A pretty little boudoir on wheels

A pretty little boudoir on wheels
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The French auction house Osenat has a sale of classic cars and automobilia next Saturday. One of the cars on sale is this remarkable little car from 1909. The brand? It’s a La Buire.

In the early days of the automobile, France was sizzling with automobile factories. In the years before 1914, there must have been hundreds of them, though many of them produced only a handful of cars.

One of the more successful in those days was a company in Lyon, in the region named La Buire. The company, that was named after the region, originally manufactured railway carts, but by 1905 it started building automobiles. LA Buire gained a reputation for constructing sturdy cars of great quality and, with ups and downs, it kept producing cars until around 1930.

This charming coupé has a 12 hp four cylinder engine and is in pretty good condition. It was once owned by Mr. Henri Malartre, who was the founder (in 1960) of the first automobile museum in France.

Bygone era

The coachwork of this car is quite special. The shape resembles that of ancient carriages and is therefore generally known as Fiacre. But on this car the ancient style goes to the next level, using yellow pinstripe to emphasize the nineteenth-century shape and even little square windows, which have no function whatsoever other than to remind us of the architecture of a bygone era.

Foto Louwman Museum

It is details like this that reminded us of another car, namely the 1909 Gregoire in the Louwman Museum in The Hague, Netherlands. This Gregoire has a body in the same style as the La Buire, with a round-shaped roof and little square windows in the doors.
The Gregoire is just one year older then the La Buire and it seems as if both cars have been shaped by the same coachbuilder.

Alin & Liautard

We don’t know who is the coachbuilder of the La Buire, but we do know that the Gregoire got its bodywork from coachbuilder Alin & Liautard from Courbevoie, a town near Paris, France. Apparently, Alin & Liautard specialized in out-of-the-ordinary bodyworks, as you can see on this webpage.

So we can’t know for sure, but there’s a good chance that the 1910 La Buire has an Alin & Liautard body.

Is that important to know? We honestly don’t know. Auction house Osenat estimates the car at EUR 20,000 to 30,000. That’s not much for such a unique car.