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1901 GEORGES RICHARD 8 HP
1901 Georges Richard 8 hp

GEORGES RICHARD

The history of the Georges Richard-Brasier concern is complicated, mainly because of the frequent changes of its title. As automobile manufacturers the firm achieved fame when its cars won the world's premier motor race of the period, the Gordon Bennett Trophy, in 1904 and 1905, yet in 1904 the Richard brothers left the business they had founded to establish the Unic marque that became well known for its light cars and taxi cabs.

Georges and Maxime Richard entered the Parisian bicycle trade in 1893 and three years later car manufacture began, their first vehicles being virtually identical to the contemporary belt driven Benz Velo, although whether the design was license-made or simply pirated is unknown. However, in 1899 the firm was reorganised and larger cars with horizontal front-mounted twin-cylinder engines were introduced, but still with belt drive and their Benz ancestry was further evident in the continued use of a left-hand driving position. To supplement their model range a licence was obtained to produce the Belgian Vivinus voiturette. This was also belt drive but had a vertical single-cylinder air-cooled engine mounted at the front. Several hundred of these were made in the next few years, not only by Georges Richard but also by the parent firm, by New Orleans in England, and by de Dietrich in Germany.

However, the Georges Richard concern was just not keeping up with rapidly changing design developments and in 1901 the company obtained the services of Henri Brasier, formerly chief designer at Mors. Brasier introduced state of the art motorcars to the Georges Richard range and by 1902 Brasier's name had been added to the company's products. However, following the 1904 Gordon Bennett win, the more simple title of Richard-Brasier was used for its upmarket products. In February 1907 the Societe des Automobiles Brasier was formed and the Richard name was dropped. Like many firms in the depression of 1907 Brasier struggled, but the company diversified its range of models and in 1911 built just less than 1000 cars, made a profit, and paid its shareholders a 10% dividend.

After the Great War the firm entered a long decline, achieved another name change in 1927 when it became Chaigneau-Brasier, and ceased to produce motorcars in 1930, the factory being sold to Delahaye.


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