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1896 Paris–Marseille–Paris

Top 3 1896 Paris–Marseille–Paris related articles

The Paris–Marseille–Paris race was the first competitive 'city to city' motor race, where the first car across the line was the winner, prior events having selected the winner by various forms of classification and judging. The race was won by Émile Mayade who completed the ten-day, 1,710 km, event over unsurfaced roads in 67 hours driving a Panhard et Levassor.[1][2][3][4]

The event was organised by the Automobile Club de France (ACF) and was sometimes retrospectively known as the II Grand Prix de l'A.C.F.. It was run in 10 stages from Paris via Auxerre; Dijon; Lyon; Avignon; Marseille; Avignon; Lyon; Dijon; Sens and return to Paris.

1896 Paris–Marseille–Paris YouTube videos


The first competitive 'city to city' motoring event had been the 1894 Paris–Rouen where the Count Jules-Albert de Dion was first into Rouen but steam-powered vehicles were ineligible for the main prize. Likewise, in 1895 the nascent Automobile Club de France) (ACF) organised its first event, the Paris–Bordeaux–Paris race, but excluded two-seater cars such that their official winner, a four-seater, finished 11 hours after Émile Levassor. The outcry resulting from the 1895 result lead the A.C.F. to organise the Paris–Marseille–Paris Trail as the first fully competitive motor race, where the first car across the line was the winner.[1][4][5]

On 8 February 1896 the race was announced in La France Automobile, the second edition of the A.C.F.'s official magazine.[6]

1896 Paris–Marseille–Paris History articles: 4

Vehicles and entrants

The entry list included : seven De Dion-Boutons (5 gasoline-powered tricycles and 2 steam-powered cars); five Bollées (comprising four Léon Bollée tricycles and tandems plus an Amédée Bollée); four Panhard et Levassors; three Peugeots; two Delahayes; two Société Parisiennes and two Triouleyres. There were also single car entries from Fisson; Landry et Beyroux (or poss. Landoy); Lebrun; Rochet-Schneider; Rossel and Tissandier.[7]

  • Amédée Bollée drove his own 4 seater 'face to face' (vis-a-vis) model, equipped with a 2.3 litre, two-cylinder, air-cooled, petrol engine, which produced about 6 hp. It retired after completing the first stage to Auxerre but was notable for being the only entry with a steering wheel rather than a tiller.[7]
  • De Dion-Bouton entered five petrol-powered tricycles plus and two steam-powered cars. Viet finished in third place overall on his tricycle and won Class B, while Collomb (No. 51) and Delieuvin (No.15) rode their tricycles to finish fifth and ninth respectively. The tricycles of Chevalier (No. 52) and Boiron both retired on the second day. Neither of the steam-powered cars driven by Comté Jules-Albert de Dion and Comté Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat (No. 14)completed the first stage.[7]
  • The Delahaye Group entered two petrol powered 4-seater vehicles which used two-cylinder, water-cooled, 2,513 cc engines rated at 6 hp. They were driven by Émile Delahaye and sporting pioneer Ernest Archdeacon who finished tenth and seventh respectively.[7]
  • Fisson entered a 4-seater car powered by a 4.5 hp Benz petrol engine and driven by Ferté, but it did not complete the first stage.[7]
  • Landry et Beyroux (de:M.L.B.)(Cie des Moteurs et Autos M.L.B.) entered a single car for Justin Landry with a rear-mounted, 5.5 hp, single cylinder engine. They had begun producing automobiles in 1894 at their works in Hondouville, Eure, France, and went on to trade as Cie des Moteurs et Autos M & B. from Passy-sur-Seine, but ceased production in 1902. Landry completed the race in 119 hours to finish in thirteenth place, 52 hours behind the overall winner.[7]
  • Lebrun entered a single car that Lebrun built himself, powered by a rear-mounted 4 hp Daimler petrol engine with twin cylinders in 'V' configuration. He completed 5 stages to reach Marseille before retiring.[7]
  • Léon Bollée entered four tricycle tandems fitted with a single cylinder, 641 cc delivering about 3 HP. To reduce weight and lower the centre of gravity the vehicle had no springs or suspension other than the Michelin tyres. Lejane's tricycle was the fastest participant, winning stage 1 at 31.9 km/hour, but then retiring on stage 2. Pary persevered to finish fourteenth (last) in 141 hours, 74 hours behind the winning Panhard et Levassor of Émile Mayade. The other two Bollée tricycles of Camille Bollée and a.n.other also retired after stage 1.[7]
  • Four Panhard et Levassors were entered, two (race No. 5 of Émile Levassor and No. 8 of Merkel) were fitted with the 1895 Daimler Phoenix 4 HP (two-cylinder, 1206 cc) engines, whilst the other two had Panhard et Levassor's new design of 8 hp, 4-cylinder 2.4-litre engine. Car number 7 of P. Dubois was a 6-seater omnibus, and number 6 was a 4-seater driven by Émile Mayade to overall victory.[7]
  • Two Société Parisiennes (Parisienne Benz) were entered by Guyonnet and Charles Labouré and completed the course in 102 hours to record eleventh and twelfth places respectively. The cars were reportedly slightly modified Benz Viktorias, using a single cylinder, 2.9-litre, 4.5 hp petrol engine.[7][8]
  • Three petrol powered Peugeots were entered. Auguste Doriot drove No 44, a 4 hp, lightweight 2 seater phaeton shod with Michelin tyres, possibly a Type 7 or Type 8, using a new 2 cylinder 1,396 engine, and was classified eighth when he reached Paris after 81 hours and 23 minutes. Likewise Louis Rigoulot drove number 45, a similar chassis and engine but bodied as a 2-seater 'break', but retired after the first stage. The third Peugeot driven by Berlet (number 46), a heavy 5 seater "Wagonette" equipped with solid tires and an older Daimler engine, reached Paris in sixth position after 75 hours 26 minutes.[7]
  • Gaston Tissandier, chemist and adventurer, drove his own design of car with a petrol powered 4 hp engine. He retired after the first stage.[7]
  • Two Triouleyres were entered by the Compagnie Générale des Automobiles of Paris. The cars used a rear-mounted Benz single-cylinder petrol engine delivering 4.5 hp. Valentin retired after 2 stages whilst Estève failed to complete a single stage.[7]

