​An Illustrated Guide To Type & Specification 1905-1914

These books have been published with the support of the Michael Sedgwick Memorial Trust.
Registered Charity No. 290841

SUMMARY & SPECIFICATION

This is the second volume of a series of publications on the De Dion Bouton company.  The first volume: ‘An Illustrated Guide to Type & Specification 1899-1904’, published in 2016, documented the development of single and twin motor vehicles in the first five years of production.​​​

By the end of 1904, De Dion Bouton had established an enviable reputation for the performance of its well-designed single and twin-cylinder engines, ignition systems and transmission, coupled with a robust lightweight chassis suitable for a wide range of two and four-seater coachwork. During the initial five years of production, fourteen single cylinder and two twin cylinder Type vehicles were manufactured.
By 1905 the motor car industry, barely a decade old, was going through a period of dynamic change with the early stages of mass production, improved machine tooling, different types of customers emerging, new commercial opportunities and rising competition, especially from America.  In the years from 1905 to 1914 De Dion Bouton met these challenges with a mixture of high energy, innovation and entrepreneurship, launching eighty-two different Types of vehicles in single, twin, four and eight-cylinder configurations.

With the help of more than 300 line drawings and 400 colour photographs this book sets out to trace the course of vehicle development, summarises the essential technical information, and clearly identifies the characteristics of each Type.

DE DION BOUTON: An Illustrated Guide to Type & Specification 1905-1914 will be of interest to all early motoring enthusiasts eager to understand the revolution in transport that took place early in the twentieth century.

DE DION BOUTON, An Illustrated Guide To Type & Specification 1905-1914.

Hardback - 230mm x 297mm, 380 pages with 300 line drawings and more than 400 colour photographs.


Publication first published in 2017 by Surrenden Press. Publication printed and bound by Geoff Neal Group. Graphic Design by Natasha Edwards.
230mm x 297mm
TESTIMONIALS

Many thanks to all those who have commented on the publication.


"The book arrived safely and I was impressed by the level of research you had gone to - quite outstanding! And the courier service was impressive, too."

"I’m part way through reading your latest De Dion book and I am most impressed.  It contains much valuable and interesting information.  The release of a new book on veteran motor cars is a rare event indeed these days so well done and please keep up the good work!"
"Thanks for a superb book. You have such a lot of detail and interesting information included. It could not be better."
    
​"​​​I received your book a couple days ago. It is a beautiful publication, thank you. As an engineer, I especially enjoy the technical detail and also the mix of current and period photographs."
"I would like to thank you for the great book. I was very happy about the pictures of my DDB B.O. 175. It's amazing how to collect and write down so much information. Your book is a milestone in securing the history of De Dion-Bouton cars."
"I received the book today. It looks great. Thank you for writing it. I've been reading the Pierre Boyer book. Your book looks a lot more comprehensive."

​​​​​​​​​​​​SAMPLE PAGES​
DE DION BOUTON
An Illustrated Guide To Type & Specification 1905-1914.​


  1. Technical Evolution: Ignition and Carburettor
    Technical Evolution: Ignition and Carburettor
    De Dion Bouton Type & Specification 1906-1914
  2. Twin Cylinder: Type AB
    Twin Cylinder: Type AB
    De Dion Bouton Type & Specification 1906-1914
  3. Four Cylinder: Chassis and Suspension
    Four Cylinder: Chassis and Suspension
    De Dion Bouton Type & Specification 1906-1914
  4. Four Cylinder: Type BR
    Four Cylinder: Type BR
    De Dion Bouton Type & Specification 1906-1914
  5. Content Page
    Content Page
  6. Type EF
    Type EF
    De Dion Bouton Type & Specification 1906-1914
  7. Type BY
    Type BY
    De Dion Bouton Type & Specification 1906-1914
  8. Type BR
    Type BR
    De Dion Bouton Type & Specification 1906-1914
  9. Eight Cylinder: Type EF
    Eight Cylinder: Type EF
  10. Eight Cylinder: Type EF
    Eight Cylinder: Type EF
    De Dion Bouton Type & Specification 1906-1914
  11. Type AB
    Type AB
    De Dion Bouton Type & Specification 1906-1914

PUBLICATION REVEIWS

DE DION BOUTON
An Illustrated Guide To Type & Specification 1905-1914.​

Extract from an article written for the SAHB Times, March 2017.

By 1901 the De Dion Bouton Company was firmly established as both a successful innovator and a manufacturer of high quality engines and motor vehicles in Europe.  The success of the motor tricycle at the very end of the 19th century had been followed by the launch of the voiturette, which in turn had prepared the way for the first of the front-engined vehicles that appeared in 1901. More than 100 other manufacturers, including Renault, had installed engines bought from Puteaux into their own vehicles, thus giving De Dion Bouton a pivotal role in supporting the nascent car industry.  In May 1903 the single cylinder vehicles were joined by the first twin cylinder offerings, and by the end of 1904 the Company had developed 16 different models.

The range and pace of technical development dramatically accelerated from the end of 1904.  Many of De Dion Bouton’s innovations with engine design, ignition systems, suspension and speed change mechanisms were well established, reliable and effective. However, they were no longer ‘cutting edge’ or fashionable, and the Company was acutely aware of the need to demonstrate a willingness to change, regardless of how difficult, expensive, and perhaps sometimes unnecessary, that might be. Whilst in 1904 the Comte de Dion was convinced that the future prosperity of the Company lay in small vehicles and trucks, within four years the decision was taken to focus on four cylinder vehicles. By 1909 margins on single engine cars had been tightly squeezed and the success of the 12hp four cylinder Type BH had persuaded the management to cease production of the 10hp twin cylinders. The four cylinder cars had various engine configurations: small cars had engines of 10/12hp; mid-sized cars were equipped with 14/18hp power units, and the top of the range vehicles had 25/30hp options, which were entirely adequate for formal landaulet coachwork. The growth of the commercial vehicle business for trucks and buses, for which the larger four cylinder engines were necessary, also offered improved economies of scale.

The economic rationale around four cylinder vehicle production was robust but competition, especially in the small and mid-sized four cylinder sectors, was fierce and the large-scale operations of some American manufacturers, notably Ford, were already depressing showroom prices. The enticing opportunity, something which the Comte de Dion generally found difficult to resist, was the launch of an eight cylinder engine, with its potential advantages of brand profile and strong margins.
Generally, the Company promoted a limited number of models every year, usually around five to seven.  From 1910 to 1914 this number doubled. At the same time, there was a radical increase in the number of Type Approvals sought (from 17 in the period from 1901 to 1904 to 122 between 1905 and 1914). All 12 V-8 models for which Type Approval was sought, did go into full production, but 35 per cent of the four cylinder projects that Type Approval was granted, were abandoned.

This abundance of passenger vehicle development (88 models and 26 different engine configurations in 10 years), in addition to the commercial vehicle activity, was in stark contrast to many of their competitors, who undertook less development but sold more vehicles. By 1913 Peugeot, Renault, Darracq and Berliet were all producing more passenger vehicles in France than De Dion Bouton. The demands on management stamina and the Company’s balance sheet would inevitably take their toll at some point.


In preparation for a full pre-war history of De Dion Bouton, I have set about recording and establishing the specifications of all models produced between 1899 and 1914.  The first volume appeared in Autumn 2016 and the next volume, for the period from 1905 to 1914, is due later this year.