MOTAT secure working 1908 Clement-Bayard with Kiwi connection
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Auckland's Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) has introduced the newest addition to its collection, a rare 1908 – 09 Clement-Bayard 2-door open runabout with links to early motoring history in New Zealand.
The acquisition of this Clement-Bayard is particularly exciting for MOTAT as it is in full working condition, making it one of the oldest operational items within the museum’s extensive vehicle collection.
“The Clement-Bayard is another significant acquisition in line with MOTAT’s Vision and Collection Policy” said MOTAT Chief Executive Michael Frawley.
“While the car’s engine and chassis were built in France, it’s bodywork was designed and built in New Zealand - kiwi technology, ingenuity, and innovation in action”
Powered by a front-mount 1.2-litre 4-cylinder engine producing 8hp, this Clement-Bayard can reach speeds of up to 40 km/h.
This pre-WWI vehicle also represents an important point in our country’s motoring history. A point in which New Zealand was one of the largest importers of vehicles in the world.
The early presence of vehicles quickly had an impact on our urban design, developing industry, and saw the establishment of new laws and agencies for vehicle production, use and safety.
In 1907 government tariffs were imposed on imported assembled vehicles to help protect local coach builders and vehicle assemblers in New Zealand. This Clement-Bayard was therefore imported “flat” as a bare chassis and engine, and then assembled with a NZ made body to avoid the 20 per cent government tariff.
This vehicle was purchased in 1910 for Edward Furness Barton, a wealthy sheep farmer and transport enthusiast from the Masterton region. The car stayed within the Barton family until it was purchased as a museum piece in 1958 by George Edward Gilltrap.
It was first displayed in the Gilltrap Motor Museum in Rotorua and then in Queensland at the Gilltraps Auto Museum in Kirra, the vehicle stayed within the Gilltrap family after the collection was sold in 1989.
This donation is a significant acquisition for the museum and will be recognised by MOTAT as “From the Descendants of George and Kathleen Gilltrap.”
The Clement-Bayard will be displayed within MOTAT’s vehicle exhibition Accelerate: Driving New Zealand from mid-November, replacing Black Beauty which is on loan from Team New Zealand founders Giltrap Group.
“This acquisition, and the recent donations of the Hodge VW Beetle, the Jean Batten log books, flying helmet and medal clearly demonstrates that MOTAT’s reputation as a professionally run museum has grown and is recognised nationally and internationally,” said Frawley.
Clement-Bayard was founded in 1903 in the northern French town, Mezieres by Gustave Adolf Clement. Initially Clement-Bayard manufactured automobiles, but in 1908 expanded to manufacture aeroplanes and airships. The Company was known for its use of quality materials and for producing well-made vehicles and by 1908 was producing around 3000 cars per year.
This was an era of bespoke crafting of automobiles, the pre-production / assembly line era, when the creation of a vehicle was broken down to individual process.
During WW1 Clement-Bayard stopped vehicle production and focused on war production, military equipment and military vehicles, aero engines, airships and planes. In 1914 the original factory in Mezieres was taken over by the invading German forces, who shipped the machinery to Germany.
Following the end of WW1, Clement-Bayard resumed vehicle manufacture, but was sold in 1922 to Citroen.