French Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Gaillardet Motorcycles

Built by Société Fran├žaise d'Automobile of Levallois-Perret, Hauts-de-Seine, Paris.

The firm's founder, Frédéric Gaillardet, produced engines and complete tricycles from 1899 to 1902. The tricycles were also marketed under the Doctoresse brand.

His engines were singles and v-twins with copper finning, marking an advance in cooling technology. They were supplied to Barré, Bender & Martiny, Bourguignonne, Underberg and no doubt others. Gaston Barré displayed his first automobile at the at the Paris auto show in 1899 featuring a Gaillardet engine.

More on the Gaillardet engines: Graffigny Chapter III

The Gaillardet gear change is also discussed: Graffigny Ch. VII pp 138-144


The French company exhibit through their English house a tricycle of two and three-quarter horse-power (Gaillardet system) and a two-seated quadricycle. Compared with the standard type of motor tricycle, the great difference in these machines will be found in the very ample surfaces of the cooling flanges and extreme accessibility of the valve which can be taken out and replaced in a few minutes, and the removal of which also gives access to the interior of the cylinder and ignition points.

There is also a two-speed gear on both tricycle and quad. This is a toothed gear, with the wheel teeth always in mesh, the driving or idling wheels being held or released by means of a sliding clutch, whilst free running can be indulged in between the two gears. The front for the quad is extremely comfortably sprung. Before long this firm will be introducing a voiturette, with a three and a half horse-power air-cooled motor in front, and from what we can gather it will be an extremely interesting and fast little machine.

The Autocar, 24th June 1899
Hammersmith was the British importer, based at 20 Haymarket, London.

Sources: Bourdache pp75, 80;, Graces Guide.

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