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About Quiz #407: La Gazelle

quiz #407

In quiz #407 we gave you three clues. There was a photo of a voiturette and the description of this car but we also gave a clue about the builder: that was a monsieur Tzaut who had worked for Clément-Bayard. However – and here it starts to get confusing – M. Tzaut has not been the builder of the car in the picture... M. Tzaut, from Courbevoie near Paris - showed his La Gazelle small car at the 1913 Salon. It was completely conventional and like many other voiturettes of that time. Tzaut did some racing with his car but it seems that the Great War ended his car production.

At about the same time the prolific inventor Octave Poignard offered his La Gazelle for sale, hundreds of kilometers from Paris in the small town of Brinon-sur-Sauldre. There is no evidence that Tzaut and Poignard knew each other. Poignard had built an aeroplane around 1909 but it didn’t fly very well and he turned to automobiles (and other machines). Two leaflets from his (small) company have survived. One shows a 5-7 HP model with a friction transmission that has also been used by some other car makers, like the American Metz. However, the 6-8 HP model, also with an engine built by Poignard himself, had a completely unique transmission system with eight speeds! It also used friction but Poignard claimed that here there was no skidding and thus no loss of energy.

We think the 5-7 HP model is from about 1912 and the 6-8 HP (the car in this picture, perhaps with the inventor himself) must be of 1914 or perhaps of 1919 when Poignard had taken up his automotive activities again. It is said that Octave was an excellent technician but a poor businessman and we can imagine that he has never sold many, or any, of his cars.

So ‘La Gazelle’ was the make we were looking for. Maybe this time it was too confusing as we mixed up two different makes. But on the other hand: both names were correct... No correct answers came in so no winner this time.


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