1904 Ceirano De-Dion Bouton


  • Has participated several times in the prestigious Turin-Asti-Turin race
  • This car was found by the seller's father in 1962/63 and restored shortly afterwards
  • Fully documented restoration process

The Attractions

The four Ceirano brothers were pioneers of motoring in Italy and founded no fewer than ten different car manufacturing companies at the dawn of the 20th century. Their contribution to the advancement of the automotive industry was fundamental and the rare opportunity to own a piece of Ceirano history is simply unmissable.
We are delighted to be able to offer this fantastic opportunity. Here we present a 1904 Ceirano De-Dion Bouton that the Automotoclub Storico Italiano (ASI) has officially recognised as one of their earliest creations. The car was found in complete condition by the seller's father in 1962/63 and professionally restored shortly afterwards. It has participated in numerous races and rallies, including the prestigious Torino-Asti-Torino race.
It is powered by a single-cylinder De-Dion Bouton engine, giving the car a top speed of 50-55 km/h, a remarkable performance for its era. The car is efficient and drivable, but the seller recommends a complete overhaul before driving it on the road again.

History and Documentation

  • Confirmed by ASI as produced by the Ceirano brothers
  • ASI has dated it 1904 (see Targa Oro) although several experts believe the car is actually from 1904
  • The car was depicted on a monument dedicated to the Ceirano brothers in Cuneo, their home town
  • The number '4464' on the radiator was replicated during the restoration as it was on the car when it was acquired, although it is not a registration number
  • The car was without a registration certificate when it was found by the seller's father
The seller's father rescued this car in 1962/63, having found it almost by accident. According to our information, the seller's father met a distinguished gentleman at a tyre shop in Turin who was looking for tyres with inner tubes, and who therefore evidently owned a classic car. After expressing his interest, he obtained the stranger's address and went there that afternoon to buy the car, which was located at a military vehicle dealer.
The car was remarkably complete, although it had been painted yellow with a polka dot pattern, as it had been used for carnival parades, and had iron wheels instead of tyres.
The restoration, documented by an invoice, was carried out by an official Lancia workshop near Corso Rosselli in Turin in 1963. Since then, it has participated several times in the famous Torino-Asti-Torino race in the second half of the 1980s. It subsequently participated in many other rallies, both with its father and son, who kept hundreds of road books of the events in which the car participated over the years.
In recent years it has been driven infrequently and now it is time to find a new custodian for this unique car.

The Condition

  • Complete and well presented
  • Beautiful period correct colour scheme
  • Presents a pleasing patina
  • Brass finish in good shape
  • Paint has minor chipping, consistent with the age of the restoration
  • No traces of corrosion or damage
Considering that the restoration took place some 61 years ago, this car presents itself very well indeed. It now has an attractive patina but appears to have no visible signs of deterioration or damage.
A large part of the wooden bodywork had to be replaced as it was rotten, and then paint was applied in the correct colour for the time. The seats were reupholstered by the seller's father and required no further work afterwards. We understand that the rear drawers were slightly modified before the car was acquired by the seller's father, who chose not to restore them to their original condition, preferring to keep the car as he found it. For the same reason, the number on the radiator grille has been retained, although its meaning is unknown.

The Mechanics

  • The engine is a single-cylinder De-Dion Bouton
  • Manual gearbox with three gears plus reverse
  • Gear selector and handbrake are operated by external levers on the right side
  • Pedals: accelerator (central), then brake and clutch on the side - a scheme closer to today's standards than later cars such as the Ford T
  • Brake is on the drive shaft
  • Conical clutch
  • It has two fuel tanks, one under the seat (the main one) and a brass one (which also holds oil) on the centre fender
  • When travelling uphill, it is necessary to open the tap on the tank mounted on the flame guard, because the petrol contained in the tank under the seat cannot reach the carburettor - it is therefore necessary to use the 2-3 litres of fuel contained in this small tank and then close it again once you are back on level ground
  • It is possible that the carburettor is not the correct one for the car as it seems that in 1903/4 the design was different
  • The car starts exclusively by cranking, with a single stroke and return, using an acetylene system
  • Top speed of 50-55 km/h
The De-Dion Bouton engine in this car was state-of-the-art at the time and the fact that it still works today is a great tribute to its designers. The seller shows that it runs smoothly, but as this car has been idle for several years, it would certainly benefit from a mechanical overhaul. The water pump is leaking because it requires a waxed rope seal, which is currently worn. The transmission was overhauled in 1963 by the seller's father.
The seller informs us that driving this car is very exciting. It really is an incredible experience to drive such an old car!

This sale is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Car & Classic. By submitting an offer, you also agree to the following:
✓Theseller is registered as a private seller, which means that consumer rights under EU consumer protection legislation do not apply. You will be protected in any case by the Terms and Conditions of Car & Classic.
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✓Thisvehicle is 'Sold AsSeen', on an 'as isand where is' basis and without warranty. Photos and descriptions are for illustrative purposes only and it is good practice to carry out a full inspection of the vehicle before purchase for added peace of mind and security.
✓VATis included in the buyer's deposit. VAT may or may not be included in the final offer or asking price, as specified in the ad.
✓Justlike you, we want transactions to be as straightforward and transparent as possible, which is why we subject all UK vehicles for sale on Car & Classic to an HPI check to ensure that they are not listed in insurance databases as damaged or stolen and that they are free of any financial liens, allowing you to bid with confidence.
✓Wealso check whether vehicles have been declared withdrawn from circulation and compensated as irreparably damaged when an ad is published on Car & Classic, and where necessary we indicate the category of damage reported (Cat C/D/S/N) to help you. In any case, the presence or absence of such indications is no guarantee of the condition of the vehicle and it is always preferable to carry out a full vehicle history check yourself before submitting an offer.
✓Buyers are responsible for collecting or delivering the vehicle. Additional customs duties and import taxes may apply when importing vehicles, so it is advisable to check beforehand. If required, we can direct you to a third-party shipping company that can help. For more details, or to communicate with our team, please email [email protected].

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Auction Details
  • Year 1903
  • Make NONE
  • Model Uncategorised
  • Colour Beige
  • Mileage 0
  • Engine size
  • Seller Type Private
  • Country Italy
  • Auction ends
Bidding history
6 Bids
  • AllenWi•••• €25,000 18/07/24
  • leonard•••• €23,000 15/07/24
  • barry.w•••• €22,500 15/07/24
  • michel•••• €20,000 15/07/24
  • packard•••• €16,000 14/07/24
  • Uguccio•••• €15,000 14/07/24

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