Archive for December, 2011

PEUGEOT – Bi-cycles to Cars

Peugeot (Pronounced as P-ew-sz-oh) was an industrial empire by early 1800s. In 1882, Armand Peugeot (1849 – 1915) along with his cousin Eugene Peugeot decided expand in to Bi-cycle manufacture. By 1889 , they produced  tri-cycle steam car called Type 1. With some innovative boiler design by the then famous steam engineer , Serpollet , the size of the engine could be reduced.


1889 – Type 1 steam car

By the next year ,  Armand Peugeot was convinced by Emile Levassor that he should use Daimler engine in his cars. In 1891 , Peugeot introduced the Type 2 , fitted with Daimler IC engine.

1890/91 – Type 2 IC engine car

In 1895, Peugeot fitted Michelin solid rubber tyres in their racecars and in 1896 started manufacturing their own engines. With Eugene Peugeot moving out the company was renamed as Societe Anonyme des Automobiles Peugeot. Peugeot continued to build cars & bicycles with the likes of Ettore Bugatti designing racing cars & engines.

Some of the most famous Peugeot cars were Peugeot 205 & Peugeot 504, which were sold in large numbers across the globe.


The LION logo of Peugeot was created in 1858 and has undergone many changes – Below are the 1858 and the 2010 logos.



Peugeot is known for innovation and were one of the pioneers on the use of Diesel engines for Passenger cars. In the year 2011 , they introduced the World’s first Diesel- Hybrid – 3008 HYbrid4 car with the innovative concept of Diesel engine driving the front wheels and Electric motor driving the rear wheels.


In 1974/75, they took over Citroen and the group was renamed as PSA (Peugeot Societe Anonyme). In 1978, they took over Chrysler , Europe (formerly Clement-Bayard, Talbot, Rootes & Simca) and branded those cars as Talbot.

Peugeot continues to one the Top 10 vehicle manufacturer in the world today.


In 1883,  Count Jules-Albert De Dion (1856 – 1946) of a leading French noble family tied up with Engineer Georges Bouton ( 1847 – 1938) and Charles Trepardoux to produce steam vehicles capable of transporting people – the company named De Dion Bouton et Trepardoux.

In 1883 , they produced the first steam car with the layout of engine mounted in the front , driving the front wheels and steering in the rear wheels. This car burned down during the trial run.

1883 – De Dion Bouton et Trapradoux steam car

In the next year , they produced a more refined steam automobile, with the engine driving the rear wheels and steering through the front wheels. This vehicle was operated successfully and was named ‘La Marquise” after the mother of Count De Dion.


1884 – La Marquise steam car

incidentally , this 127 year old steam car is still in roadworthy and operable condition . See the video of its operation on roads here  – . This car was auctioned in October 2011 for a record $4.2 million at the Hershey. See the auction video here – .

During the mid 1890s , De Dion Bouton  shifted focus from steam engines to IC Engines. De Dion Bouton  IC engines became famous for its reliability & variety and was used by many automobile companies in Europe and America. In the period where IC engines were running around 900 RPM speeds , De Dion Bouton  engines could be run at a sustained  2000 RPM and  some engine could be taken up to  3500 RPM for short bursts  – limited by the carburetor and ignition technology of those times.

By 1900 , De Dion Bouton was the largest producer of cars and engines. De Dion Bouton was known for many innovations including shiftable gearboxes. However, the most famous innovation was the De Dion rear axle which combines the simplicity of a rigid axle and the comfort of an independent suspension. The De Dion rear axle is used even now in some models.

The De Dion Bouton Logo –


De Dion Bouton continued to manufacture cars till 1932, when the brand was retired, unable to compete with cheaper cars.

Louis Francois Rene Panhard ( 1841 – 1908 ) and Emile Levassor (1843 – 1897) formed a car making company in 1887 with the engine licensed from Daimler.

In 1890 , they produced their first car powered by a 2 cylinder Daimler engine, mounted in the middle.

In 1891 , they produced the next car with a completely new layout , with the engine & radiator in the front , driving the rear wheels through a clutch and transmission. This layout became the standard architecture for the automobile for the next 100 years, called the Systeme Panhard.

The logo of Panhard et Levassor

Panhard and Levassor has been involved in many automotive innovations including using the famed Sleeve Valve, Kinight engines in their cars in the 1920s. Another major innovation was the invention of the track bar to locate the rear axle in multi-link suspension designs, aptly called the Panhard rod.

Panhard & Levassor was taken cover by Citroen in 1965 and the car brand was retired in 1968. One of the last cars made by Panhard & Levassor was a Panhard 24 CT.

Panhard & Levassor continued to make tactical & military equipment for the French Army and was merged with PSA group when Peugeot took over control of Citroen during 1974 . In 2005, Panhard was acquired by Auverland, another major military equipment manufacturer and the Panhard name lives on.

