For the 1902 year, De Dion-Bouton radically changed their automobile design beginning with the Model K. Unlike the earlier cars, the Model K placed its engine in front of the occupants.
Power cam from a 8 horsepower, single-cylinder engine which is why the model is sometimes refereed to as 8CV or the ‘8hp Popular’ in Britian. The unit was water-cooled and fed by a single suction-fed intake valve and controlled exhaust valve. In 1903 the same unit was capable of 12 bhp. It was covered with an ‘alligator hood’ which was almost a direct copy of the contemporary Renault.
Power was sent to the rear wheels through a three speed gearbox with reverse on a separate lever. Curiously the car didn’t have an accelerator, only a decelerator pedal which acted on the driveshaft with friction.
Generally, De Dion-Bouton manufactured the steel frame and running gear while the bodies and interiors were outsourced to design houses. Our example was taken to Industrielle de Levallois and was fitted with a copy of the Hippomobile Carriage design known as the Hansom Cab. The idea was the driver sat behind the two front passengers if needed.
Owned by the well know collector and expert Jean-Michel Cérède since 1997, this De Dion-Bouton belonged in 1950 to an eminent member of the Club des Teuf-Teuf who took part in the first Paris-Rouen rallies, before it was sold in Belgium and then in England where it took part in two London to Brighton rallies. Often entered by its owner in rallies for old vehicles (Tour of Leman, Paris-Bordeaux in 4 days at an average speed of 20km/h), it has been carefully maintained and improvements have been carried out to facilitate its use, as follows: in 2005, the installation of a starter dynamo; in 2007, an engine rebuild and a replacement of the exhaust valve and its seat for “unleaded” running and ignition with Delco contact breaker. The file contains invoices issued by West Auto Electric and give details of these works.
Ready for the road, this robust centenarian endowed with one of the most original bodies is testimony to the quality of manufacture by a pioneering marque with a worldwide reputation and offers the benefit of very rare bodywork typical of this particularly creative time.