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A French (?) Monday Mystery Coupé de Ville

Mystery Coupé de Ville from France (?)
I am not sure whether the magnificent Coupé de Ville on the attached photo is really a mystery to other prewar car enthusisast - at least it's one to me. My gut feeling tells me it might be a car from a French manufacturer. Maybe fellow enthusiasts from across the ...... .... Rhine will be able to identify it immediately.
Well, then shame on me -  I am more familiar with prewar cars from the German-speaking world, but I am always eager to learn more about French marques with their often beguiling names. My assumption is not only based on the highly elegant passenger cabin and the tasteful colour scheme, but also on the clothing of the children standing next to the car. German children at that time wouldn't have worn such solemn clothes. The boys almost look as if the had just been awarded their doctorate degree...
From the hats of the ladies I would guess this photo was taken immediately before or after WW1. Interestingly, the car already features electrical front lights, while the search light appears to have been acetylene-operated.

I'd love to know, who once built this beauty of a car and when.

Words and photo by Michael Schlenger


#21 2017-03-23 14:52
I have sent a photo of my 1924 Turcat Mery to the Share a Photo Section of this magazine along with an explanation of why it is my opinion that the mystery car is not a Turcat Mery. I do not know what it is other than that I believe it to be French.
#20 2017-03-23 10:52

Thanks a lot for the many contributions which I found all worth considering.

Probably, we won't find the definitive answer given the poor condition of the print (possibly also due to unfavourable storage over the past 90 years).

Given the current state of affairs, I tend to believe it's a Rolland-Pilain RP which was introduced in 1919 and had a 2.9 litre 4-cylinder engine. There appears to have been a 6-cylinder version, as well, which had a longer chassis. Yet, it's difficult to tell from the picture, whether it's one of the longer wheel-base cars or not.

Anyway, it's a superb automobile thanks to its elegant body which would make it highly desirable today (most surviving cars of that marque seem to be phaetons).

As for the date of the picture, I'd plead for "very soon after WW1", based on the fashion of the people in the picture. A young lady with such a prewar-style hat would have looked seriously old-fashioned by the mid-1920s...

#19 2017-03-23 01:04
The photo of our car is in the Share Photos section of the site.
#18 2017-03-22 22:29
D'accord avec Ph. Becret, je pense à une Rolland Pilain RP identique à celle des 24h du Mans 1923
#17 2017-03-22 15:38
Je suis d'accord avec Ph. Becret,
certainement une Rolland Pilain type RP.
#16 2017-03-22 09:59
More often than not photographs from this period were of very high quality [glass plate negs]. This particular offering is of very poor quality and 'out of focus' which makes it near impossible to identify which is a shame.
#15 2017-03-22 09:12
I took a closer look at the original print and I can assure you that the car does not have front-wheel brakes.

I don't believe that this splendid vehicle was manufactured much later than c.1920...
#14 2017-03-22 08:46
The top of the radiator seems to be somewhat overhanging. This reminds me of Martini, which used such a type of radiator roughly between 1914 and 1916. The body with the slightly dropping waistline could have been built by e.g. Geissberger or Eckerlin.
#13 2017-03-22 06:01
Hard to tell from the photo if there are FWB. I think Farman ALWAYS had them. Also that they were bigger than the relative small rear drums. Tutcat Mery seemed to have larger drums on most models. If you look hard you can almost imagine the Turcat/Lorraine shoulder on the radiator just above the LH headlight. My imagination? The 62mm Rudge hubs seem right for Turcat. The only Turcats that I recall having the radiator sloping towards the bottom ala Voisin was the later models UG etc c.1925-27. The bonnet looks too long for the later 4 cyl Turcat Merys though. I will send a photo of our 1925 TM SG taken from a similar angle as the photo just for comparison.
#12 2017-03-22 00:55
If it's a Farman it's probbaly a 6.5 litre A6A with 2wb. I could also go with Turcat Méry - most likely the pre-war 6.3 litre chassis, considering the wheelbase and the weight of the body. Others will know for sure, but it seems that their post-war cars had 4-wheel brakes. Did Voisin produce a 2wb chassis with such a long wheelbase?

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