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|Author:||Michiel Mobiel [ Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:53 am ]|
|Post subject:||Sala Soc.Man.d´armes|
RM Auctions wrote:
Estimate: £100,000-£120,000 AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of £126.500
24/30 hp, 4,849 cc four-cylinder T-head engine, four-speed gearbox with dual chain drive, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, gearbox brake and handbrake to rear wheels. Wheelbase: 125.5"
Encountered in Sardinia in the late 1970s, this vehicle offered a clue to its identity: the legend “Société Manufacturière d’Armes – St. Etienne” on its sole surviving hub cap. St. Etienne is the capital city of the department of the Loire, a manufacturing centre known for armaments and bicycles. One of these industries indulged in both – and in automobiles.
Société Manufacturière d’Armes, literally translated as “weapons manufacturing company,” branched out into bicycles as the cycling craze came to France. As with the rest of the industry, they found the boom short-lived, but the new popularity of the motor car, especially in France, was very tempting. Not among the first to give the new mode a try, the Société had embarked on the field by the latter part of 1904, when advertisements for the “Svelte” automobile started to appear. “Svelte,” the brand name of their bicycles, translates as “slender” or “lithe,” a desirable adjective for a bicycle or light and manoeuvrable car, but not one fitting for a large landaulette. In any case, the name Société Manufacturière d’Armes has a heftier sound and has spawned an English-language nickname: “The Society.” This car has acquired its own folk tradition, and as the only known survivor of its maker’s brief venture into automobiles – they had exited the business by 1907 – it has had little in the way of competition.
The body bears the nameplate “Cesare Sala – Milan.” Carrozzeria Italiana Cesar Sala, one of the oldest Italian coachbuilders, had been in business since the mid-19th century, starting out under the name Tarmella & C. From 1897, by which time they were operating under the name Cesare Sala Succ. Taramella, they were providing bodies for Benz chassis and were renowned for quality work. The Italian royal family ordered a limousine on a Fiat chassis for Queen Margharita in 1906, and in the 1920s Sala became best known for bodies on Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8 and 8A chassis. The body on this car was thought to be a later transplant until, during restoration, a card was found under some of the original upholstery with the legend “Serpollet Italiana” – an offshoot of the French company which built a few cars and commercial vehicles at Milan from 1906 to 1908. The implications of this are not entirely clear, but the transplant of bodies was far from unusual, even when the cars were new.
This is a large and imposing landaulette, its Aster Type 46NS T-head four providing ample thrust to keep up with and ahead of traffic. When found it was basically complete, lacking only bonnet and radiator, but complete restoration has since been carried out by Mark Tidy, including the fabrication of missing items. It was subsequently owned by Goff Radcliffe and in the care of a later owner has been a regular on the London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run. It also participated in the 2000 centenary re-enactment of the One Thousand Mile Trial.
Imposing in dark blue with vermilion coachlining, it is richly endowed with brass accoutrements, including massive brass headlamps by Rejina Lanardini of Milan, centre pillar Lucas King of the Road lamps and side lamps.
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