Clement 9Hp Four Seater Rear Entrance Tonneau

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9Hp Four Seater Rear Entrance Tonneau





Any hope that the ramification of Adolphe Clément`s connections with the automobile industry can be dealt with in 300 words, without at least one major boob, is a vain on indeed.

He started making bicycles in a tiny workshop in Paris in 1878 and did well. In the nineties he acquired the French patent rights in Dunlop tyre and did even better. With part of his fortune he bought a large holding in the Gladiator concern, which was an Anglo-French company formed to develop and expand Alexandre Darracq`s Gladiator bicycle-building (in which Clément had originally had a part anyway). Before 1900, this firm started making motor-tricycles, quadricycles and voiturettes under the name of Gladiator or Clément-Gladiator, and most of these were propelled by Aster engines supplied by another concern in which M. Clément had a large interest. He was also responsible, between December 1899 and 1903, for building under licence from Panhard et Levassor a rear-engined voiturette called the Clément-Panhard, except in England where it was named the Stirling, Stirling-Panhard or Clément- Stirling. It was, incidentally, designed by Commandant Krebs, a director of Panhard et Levassor, who took the curiously retrograde step of using a centrally pivoted front axle.

Towards the end of 1901 Clément began producing conventional front-engined Panhard-type cars (probably designed by Marius Barbarou, who was afterwards with Benz and Delaunay-Belleville) which were most successful. Racing Clément cars took part in the Paris-Vienna, the Paris-Madrid and other events. Gladiator cars, also front engined now, were also selling well and an offshore of the business was started in England.

The English concessionaire for Clément cars was D. M. Weigel who organised a syndicate, financed by the Earl of Shrewsbury and Talbot, which set up a magnificent factory at Ladbroke Grove to build Clément cars for English market. This happened in 1903 and at first cars were practically identical with French-built Cléments and were called Clément-Talbots. Thereafter the Clément was gradually dropped from the name and Talbot cars developed along slightly different lines.

Another British concern called the Clément Motor Co. Ltd was formed to buy the manufacturing rights of the French Clément cars, and a factory was in operation by 1907 in Coventry, building British Clément cars. This company claimed, incidentally, to have sold their entire year`s output at the 1909 Motor Show.    

By 1909 the English Gladiator cars were being built in Austin Company`s factory at Birmingham (in which old man Coventry appears to have an interest), and apart from the radiators the 15 hp, 18/24 hp, 40 hp and 60 hp English Gladiators were identical with Austin models of similar rating. Both the Gladiators and the Austin differed from French-built Clément-Gladiators in being slightly more expensive.

Having sold manufacturing rights in so many different quarters Adolphe Clément undertook not to build motor cars under his own name and consequently he set up yet another business and the cars produced were called Bayards or Bayards- Cléments or Clément-Bayards (the las being the commonest form in England). The later examples were easily distinguished from Clément-Gladiators. British Cléments, and so on because they had Renault type bonnets and radiators.

All of these makes earned good reputations. Fortunately the Clément-Rochelle need not concern us as it did not appear until 1927, but was not there an early tricar called a Clément-Garrard? Also there were the Diatto- Clément or Clediaber.

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