of his business activities.
Nothwithstanding the personal fortune that Clément-Bayard amassed, the well-engineered cars that bore his name were not produced for those of his own financial standing, being mostly of small capacity and aimed at the middle class market.
The AC4 is a typical example, current for the 1912 season, and was one of the larger models produced. The car is of essentially conventional design for the period with the 4-cylinder engine of 80 x 130 mm bore and stroke mounted in a sub-frame; cone clutch, right-hand operated gearbox and shaft drive all contained within a pressed steel chassis. Less orthodox is the generous capacity dashboard-mounted radiator à la Renault, which cools the engine by thermosyphon. The bonnet is adorned with a brass representation of the Chevalier Bayard, its producer's hero.
This car carries Coupé de Ville coachwork and looks exceedingly well- balanced on its substantial 3 metre wheelbase. By this date in automobile development the chauffeur receives some weather protection in the form of a windscreen, there was originally a basic hood (not now fitted) but there are no doors to his compartment.
It appears that the car has not run for some time, but under the bonnet the engine looks to be in sound order and is complete with the correct magneto and Zenith carburettor. The paint on the bodywork has flaked off in places, but with care could be restored rather than a full re-paint being necessary. Clearly this essentially original car requires attention before being used, but it is a handsome vehicle that really needs to be seen to be fully appreciated.