1896 Paris–Marseille–Paris Vehicles and entrants articles: 22

Prologue - pre-selection

1896 - Panhard et Levassor of Émile Mayade - Winner of Paris-Marseilles-Paris.
This new 4 cylinder model won seven of the ten stages in the hands of 3 different drivers.

On 20 September, the weekend prior to the start of the race, a selection trial (prologue) was run from Paris-Mantes-Paris for bicycles and tricycles of less than 150 kilograms. The eight successful machines were classified as either engine powered or engine and pedal powered. The two self-powered machines were the single seat, petrol-powered 'Wolfmüller' motorcycle (No 31) ridden by D'Ofraiville; and the Hurtu-Léon Bollée tricycle No. 50 of C. Chauveau. The pedal machines (mopeds) were all De Dion-Bouton tricycles ridden by Chevalier (No. 52); Delieuvin (No. 15); Clere (No. 51); Fernand Charron (No. 13); and Comte Laubat Gaston De Chasseloup (No. 14).

Overview of "Wolfm%C3%BCller" article

The race

The race covered 1,710 km from Paris to Marseilles and return from 24 September-3 October 1896.

Daily itinerary

The race was scheduled to be run over 10 daily stages without rest days.[1][7]

Stage Date Length Itinerary
1 24 Sept 178 km Paris, Versailles, Corbeil, Melun, Montereau, Sens, Joigny, Auxerre
2 25 Sept 151 km Auxerre, Vermenton, Avallon, Vitteaux, Dijon
3 26 Sept 198 km Dijon, Beaune, Chagny, Chalon-sur-Saône, Tournus, Mâcon, Villefranche-sur-Saône, Lyon
4 27 Sept 219 km Lyon, Vienne, Saint Vallier, Valence, Montelimar, Orange, Avignon
5 28 Sept 101 km Avignon, Orgon, Sénas, Salon de Provence, Aix en Provence, Marseille
6 29 Sept 101 km Marseille, Aix en Provence, Salon-de-Provence, Sénas, Orogon, Avignon
7 30 Sept 219 km Avignon, Orange, Montelimar, Valence, Saint Vallier, Vienne, Lyon
8 1 Oct 198 km Lyon, Villefranche-sur-Saône, Mâcon, Tournus, Chalon-sur-Saône, Chagny, Beaune, Dijon
9 2 Oct 209 km Dijon, Vitteaux, Avallon, Vermenton, Auxerre, Joigny, Sens
10 3 Oct 137 km Sens, Montereau, Melun, Corbeil, Paris (Boulevard Maillot)

