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This very rare, splendid French four door Model T was built in 1923 and on arrival of the chassis in France, Paris coach builder Henry Binder built this four door Torpedo body. This example has great provenance being first owned by Philippe, Baron de Rothschild. The famous first owner was a member of the Rothschild banking dynasty who became a Grand Prix race-car driver, a screenwriter and playwright, a theatrical producer, a film producer, a poet, and one of the most successful wine growers in the world.
Rothschild raced his own Bugatti T35C with moderate success, including coming fourth in the 1929 Monaco Grand Prix. He also made a brief appearance for the elite Bugatti works team, but at the end of 1929 he abruptly withdrew from motorsport, to concentrate on the family wine growing business.
Rothschild made his first competition appearance in the Paris-Nice auto race of 1928, competing in a borrowed Hispano-Suiza. After purchasing a supercharged Bugatti, the ex Targa Florio factory type 37A (37317) T37, he adopted the pseudonym to protect his family. Georges Philippe made his first appearance at the 1928 Bugatti Grand Prix at Le Mans, a race solely for private Bugatti owners where he became second immediately after the winner Charles Dubonnet.
For 1929, Rothschild decided to upgrade to a full Grand Prix-specification Type 35C. Georges Philippe was then entered into the Grand Prix d'Antibes. In a field that included Rene Dreyfus and Philippe Étancelin, both race winners many times over, Rothschild led the race until he crashed out on the 36th lap. A mere two weeks later, with the car rebuilt, Georges Philippe finished a highly creditable fourth at the inaugural Grand Prix Automobile de Monaco, behind winner William Grover-Williams.
Continued improvement was finally rewarded when Georges Philippe won the Burgundy Grand Prix three weeks later, finishing ahead of Guy Bouriat in a second Rothschild T35C. However, he was unfortunate to retire from the following race while running sixth.
Georges Philippe had attracted sufficient attention to be offered a factory drive alongside Monegasque star Louis Chiron. In his two races for the crack squad, Rothschild ran at the front of the field, before dropping back later in the race due to vehicle troubles. At the 1929 German Grand Prix, around the notorious Nürburgring Nordschleife, Georges Philippe was comfortably ahead of Chiron before contact with a wall caused damage to his Bugatti's axle, slowing the car and allowing Chiron to pass and take the victory.
Unfortunately, increasing fame was wearing Georges Philippe's anonymity rather thin. His final appearance was in the 1930 24 Hours of Le Mans where, driving an American Stutz, he failed to finish. After this Rothschild quietly laid Georges Philippe to rest, and returned to running Château Mouton Rothschild.
We sold this wonderful motor car to its last owner in 2009, a pre-war enthusiast based in Stoke on Trent. Prior to delivering the Ford to him almost nine years ago, our workshop stripped and rebuilt the engine. A photo record of the work is with the vehicle's history file. Over the past six years the car has been treated as a museum piece on only driven on a handful of occasions. It was transported back to us in 2011 for a full service and MOT and further work to include re-conditioning the speedo drive and stripping and setting the carburettor. Since the engine rebuild just a few miles have been completed and as a result the unit is in excellent order.
In 2009 we imported the Model T from Germany. It had been with the same owner since 1975, a Graf of Germany, similar to an Earl. His family are collectors of historic motoring, antiques and general history. On original purchase in 1975, the family had the Model T restored and have kept a comprehensive history since. The Model T has attended many Concours D'Elegance and has been used as a real museum piece. Newspaper cut outs of these appearances are with the history.
The Ford presents very well and has been beautifully re-trimmed with red leather upholstery. The interior is in outstanding condition, as is the hood. The body work is strong; the paintwork of a very good standard with a gleaming finish and the car has many original features such as the rear luggage case, brass pulp horn, brass step plates and kerosene lamps. The Model T drives very well with an excellent engine and gearbox and will be supplied with a full 12 months MOT, fresh service and function check.
This is a real piece of motoring history and whether the car is kept as an exhibition piece or toured and rallied, it should prove a pleasure to own.