Step into the history of the French automobile revolution!
From the moment the automobile first appeared on the scene around 1870, French manufacturers became the pioneers of the development of motor vehicles. Due simply to the fact that the French embraced the automobile, whereas in Germany and Britain they were hesitant and even wanted to ban them. The vehicles below are on display during the ‘Automobiles Extraordinaires’ exhibition:
Meet the steam-powered ‘La Mancelle’
The ‘La Mancelle’, built in 1878 by Amédée Bollée is the oldest vehicle on display and is the absolute highlight of the exhibition. It is powered by steam, at the time a proven technology used in locomotives. The twin-cylinder steam engine delivered 30 hp and gave the vehicle a top speed of 40 km/h. The revolutionary La Mancelle had independent suspension and rear-wheel drive. Other steam pioneers were De Dion-Bouton and Serpollet.
Meet the electric Kiéger
Few people know that electric vehicles have been around for a long time. Louis Antoine Kriéger mounted two electric motors in the front wheels of his model K1. The vehicle had a range of nearly 100 km and a top speed of 40 km/h. It was one of the best electric vehicles of the period.
Meet the early Renaults
The Renault type CC Double Coupé was the top of the range in 1911. The unique body by coachbuilders Kellner et Fils, remained close to the style of the horse-drawn carriage. The initials and coat of arms on the rear doors reinforces that atmosphere. The 1906 Renault Type V limousine is one of the most luxurious cars of that time. The coachwork is made of wood and was built by the famous coachbuilder Million-Guiet of Paris. This car too is decorated with a coat of arms. In this case that of the Bourbon-Parme family.
Also on display
In addition to the La Mancelle, the Kriéger and the Renaults, we have a Leon Bollée tricycle from 1895, a 1910 Hotchkiss Double Coupé with no fewer than 10 windows and a De Dion-Bouton Limousine from 1905.
Château de Compiègne
The unique cars in the exhibition have been made available by the Musée National de la Voiture et Tourisme which is located within the Château de Compiègne. It is one of the three most important of France’s royal and imperial palaces, the others being Fontainebleau and Versailles.