Derby K4 1.8-Litre Course 1930
Chassis no. 124
Engine no. 20865
•Rare six-cylinder Derby sports car
•Delightful sporting coachwork
•Believed delivered new to Italy
•An older restoration showing lovely patina
A relatively short-lived make, in existence from 1921 to 1936, Derby was the name given to its cars by Éts B Montet based at Courbevoie, France. Founded in 1912, the company was engaged in general engineering at first and after WWI began dealing in war surplus Harley-Davidson motorcycles. A Harley-Davidson v-twin engine was used to power the first Derby automobile, a lightweight cyclecar. Within a couple of seasons the H-D engined cyclecar had gone, replaced by larger models powered by Chapuis-Dornier four-cylinder engines. SCAP and Ruby engines were used also as the Derby range expanded still further, and then in October 1928 at the Salon de l'Automobile in Paris, the company released its first six-cylinder car, powered by a CIME sidevalve engine. Derby's first CIME-powered sixes were of 1.2 and 1.3 litres capacity, increasing to 1.6 and 1.8 litres within the next few years. Derbys of this period were extremely handsome, with many carrying low-slung sports or racing bodies.
The brand was widely known abroad, being built under license between 1924 and 1926 in Italy where it was marketed as the Fadini, and sold in the UK as the Vernon-Derby from 1927 to 1930. Following founder Bertrand Montet's death in 1928, Derby passed into the control of British investors. This change of ownership did not bode well, as the firm pressed ahead with an ambitious V8-powered front-wheel-drive model at a time of economic recession. Very few of the V8s were made and the firm eventually closed its doors in 1936 having made some very attractive sporting models but seldom more than a few hundred cars each year.
Offered here is a rare Derby K4 with 1.8-litre six-cylinder CIME engine, four-speed gearbox, two-seater coachwork, and a short wheelbase of 2.70 metres, which makes for a very sporting drive. Like the greater part of the Derbys of the period, this K4 is believed to have been delivered new to Italy where it was found in a collection in the early 1960s (see photograph on file). The Derby probably spent most of its life in Italy before ending up in 2015 in France where it resides today. The car has been partially restored over the years, but the vendor advises us that it remains largely original and is in very good condition. Accompanying documentation consists of an old ASI document (dated 1991); a few invoices; French Carte Grise; and the aforementioned period photograph of the car in Italy. A unique opportunity to own an ultra-rare six-cylinder French sports car from the late Vintage period.
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