French Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Auto-Fauteuil Scooters

A Brief History of the Marque

Manufacturer: George Gauthier, Société de L'Auto-Fauteuil
23 Quai Henry Chavigny, Blois

The first machines were created in 1902 using an Aster engine, and until 1906 air-cooled and water-cooled De Dion-Bouton powerplants were in use. Subsequently the firm built their own engines.

The engine was located very close to the rear wheel and directly below the seat, which was rather like a chair. (The word fauteuil means "armchair") It was available in both ladies and gents versions and was quite an attractive vehicle, with advertising of the day clearly directed at the more well-to-do in society - doctors, lawyers, solicitors and clergy were mentioned.

Optional extras included a two-speed gearbox and clutch, front suspension, skirt guards for ladies and clergy, a luggage trunk, and a foot warmer which used exhaust gases for heating.

It is widely acknowledged as the first motor scooter.

Production ceased in 1920.

1913 Model

3¾ HP engine.
Tyres : front and rear : 550 x 60 mm
Price (in Belgium) 2000 francs.

Sources:, Didier Mahistre,
Bourdache pp 257, 266, 269, 270, 367, 380.
period literature

The Auto Fauteuil is the first two-wheeled "car" that we have yet seen, and it is not such a freak as one would be at first inclined to consider it. The framework is low, the rear wheel being 23in. in diameter, and the front wheel 19in. Upon the usual saddle lug is fixed a tubular framed seat, so that the armchair motorcycle has really arrived! The engine is a 2¾ De Dion air-cooled motor with a clutch on the motor axle sprocket. A starting handle is provided, and the motor is started, and then the rider takes his seat, and places his feet upon a pair of pedal-shaped footrests. A half turn of the right handle throws the clutch in by means of a Bowden wire, and the machine starts off.

The motor is fed through a spray carburetter, and control is effected through the sparking advance and throttle levers. A compression tap is also provided. The power is conveyed through a chain on to a large sprocket on the rear wheel. A band brake is applied to the front wheel The petrol tank will hold nearly a gallon, and is placed under the top tube, with the battery case below it, and coil on back stays. A very large silencer hangs below the frame. The price is £ 60, and the makers are P. Gauthier and Co., 59, Avenue Saint Gervais, Blois. It is claimed that in the event of the need for a stoppage of the machine, such as traffic, the rider can throw out his clutch, and put both his feet to the ground, the engine being allowed to run. This is one of the real novelties of the Show.

Paris Salon 1902 in Motor Cycling, December 17th, 1902.

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