Paris

5-6 February 2014

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Lot 19

1921 Th. Schneider 4½-Litre Tourer by Domain

  • Chassis no. 21.20.1-28
  • Engine no. 28

Sold for €61.600


4,480 cc six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual gearbox, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and two-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 3,505 mm

  • Original Domain coachwork
  • Matching-numbers car
  • Long-time ownership


On 4 July 1925, Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald captioned a photograph of “Mr A.H. Barnes, a Sydney motorist, and the Th. Schneider car in which he lowered the Adelaide to Melbourne record. The time was 12 hours 10 minutes for 573 miles.”



It was a remarkable achievement in 1925. Australia’s Great South Road (now the Hume Highway), which was a main thoroughfare since 1814, linked the two cities and was not fully paved until the 1940s. Prior to the mid-1930s, it was a popular venue for unauthorised speed trials.



Théophile Schneider entered the French motor industry early, teaming with Édouard Rochet to build the Rochet-Schneider automobile at Lyon in 1894. Schneider, however, moved on in 1910, to a factory at Besançon, where he entered automobile manufacture on his own. His first car was a 1,850-cubic centimetre, four-cylinder model with a radiator behind the bonnet, which was a style that would become familiar on Renaults. Under the badge of Th. Schneider, they entered numerous races in the 1912 to 1914 period, with the best success being a 2nd place finish in the Grand Prix de France.



The firm resumed auto manufacture after the war and transitioned to stylish vee-shaped front-mounted radiators. The 4½ litre six, of which this car is an excellent example, was built through 1924.



Just three 6-cylinder Th. Schneider cars were imported into Australia. At £1,950 in chassis form, they were nearly twice as expensive as the 4½-Litre Bentley. Two of them were bodied by Domain coachworks of Melbourne, as the Adelaide to Melbourne Speed car was, and this is clearly one of the two, as it still bears the Domain signature on its sill plates. According to the consignor, it is strongly believed to be the speed record car mentioned. It was fully restored in the late 1960s, and it has only been in two long-term ownerships since. The last long-term custodian has owned the car since the early 1990s, and he commissioned a major engine rebuild in 2012.



The car is original in virtually all respects and has matching numbers. It is ready to be enjoyed, as only a modest re-commissioning is needed before returning it to the road and long-distance rallying. Surviving six-cylinder Th. Schneider cars are rare, and it is believed that this is the only running example with its original body. Compared to its rivals, such as the Vauxhall 30-98 or the 4½-Litre Bentley, this 1921 Th. Schneider represents superb value in today’s marketplace.






Moteur six cylindres, 4 480 cm3, boîte manuelle à quatre rapports, essieu avant et pont arrière rigides sur ressorts semi-elliptiques, freins à commande mécanique sur deux roues. Empattement: 3 505 mm



  • Carrosserie d’origine
  • Numéros concordants
  • Conservée longtemps par le même propriétaire




Le 4 juillet 1925, le journal australien Sydney Morning Herald publia une photo légendée « M. A. H. Barnes, automobiliste de Sydney et la Th. Schenider avec laquelle il vient de battre le record entre Adelaide et Melbourne. Son temps a été de 12 heures 10 minutes pour 573 miles (922 km) ».



C’était un exploit remarquable en 1925. La Great South Road australienne (aujourd’hui la Hume Highway), itinéraire important depuis 1814, qui reliait les deux villes, ne reçut un revêtement en dur que dans les années 1940. Avant le milieu des années 1930, c’était une route idéale pour y pratiquer des essais de vitesse illégaux.



Théophile Schneider débuta très tôt dans l’industrie automobile associé à Edouard Rochet dans la construction de la première Rochet-Schneider à Lyon en 1894. Schneider se transféra en 1910 à Besançon où il fonda sa propre marque d’automobiles. Son premier type fut une quatre-cylindres de 1 850 cm3 dont le radiateur était placé en arrière du capot selon la configuration bien connue des Renault. Sous la marque Th. Schneider, ces voitures participèrent à de nombreuses épreuves de 1912 à 1914. Leur meilleur résultat fut une deuxième place au GP de France 1912.



La firme reprit la production automobile après la Grande Guerre en adoptant des radiateurs en V à l’avant. La six-cylindres de 4,5 litres, dont la voiture présentée est un bel exemple, fut produite jusqu’en 1924.



Trois six-cylindres Th. Schenider seulement furent importées en Australie. Au prix de 1 950 livres en châssis nu, elles coûtaient presque deux fois plus cher qu’une Bentley 4½-Litre. Deux d’entre elles furent habillées par Domain, carrossier à Melbourne. Il s’agit d’une de ces deux voitures car elle porte toujours la signature de Domain sur les plaques de seuil. D’après le vendeur, il y a de fortes présomptions qu’il s’agisse de la voiture du record. Sa mise en vente met un terme à une longue période de présence dans la même collection avec deux propriétaires seulement depuis les années 1960. La voiture a été totalement restaurée à la fin de cette décennie. Le vendeur actuel qui acheta la voiture au début des années 1990 fit restaurer le moteur en 2010.



La voiture est d’origine pratiquement sur tous les points et ses numéros concordent. Elle est prête à prendre la route après une petite révision d’usage. Les six-cylindres Th. Schneider survivantes sont rares et il est à peu près certain que l’on soit en présence de la seule voiture fonctionnelle portant sa carrosserie d’origine. Comparée à ses rivales, la Vauxhall 30-98 ou la Bentley 4½-Litre, cette Th. Schneider 1921 représente actuellement un excellent investissement sur le marché de la collection.

Addendum

Please note that this car is EC taxes paid contrary to what is stated in the catalogue.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more