French Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

The Guélon Collection

Pierre Guélon was a succesful businessman in Auvergne. In 1972 he was visiting a local scrapyard selling brass off-cuts from his factory when a pile of scrap metal took his at attention. He could make out what appeared to be old motorcycle engines and components - very old.

He arranged a trade, and the large pile of rusty and dismembered motorcycles was swapped for a somewhat smaller pile of bright shiny brass. Pierre returned to his workshop with 380kg of ancient motorcycles, and so began the project which was to absorb him for the next 40 years.

A dozen motorcycles were resurrected - Pierre spent many years finding suitable parts, manufacturing others, constantly working on the giant jigsaw puzzles. At that time, most of these machines were hardly known - there were few photographs, no instruction manuals...

Fourteen years later another discovery was made, another pile of parts which complemented the first. From this a further 15 motorcycles were constructed and many of the parts were used to further complete the first group. More machines were added over the years, creating one of the most important private collections in France, including many from the pre-1914 era. It was largely unknown as M. Guélon kept it in a large garage, shown only to serious collectors.

The auction consisted of over 80 motorcycles, all of them rare and some which are completely unique, being the only surviving examples.

Some highlights of the sale:

    Anzani 3-Cylinder c.1906
    Auto Moto Tricycle c.1900
    c.1906 Bernasse
    Blériot D20 combination c.1920
    c.1900 Bolide
    Bourgery c.1898(2 examples)
    Bourgery c.1898
    Brillant Météore c.1902
    c.1929 Brough Superior SS680
    c.1905 Bruneau type MH
    c.1905 Buchet three cylinder model
    Clément (three different machines, 1902, 1903 and 1914)
    Damas, Sphinx engine, c.1899
    Dax Type A c.1933
    De Dion Bouton (two examples)
     c.1903 Degré, Minerva engine
    c.1903 Doué, Buchet engine
    c.1914 Douglas
    FN 4 cylindres and FN single Française Diamant
    c.1900 Garreau ¾ HP
    Georgia Knap type A and Type B
    Givaudan c.1902
    Griffon V-twin 5HP c.1905
    Herdtlé-Bruneau 150 cm3 c.1903
    Hurtu c.1904
    Janoir Type A c.1920
    c.1901 Lamaudiére-Labre
    c.1903 Landru, Renouard engine
    c.1904 L'Energie, Renaux engine
    c.1903 Lurquin-Coudert
    c.1914 Magnat Debon 500cc V-twin
    c.1931 Majestic
    c.1900 Marrot-Gardon Tricycle
    c.1904 Moto Cardan, Ader V-twin
    c.1906 Moto de course 2 cylindres 1000 cm3 (Ader engine)
    c.1903 Moto-Cardan 250cc
    New Hudson 6 ch c.1921
    New Motorcycle 500 cm3 c.1928
    c.1902 Pécourt (ZL engine) c.1899
    Pernoo, Labitte engine
    Peugeot (4 examples, 1899-1915)
    Renaux Tricycle c.1899
    c.1898 Ridel
    Rochet type MC and type MG
    c.1906 R. Ollier
    c.1919 Roue
    Saroléa 500cc Course de côte
    c.1902 Soncin 500cc racing
    Terrot, several examples 1914-1924
    Bruneau Tricar c.1905
    Walter, Buchet engine, c.1903
    Werner - 5 examples 1897-1906

The Guélon Collection was auctioned at Sale Rétromobile on the 9th February 2018. In their PDF catalogue, Arcturial writes:

    In this instance, we would like to thank the fabulous work of Bourdache, François-Marie Dumas and Bernard Salvat, three of the best specialists in the history of motorcycles. As both meticulous and monumental, the extensive research they carried out throughout their lifetime has made it possible to compile stories and documents that once would have been lost. They are therefore respectfully thanked here for their efforts.

    Il faut remercier ici le travail fabuleux de Bourdache, François-Marie Dumas et Bernard Salvat, trois des meilleurs spécialistes de l’histoire de la moto. Aussi minutieux que monumental, leurs travaux de recherche effectués tout au long de leur existence a permis de compiler des histoires et des documents que le temps auraient fait disparaître. Qu’ils soient remerciés respectueusement ici de leurs efforts.

Website: Artcurial
Guélon Catalogue: Retromobile 2018


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