Liberia Dupont 12HP Twin Cylinder Four Seater Tonneau by Barjau

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Liberia Dupont


12HP Twin Cylinder Four Seater Tonneau by Barjau





One pioneering automobiliste was Gustave Dupont, who, born in 1863 in Arras, France would have watched the burgeoning car industry grow up around him, particularly once he moved to Paris to study in the 1880s. From 1885, his base was Plessis-Trévise, where in 1900 two dramatic changes in his life occurred, he was elected as the first Mayor of this commune, and secondly, he founded his own automobile manufacturing business, which he named Libéria, it is said referencing the liberation of the commune which had just happened. The company is known to have had 16 employees in 1900, skilled engineers and craftsmen who constructed these new cars, with for their day relatively modern steel tube chassis, front mounted engine and radiator with water pump.

Dupont appears to have drawn on the above-mentioned local resources quite heavily, for propulsion he chose a proprietary Aster units, initially offering a single cylinder 6.5hp model and then following this up with a larger two cylinder Aster powered model, which was rated at 12hp. The latter of which this is an example, carries a unit denoted as a Type 23K engine, and places separate cylinders on a common aluminium crankcase and is married to a 3 speed quadrant change gearbox which would also appear to be an 'off the shelf item'.

These cars, the epitome of the 'voiturette' genre are known to have been available and in active use by the spring of 1901, as they received commentary in contemporary press reports. They were also used competitively: a single Libéria is known to have contested the Paris-Bordeaux in May, by G. Lot who finished 26th of 95 runners, and three were present at the Paris-Berlin in June, though none completed the route.

At the Grand Palais in November 1901, Gustave proudly exhibited his wares, as depicted on these pages with an example of each of his models present. By June 1902, he would contest the Paris-Vienna as a driver for the first time. There as one of 138 entrants listed, a high attrition rate saw the field reduced to only 80 finishers, of which he was the 78th! But, it seems that Dupont's sincere wish to build a car of quality and also to campaign in these races challenged his ability to make them commercially successful, and as quickly as his star had shone, it began to fade, first losing his mayoral title, and then Libéria being declared in bankruptcy in August 1902.

Sold for: 115000 GBP
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