Anyone who’s driven a brass-era car like this 1911 De Dion Bouton Runabout knows they provide more thrills at 20mph than a modern car at any speed. Find this thriller here on eBay in East Jordan, Michigan.
Brass-era cars have experienced a price decrease in recent years due in no small part to the general public not recognizing the manufacturer’s names and the public’s perception that the cars are slow, unreliable, and above all else, boring. In regards to the later, nothing could be further from the truth.
This particular 1911 De Dion Bouton runabout is the perfect example. Sold as a running chassis without bodywork in 1910 for $2,250, the De Dion boasts a hand-crank started 14hp four-cylinder engine and new two-seater bodywork with a monocle windshield for the driver and a running board mounted mechanic’s seat. Most of the original brass hardware remains with the car and is now in excellent polished condition and the dual spare tires are well suited to long-distance touring. All of which adds up to an incredibly exciting car.
So, while modern cars require no thought on behalf of the driver to start, accelerate, brake, and—unless balancing the car on the edge of its adhesion—to turn, the De Dion, requires a series of steps and a physical connection to the powerplant with the hand crank to start the engine. Accelerating requires the adjustment of myriad brass switchgear while watching the road and traffic, and turning demands the driver’s careful attention. The adrenaline rush isn’t dissimilar to driving a high performance sports car on a racetrack, except it all takes place in the neighborhood at legal speeds.
If this were ours we’d immediately enter the 2012 Great Race and consider a wild road trip out to cover this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.