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Lot 469: British Salmson S4C Drophead Coupe

Beaulieu Sale, Bonhams (10 September 2011)

The French Soci�t� Des Moteurs Salmson was a pioneering force in the development of aircraft and aero-engines. Indeed, many historians consider Salmson's as the most notable of the radial aero-engines produced during WWI. In 1918 the company produced over 3,200 Sal2-A2 biplanes, fitted with their own 9-cylinder 270hp engine. At this time, the workforce of 9,000 could produce 700 aero-engines, 1,500 magnetos, and 300 complete aircraft each month. When war was over, Salmson diversified into other activities including manufacturing machine tools and automobile bodies, and from 1919 onwards produced a lightweight cyclecar - a built-under license GN - of which several thousand were made. The first of Salmson's own designs appeared in 1921. The work of �mile Petit, this featured a cyclecar-type chassis, shaft drive and a differential-less back axle, and was powered by a 1,100cc overhead-valve four. A St Andrew's Cross radiator motif made the little Salmson instantly recognisable and the firm was unusual in producing almost every component of the car itself, including the magneto. Competition successes, most notably 1st, 2nd and 4th place finishes in the 1921 Boulogne Races, came early. The company's British offshoot, British Salmson Aero Engines of Raynes Park, South London, began car manufacture in 1934, its first offerings being versions of the French Salmson S4C equipped with coachwork sourced from nearby neighbours Ranalah and Newns. The 1.5-litre S4C boasted an advanced twin-overhead-camshaft four-cylinder engine developing 55bhp (70bhp in sports trim) coupled to a four-speed gearbox with synchromesh on the top two ratios. A crankshaft-driven Rotax Dynamotor handled the starting/generating. Approximately 250 S4Cs of all types were made in Britain between 1934 and 1938. This rare British Salmson's four-seater, three-position drophead coup� coachwork is believed to be the work of Newns. First registered in October 1935 to a Rupert N Martineau, the car belonged to the Martineau family for many years and in the 1950s and 1960s was owned by Salmson Club members. For the next 20-odd years the Salmson remained in storage requiring restoration work before being re-commissioned and put back on the road in the late 1980s. There are two recorded keepers since 1978. 'DPB 662' is said to drive very well, possessing a responsive engine and positive gearchange, and is described as generally sound, albeit in need of minor cosmetic improvement. A rare and stylish 1930s four-seater served by an enthusiastic owners club, the car is offered with correspondence, buff logbook, owner's club information and Swansea V5.

Lot Details
Auction Beaulieu Sale
Bonhams, The National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, Hampshire, England
TypeCar
Lot Number469
Estimate£15000-£20000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£14000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£16100
Year1935
Condition rating2
Registration numberDPB 662
Mileage-
Chassis numberDZ424
Engine numberDZ424
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2