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Le Compte de Dion and M. Bouton formed De Dion Bouton et Trépardoux in Paris in 1883. By 1899 the company was marketing a 3 1/2hp Voiturette, an all-new four-wheel motor car with rear mounted engine driving through a system of gears to the rear wheels. With the new car came the renowned De Dion rear axle – years ahead of its time. A larger 4 1/2hp engine was offered in the vis-a-vis models from 1900 and with this power unit the car had a comfortable running speed of 25mph although braking ability was a limiting factor. By 1904 De Dion Bouton was firmly established as France’s most prolific motor car manufacturer, their fast-revving engines having set new standards in engine design at the turn of the century. A new generation of front-engined cars arrived for the 1902 season, again single cylinder models with atmospheric inlet valve and mechanical exhaust valve. These engines were so successful that De Dion sold them to many other manufacturers. De Dion’s gearbox was virtually fool proof for the first-time car driver, the fast-revving engines were supremely reliable and De Dion back-up and service was second-to-none. The number of surviving cars is testimony to their popularity and build quality and the single cylinder 8hp model of 1904 was the undoubted leader in its peer group.