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Lot 401: Magnat-Debon 'Motocyclette 3 HP 1/4'

Grand Palais Sale, Bonhams (7 February 2013)

Already an important French bicycle maker based in Grenoble, Bicyclettes Magnat-Debon diversified into powered two-wheelers in 1902 using Dufaux, De Dion and the high-quality Zedel engines. By 1908, Zedel's distinctive design of an inclined engine with rear-mounted magneto, mounted by Magnat-Debon in a single-loop frame, was being extensively tested in competition. From 1910, the Zedel company was developing advanced overhead-valve, fixed-head motors and, following extensive trials, Magnat-Debon listed these for their 1914 range together with a new and distinctive cylindrical petrol and oil tank. The 197cc engine had the pushrod-operated valves set in individual bronze caps and both inlet and exhaust ports were on the right-hand side with ignition by high-tension magneto and suction lubrication. The frame was a simple cradle with pedal-gear and belt-drive fittings built in, with the tank mounted between the top-tubes by straps and buffers with a minimum of tank-top controls. An early form of telescopic front fork completed the machine, which sold at 1,325 francs and was immediately hailed by the press. The Magnat-Debon offered here is an example of the cutting-edge of French two-wheel technology, cut short by the Great War period, making it not only a rarity but a highly desirable one. Beautifully restored, it is a Magnat-Debon from the company's early period, eligible for the best events and not to be missed. Please note that at time of cataloguing it was not possible to discern the frame number, which could either read '9572' or '9512'.

Lot Details
Auction Grand Palais Sale
Bonhams, Paris, France
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number401
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price€10000
Hammer Price (inc premium)€11500
Year1914
Condition rating2
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number
Engine number2410
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors