Auto- Fauteuil 1908 model “Tour” 490cc water cooled single frame # 29517
The Auto- Fauteuil is often regarded as one of the forerunners of the modern scooter.
It was an unusual machine, manufactured between 1902 and circa 1922 by the firm of Georges Gauthier and Cie. in Blois, Loir-et -Cher.
At first the power units were supplied by De Dion Bouton, but by 1906 Gauthier used his own engines.
These engines could be ordered in several capacities, with magneto or battery and coil ignition and engines could be air-cooled or water cooled.
The sales brochure stated clearly that the Auto-Fauteuil was neither car nor motorcycle; it should be regarded as a lightweight two-wheeled automobile that combined all advantages of cars and motorcycles, without suffering from their respective weaknesses.
( The writer wisely didn’t go into details.)
It was also clear who the prospective customers were: the gentry, doctors, lawyers, solicitors and clergymen.
All these persons, the brochure went on, had to uphold a certain dignity in their appearance and the seating position on the Auto-Fauteuil was just perfect for that.
Technically the little vehicle was very interesting: a low seating position was assured by the use of small diameter wheels.
The engine was placed vertically under the comfortable sprung seat and could be started by a hand crank.
The right hand side handlebar grip controlled the clutch and in case of cold weather the exhaust could be used as a heating source for the rider’s feet.
Two small coil springs acted as front suspension.
A very innovative item on the machine was the centre stand, seen on many machines only some 45 years later….
This unusual veteran is an older restoration and has been used regularly in rallies.