1904 De Dietrich

The Collection’s exhibit

Originally an iron works and railway rolling stock manufacturer De Dietrich began to make cars in 1897 in both its French (Luneville) and German (Niederbronn) factories, originally under licence from other automobile manufacturers. Cars made in Luneville were of the Panhard-style from Marseilles based Turcat-Mery with advanced specification four-cylinder engines of varying sizes.

 

The Collection’s car was first owned by Sir George McKenzie of Tempsford Park and originally fitted with a tonneau-style four seater body. It was registered to Richard Shuttleworth in November 1928, who fitted the present ‘racing’ body after he discovered it had once been raced (‘just for the challenge’) by the well-known Edwardian driver S F Edge.

On an original racer from the early 1900s the mechanic’s seat would almost certainly have been lower for protection from dust and stones. Riding mechanics sat low down on the floor to aid handling, but things could get very hot from the exhaust pipe causing a ‘pants on fire’ situation!

 

In June 1930 Richard and his friend Jimmy Edmunds competed in the ‘Old Crocks’ race at Brooklands, the De Dietrich lapping at 75mph. Richard used the 5.5 litre car around Old Warden, and created quite a stir when the drove through the centre of Biggleswade town at 55mph.

The car did its first London to Brighton Run in 1928, with Charles Martin driving and completed four more runs before 1940. Post war it first ran on the event in 1954. Nowadays it joins Edwardian ‘racers’ in Shuttleworth’s popular end of season Race Day.

 

Manufacturer: De Dietrich et Cie, Luneville, France
Model: Originally a four/five seat open tonneau converted to ‘racer’
Engine: 24hp Turcat-Mery 4 cylinder, 5.5-litre
Top Speed: 75 mph

 

It took part on the London to Brighton Run again in 2017.

In June 2017, vehicle section volunteers drove this car again at Brooklands for the first time since Richard Shuttleworth raced it there – it was a proud and emotional day!

This exhibit is part of the Richard Shuttleworth trail.

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