On the road

The 32 entrants started the first stage from under the Place de l'Étoile in Paris and raced 177 km to Auxerre where the winner was Lejane who had driven his Bollée at over 31 km/hour. Unfortunately his glory was short lived as he retired the following day. The first of the Panhard et Levassors came to the fore on the second stage from Auxere to Dijon, when Émile Levassor covered the 150.95 km over unsurfaced roads in 6 hours 51 minutes, thus taking the overall lead. Levassor increased his lead by also winning the third stage into Lyon, but his race was ruined when he suffered an accident on the fourth stage into Avignon. Although he persevered until the end of the stage, he then handed over the driving to his riding mechanic Charles d'Hostingue and they continued steadily until the finishing fourth overall in Paris. Levassor would never fully recover from the accident and the stress of driving another 36 hours, and died early in 1897. The stage was won by Merkel driving another one of Émile Levassor's cars. The fifth stage into the halfway point at Marseille was won by Viet riding on a gasoline-powered De Dion tricycle, and he also won the next stage leaving Marseille back to Avignon. In a remarkable piece of symmetry Merkel again won the stage between Avignon and Lyon, a move that started Panhard et Levassor's dominant performance as Emile Mayade dominated the final three stages back to Paris and overall victory. Panhard et Levassor had won seven of the ten stages.

The winning 8 hp Panhard et Levassor of Mayade had been extensively upgraded for 1896, using their first four-cylinder engine, doubling the horsepower from the 1895 model. It was equipped with tiller steering and candle lamps. The brakes were a spoon-lever pressing on the solid rubber back tyre plus a belt that tightened onto a drum on the transmission.[9]

1896 Paris–Marseille–Paris On the road articles: 3


Paris-Marseilles-Paris Trail - 24 September - 3 October 1896 – 1710 km[1][10]


  • Entrants - 31. (29 petrol/diesel/oil/gas; 2 steam) - 19 from class A1; 3 from class A2; 5 from class B2; and 4 from class C.[1][7]
  • Arrivals - 14. (14 petrol/diesel/oil/gas; 0 steam) - 9 from class A1; 1 from class A2; 3 from class B2; 1 from class C.[1][7]
  • Withdrawals - 16. (14 petrol/diesel/oil/gas; 2 steam) - 10 from class A1; 2 from class A2; 1 from class B2; 3 from class C.[1][7]
  • Suspended - 1. (1 petrol/diesel/oil/gas) - 1 from class B2.[1][7]


The overall results were:[1][7]

Pos No Driver Car Time Notes
1 6 Émile Mayade Panhard et Levassor 67:42:58 Class A1
2 8 Merkel Panhard et Levassor 68:11:05 Class A1
3 13 Paul Viet De Dion-Bouton tricycle 71:01:05 Class B
4 5 Émile Levassor
Charles d'Hostingue
Panhard et Levassor 71:23:22 Class A1. Levassor was injured on stage 4 so handed over to d'Hostingue at Avignon.
He never recovered and died on 14 April 1897.
5 51 Collomb De Dion-Bouton (Michelin)[10] tricycle 71:30:12 Class B
6 46 Marius Berliet Peugeot 75:26:24 Class A2
7 41 Ernest Archdeacon Delahaye 75:29:48 Class A1
8 44 Auguste Doriot Peugeot 81:23:51 Class A1
9 15 Delieuvin De Dion-Bouton tricycle 83:13:16 Class B
10 Émile Delahaye Delahaye 84:27:02 Class A1
11 Guyonnet Société Parisienne 102:41:45 Class A1
12 Labouré Société Parisienne 108:39:00 Class A1
13 Justin Landry Landry et Beyroux (M.L.B.) 119:44:21 Class A1
14 Pary Léon Bollée tricycle 141:10:47 Class C

Stage winners

The stage-winners were:[1][7]

