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Donnet-Zedel Type-G Two-door Saloon

Donnet-Zedel Type-G Two-door Saloon

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Donnet-Zedel Type-G Two-door SaloonDonnet-Zedel Type-G Two-door SaloonDonnet-Zedel Type-G Two-door SaloonDonnet-Zedel Type-G Two-door SaloonDonnet-Zedel Type-G Two-door Saloon
Donnet-Zedel Type-G Two-door SaloonDonnet-Zedel Type-G Two-door SaloonDonnet-Zedel Type-G Two-door Saloon
Lot number 141
Hammer value N/S (est. £9,500 - £11,500)
Description Donnet-Zedel Type-G Two-door Saloon
Registration BF 7073
Year 1925
Colour Red
Engine size 1,098 cc
Chassis No. 18463
Engine No. 18669
Documents V5C; fresh MOT; one old MOT; copy handbook; bills etc

During their heyday in the late 1920s, Donnet-Zedel ranked fourth in the sales charts of France, well ahead of the likes of Salmson and Mathis, trailing only Citroen, Peugeot and Renault.

In 1924 the wealthy industrialist, Jerome Donnet, acquired the Zedel car company, along with their factory at Pontarlier in the Eastern part of France. At the time they were manufacturing a 3.2-litre and 2.1-litre range of side-valve six-cylinder cars, the design of which dated back to 1912. The larger of the two engines was quickly dropped and in 1925 a new sports model with a smaller two-litre engine was introduced with an updated inlet-over-exhaust head designed by none other than Ernest Henry – best known for his superb Peugeot and Ballot designs.

At much the same time, the new Type-G was introduced, another Henry design, this time with a simple 1,098cc side-valve engine mated to a four-speed gearbox. An altogether conventional machine, it was rugged and reliable, as proved by a 10,000km non-stop promotional adventure from Paris to Constantinople and back without carrying any spare parts.

The company’s subsequent models featured small capacity six-cylinder side-valve engines, typical of the period, these later cars being worthy if somewhat lacking in excitement. The last Donnet-Zedel rolled off the lines in late 1934, the factory being sold to the SIMCA concern to manufacture the baby FIAT under licence.

This pretty 1925 Type-G two-door saloon was spotted by the vendor advertised on a French website, its fabric body having been well restored, along with a comprehensive chassis restoration which included the main running gear, new springs, shackle pins and bushes. Its then owner (the son of the architect in residence for the Palais de Versaille) lived near Rouen and the plan was to drive the car back, although in the end common sense prevailed and a trailer was pressed into service.

Once back in England, the vendor took stock of his new purchase and found that although in nicely restored condition, it hadn't been run for around 10 years, so considerable time was spent on the usual recommissioning needed after such a period off the road.

The winter of 2014 was spent attending to numerous small jobs including tidying the interior which is now very smart, fitting an SU carburettor in place of the original troublesome Solex and fitting a new Lucas dynamo (the original units are inlcuded in the sale). The magneto was rebuilt by Ribblesdale Auto Electrics at a cost of £300 and while all of this was taking place, Cameron Engineering in Malvern made a repair to the cylinder block, replaced numerous studs and overhauled the valves. Colwall-based Vintage Metal also rebuilt the steering box and the car was comprehensively rewired. Finally, four new Michelin Bibendum tyres were fitted at eye-watering expense.

Since then, the car has proved extremely reliable and great fun to drive, its fabric body looking very smart along with quality chrome work and excellent general fit and finish, the owner planning to obtain a fresh MOT in time for the sale. Complete with a copy of the handbook, this charming RHD French saloon looks exceptional value when compared to an Austin 7 or Morris Minor, offering something a bit different in which to enjoy VSCC Light Car events or simply a stylish and handy way to pop down to the shops.

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