The Duryea brothers – Charles Duryea (1861 – 1939) and Frank Duryea (1870 – 1967) are credited with creating Americas first practical Gasoline powered automobile in the year 1892.

Their automobile went on to win the 1895 Times-Herald, $2000 prize money race of 54 Miles in about 10 hours beating the German imports. The automobile was fitted with a single cylinder , 4 HP engine with electric ignition.

The Dureya motor wagon company started in 1896 and was finally closed down in 1917.

Logo of the Steven – Duryea.

A Stevens-Duryea car. Stevens-Duryea company ceased production in 1924.

While the Duryea brothers is generally credited with producing America’s first practical Gasoline powered automobile , John William Lambert is rumoured to have made first 3 wheeled gasoline powered motocycle in 1891.

Edouard Delamare-Deboutteville (1856 – 1901) of France  is claimed to have created the first petrol engine driven automobile in 1884 , even before Benz or Daimler. 

A 1884 patent document(no. 160267) popped up in the early 1980’s which led to the claim that Delamare-Deboutteville along with his assistant Malandin could have built and operated an “automobile” in 1884, even though there is no clear evidence for physical build and operation of the automobile.

The French celebrated 100 years of the Automobile in 1984 based on the above document as well as built reconstructed models out of the drawing.

Whatever be the claim , the Automobile never looked back after their invention in the mid 1880’s

Gottileb Daimler (1834-1900), Germany , was a pioneer in the development of internal combustion engine and automobiles. He , along with Wilhelm Maybach (later luxury car manufacturer), worked in Deutz,  the engine development company of Nicolaus Otto, the inventor of the Otto cycle and Petrol engine. Both Daimler and Maybach left Deutz in 1880 after differences with Otto.
In the year 1885 , Daimler fitted a small engine on to a wooden framed motorcycle called “Riding Car”  and Maybach drove the “automobile” for a few miles at a maximum speed of 7 mph. Later on they fitted bigger engines to stagecoaches and thus began the automotive era.
After the death of Daimler in 1900, businessman Emil Jellinek entered in to discussions with the company to design and develop new engines for racing purposes and called it by his 10-year-old daughter’s name , Mercedes and thus born the Mercedes brand.
The Daimler logo – three-point star – signifies dominance in Land, water & air. The word Mercedes added later on.
 A 1901 , 35 hp Mercedes car.
In the year 1926 , Daimler and Benz & Cie merged to form the company Daimler Benz – the three-point star of Daimler surrounded by the laurels of Benz.
In 1998 , Daimler Benz acquired Chrysler corporation and renamed itself as DaimlerChrysler and in 2007 , it divested Chrysler to become Daimler AG

Karl Friedrich Benz (1844 – 1929) is credited with developing the first gasoline powered automobile in the world. He founded the company Benz & Cie in the year 1883 and was awarded a patent for a motorwagen in 1885. In 1886, the first gasoline powered automobile , the Benz Patent Motorwagen was publicly demonstrated , thus becoming the world’s first gasoline powered automobile.

The motorwagen was made famous by Bertha Benz in 1888, who without the knowledge of Karl Benz , drove it to Pforzheim – a distance of 66 miles, recoding the first long distance automobile journey. Fuelling the vehicle by getting “gasoline” from pharmacies – the first filling stations,  she was also credited with inventing the brake lining when she asked a shoe maker to nail leather on to the brake blocks to make the vehicle to stop in shorter distance. She had also suggested to Karl Benz to add an extra gear to make hill climbing better – may be the first customer feedback mechanism.

One of the famous and large selling models of Benz & Cie was-

The logo of the original Benz & cie





The Benz & Cie merged with Daimler group in 1926 as Daimler-Benz, naming its cars as Mercedes-Benz, the Mercedes name coming from the Daimler group.

 Siegfried Samuel Marcus (1831 – 1898) was German born Austrian inventor and was holding many patents. In 1870 , he fitted a liquid fuelled(gasoline) engine on to a handcart and drove it for a few meters. This “car” is known as the First Marcus car and may be the world’s first gasoline powered automobile.

1870 – The First Marcus Car

In 1889/1890 , he developed a much more car-like automobile and it is known as the Second Marcus car.

1889 – The Second Marcus Car

There has been a rumor that the Second Marcus car was ready by 1875 but there is no evidence that it ran before 1889.

The steam car, invented and operated by Frenchman Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot (1725 – 1804),  for pulling military artillery uphill. Weighing about 2.5 tons it moved at a leisurely 2.5 mph speed. Cugnot’s various versions of this monster ran between years 1769 – 1771.


It is also rumoured that the first automobile accident was recorded with this car , when the operator could not control the vehicle and rammed in to a stone wall.

Below is video on the reconstruction of a model, its operation and the CRASH


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