The pioneer age of motoring was driven by passion, obsession and the need for more speed. The thrill of these new-fangled automobiles drew thousands of people to the roadside - desperate to know the sounds and smells, and to taste the dust which would cling to the air in the wake of these roaring monsters. Their wooden wheels clad in thin rubber bands defied logic and defined a hero-generation in the clouds that erupted as they stormed by.
At this time in history the racetrack hadn’t even been formulated. Organized racing was from town A to town B, and the biggest event was the Gordon Bennett race which attracted the finest racers of the day; a 550km charge across the host nation designed to test driver and car to the limits and beyond. Fernand Charron, a bicycle racer, won the first race in a Panhard, and together with fellow racers Leonce Girardot and Emile Voigt was the driving force behind the world’s first automobile agency established 1898 - Charron, Girardot & Voigt, or CGV
After making a name for themselves on the racing scene and with the re-sale business an outstanding success, the trio embarked on construction their own cars in 1901. The marque quickly gained note in motorsport and passenger car design alike. Heavily influenced by Panhard, CGV developed one of the world's first straight-eight cylinder engines in 1903 (a 7.2 litre racing unit). The underslung front radiator gave the car a distinctive ‘open-mouthed’ look, and the CGV became a household name to those early motor-sport devotees. In 1904 they produced 216 cars, mostly for the wealthy sports-minded enthusiast. Rebranded Automobile Charron in 1906 after a split between the three, the marque continued until 1930.
120 years on, and these cars still draw some of the biggest crowds. Edwardian races at events like Goodwood Members, VSCC and Vintage Revival Montlhery produced the same rapturous delight for onlookers – these monster machines rage past one another in complete denial of their aged years and simple mechanical designs.
CGV BS8280 was a car re-birthed for this exact reason. When our client spotted a 1904 CGV chassis, axles and gear box in an auction during the 1980’s, he couldn’t resist. On the 9th of June 1998, he registered the completed Edwardian racer, which was style on the 1905 100hp CGV as pictured with Léonce Girardot.
BS8280 is an inspired recreation of the CGV marque using the original parts, and comes complete with a Simplex 10ltr engine, as well as a fully restored but as-yet unused 4.5ltr CGV engine. The Simplex 10ltr engine was fitted as to best replicate the correct engine and style of the types fitted to CGV at the time.
Since completion, this dramatic and fire-breathing car has competed in multiple track events as well as numerous road trips across Europe and the United Kingdom. The decision to replace the front wheels; updating the wooden frames to aluminum was made following a couple of spectacular failures over the years, this was a safety consideration and makes the car more usable.
Seeing is believing with this extraordinary vehicle, and an encounter not many could forget. I highly recommend early viewing to avoid disappointment.
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