Stage Start-Finish Distance Winner Car Time Speed
1 Paris-Auxerre 177.85 km Lejane Léon Bollée 5:34:03 31.94 km/h
2 Auxerre-Dijon 150.95 km Levassor Panhard et Levassor 6:51:40 22.15 km/h
3 Dijon-Lyon 197.95 km Levassor Panhard et Levassor 7:01:08 28.20 km/h
4 Lyon-Avignon 218.90 km Merkel Panhard et Levassor 8:19:28 26.30 km/h
5 Avignon-Marseille 100.90 km Viet De Dion-Bouton 3:18:18 30.53 km/h
6 Marseille-Avignon 100.90 km Viet De Dion-Bouton 3:50:28 26.27 km/h
7 Avignon-Lyon 218.90 km Merkel Panhard et Levassor 9:50:50 22.23 km/h
8 Lyon-Dijon 197.95 km Émile Mayade Panhard et Levassor 6:35:50 30.01 km/h
9 Dijon-Sens 209.20 km Émile Mayade Panhard et Levassor 7:04:00 29.60 km/h
10 Sens-Paris 136.50 km Émile Mayade Panhard et Levassor 5:42:15 23.93 km/h

Did not finish

Entrants who did not finish :[1][7]

Did Not Finish
No. Car stages
Lebrun Lebrun 5 stages
P. Dubois Panhard et Levassor 5 stages Class A2
Ferradje Rochet-Schneider 2 stages
Valentin Triouleyre 2 stages
Amédée Bollée Léon Bollée 1 stage
Lejane Léon Bollée 1 stage Class C
Camille Bollée Léon Bollée 1 stage Class C
Chevalier 52 De Dion-Bouton trike 1 stage Class B
Louis Rigoulot Peugeot 1 stage
Rossel Rossel 1 stage
Boiron De Dion-Bouton trike 1 stage Class B
Tissandier Tissandier 1 stage
Léon Bollée 1 stage Class C
Ferté Fisson 0 stages
Comté Jules-Albert de Dion De Dion-Bouton 0 stages
Estève Triouleyre 0 stages
Tenting Tenting 0 stages
Comté Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat 14 De Dion-Bouton 0 stages Class A2
Clere 51 De Dion-Bouton tricycle unknown
Fernand Charron 13 De Dion-Bouton tricycle unknown
Chauveau 50 De Dion-Bouton tricycle unknown
D'Ofraiville 31 Wolfmüller Single seat motorcycle Failed to qualify - Retired in the Paris-Mantes prologue
Collomb 40 De Dion-Bouton tricycle Failed to qualify - retired in the Paris-Mantes prologue due to course error.
Entered the main event as No. 51 and finished 5th overall.

1896 Paris–Marseille–Paris Results articles: 11

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "TeamDan Early results database - 1896". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
  2. ^ Anthony Harding (1977). Car facts & feats (2nd ed.). Sterling Pub. Co. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-8069-0108-4.
  3. ^ "Ces merveilleux fous roulants sur leurs drôles de machines". Le Figaro (in French). 9 July 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  4. ^ a b "TeamDan Early results database - 1895". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
  5. ^ "TeamDan Early results database - 1894". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
  6. ^ Histomobile, profile of 1896 - Paris-Marseille-Paris
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Wiki Italy Motoring in 1896
  8. ^ Driver Database, II Grand Prix de l'ACF 1896
  9. ^ "Genesis2Scale LLC Museum - 1896 Panhard-Levassor Vehicle". Archived from the original on 2013-02-16. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
  10. ^ a b Gallica National Library of France. Le Petit Journal. 4 October 1896. La Troisieme Course des automobiles, Dixieme journee
  11. ^ Gallica online archive of the Library of France. Le Matin, 4 Oct 1898. Automobiles - Les Automobiles - sont rentrées à Paris, après une absence de dix jours. Voici l'ordre du classement générale.

Other sources

Italian Wikipedia accredited sources:it:Storia dell'automobilismo (1896)#La Paris-Marseille-Paris

  • Vedi Storia dell'automobilismo (1878 - 1894)#Bibliografia e, in aggiunta:
  • Emanuele Alberto Carli, Settant'anni di gare automobilistiche in Italia, Roma [I], L.E.A. (L'Editrice dell'Automobile), 1967.
  • Jean-Marie Leliévre e Jean-Robert Dulier. Conquete de la vitesse 1895–1900, Paris [F], Editions Automobiles Paul Couty, 1969.
  • Autori vari, London-Brighton 1896, London [GB], The Autocar, 1896.
  • Autori vari, Paris-Marseille-Paris, course de voitures automobiles, Paris [F], Publications du Journal Le Génie Civil per conto de L'Automobile Club de France, (fascicolo in fotocopia), 1896.