1903 Peugeot

The Collection’s Exhibit

This is an early example of the two-seat Type 54. Previously the property of a doctor in Basingstoke, the Peugeot was bought in 1929 by Richard Shuttleworth from a scrap dealer in Andover for the sum of £3.10s. Like many other of Richard’s acquisitions, moving the Peugeot from Hampshire to Old Warden was an adventure.

With friend Jimmy Edmunds at the wheel, Richard towed the Peugeot, with paraffin side lamps and no rear light, behind his sports Alvis – Edmunds wearing Richard’s father’s coaching coat to keep out the elements. The convoy paused in the centre of London for coffee, and at some road works north of London a red warning lamp was ‘borrowed’ to fit on the rear of the Peugeot to complete the journey.

The Peugeot took part in the London to Brighton Run of 1929, and since then has been a participant on nearly 20 occasions as well as being a popular sight at Shuttleworth vehicle parades. This is one the earliest Peugeots to have wheel rather than tiller steering.

Peugeot ranks alongside Daimler, Benz and Panhard & Levassor as being one of the oldest car makers in the world. Indeed it was importer Emile Levassor who sold Daimler engines to the emerging French manufacturer Armand Peugeot to propel their first successful automobiles.

Bicycle manufacturer Peugeot built his first automobile, a tricycle, in 1888, powered by steam. This prompted Levassor to contact him and suggest that the Daimler internal combustion engine would be far better than boiling water! With a nod to the company’s cycling roots, the original Peugeots had wire-spoked wheels.

The Type 54 has often been incorrectly named ‘Bebe’, a term actually used on a 1913 car part-designed for Peugeot by Ettore Bugatti.


Manufacturer: SA des Automobiles Peugeot, Paris
Model: Two seat Type 54 open Tourer
Engine: 5hp 652cc, single cylinder
Top Speed: 28 mph



This exhibit is part of the Richard Shuttleworth trail.



What the Victorians Did for Us – Making it Big (2001, BBC) 20:23 Link to Youtube Clip below. Presenter Adam Hart-Davis.

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