This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Click "Accept" to allow us to use cookies. You can revoke this consent in any moment. For more information please read our cookie policy Accept
Home
News & Events
Gallery
For Sale & Wanted
Membership Renewals
History
Members
LOGIN
Winner - the International Historic Motoring Awards 2016

Everything about the 1902 De Dion Bouton is confusing

Mar 14 2021

This article was featured earlier in the PreWarCar.com magazine (December 7, 2018)

"The car I drove on the London to Brighton Run recently is a 1902 De Dion Bouton, although everyone has always simply referred to the car as ‘Fifi’ since she arrived in the family at the beginning of 1934. Everything about the car is confusing: the clutch is not on the floor, but on the steering column; to slow the car down you have to press down the pedal on the floor that looks like it should be the accelerator, but it isn’t. The handbrake is pretty good but when you are turning right there is the choice between letting the driver behind know what you are doing or ploughing into the car in front; it is tempting to believe that early motorists had more arms than we have nowadays, or maybe no-one bothered indicating.

Everything about the start of the London to Brighton Run is exciting: the funny noises the different cars make (Fifi makes a “pop-pop” sound), the smells and the blasts of steam from some of the cars. Everyone seems to have made a special effort to polish their brass lamps, and dress themselves up. I never expected to see so many people waiting in Hyde Park to see us off - waving at the crowds was another challenge when I was concentrating on changing from first to second gear, making sure the engine didn’t stall and avoiding the car in front that suddenly stopped.

After all, that driving on the roads through London was relatively straightforward, as long as I planned ahead for the dozens of traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, mini roundabouts, and the uphills, that Fifi has a particular dislike for. By far the best part is driving through Sussex where it seems like there are thousands of people lined up by the side of the road, with their friends, old classic cars, BBQ’s and drinks, all cheering us on. And then there is the finish on Madeira Drive, with even more people helping us to celebrate. There is so much relief to have arrived, without any one of the dozens of problems that have afflicted the car over the years, when bits have fallen off, clogged up or broken.

I live in Brighton, and so many people I know look forward to the event, even hoping that one day they might get the chance to travel down on a car. As for driving a car, that is a special experience, which I loved."

Words by Grace Edwards. Photograph by Sussex Sport Photography.

READ ALL NEWS
Apr 06 2021 New video added to Team Jarrott page A new video is added to the Team Jarrott page about the Dunsfold Tricycle Races in 2014. Recreating the very first motor races in Britain on circa . . . Read more >
Mar 22 2021 Secrets of the Transport Museum Club member, Roger Horsfield, who has been a volunteer at the Brooklands Museum for a number of years, is one of the people who is taking viewers thro. . . Read more >
Mar 16 2021 Day Trip - London Transport Museum Depot At the recent Annual General Meeting it was suggested that the focus of the Club event programme for the remainder of the year should be on smaller sc. . . Read more >

THE DDBUK CLUB

President
Tom Cook

THE COMMITTEE

Chairman

Michael Edwards

Motorvations

Nick Pellett

Technical

Shaun Crofton

Regalia Officer

Andrew Howe-Davies

Treasurer

David Gibbins

Membership

Steve Burt

Secretary

Peter Fryer

CONTACT US