The Ex- Don Francisco Serramalera Abadal
1903 Clément 12-16HP Four-Cylinder Rear Entrance Tonneau
Chassis No. AC4R 4010
Engine No. 166
Presented for sale here is an historical and eminently useable four-cylinder Veteran Clément. It is supplied with a recent dating certificate from the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain and is eligible for the Royal Automobile Club’s London to Brighton Run.
Introduced in 1903 the 12-16HP Clément was one of the most advanced designs of the early 1900s. The pair-cast four-cylinder ‘L-head’ engine has a cubic capacity of 2,121 cc and features an ingenious pressurised lubrication system fed oil from the pump-fed cooling system to oil baths for the engine’s big-end bearings. The four-speed transmission (three forward gears and one reverse) is extremely easy to operate with a cone clutch and conventional pedal layout. The chassis is of the channel steel type and was able to carry a wide variety of coachwork, the most popular being the rear entrance tonneu design as featured on this particular example.
The history of this magnificent Clément 12-16HP, Chassis No. 4010, is well documented and is inextricably linked with the early years of motoring in Spain. The first owner of the Clement, Don Francisco Serramalera Abadal, familiarly known as Paco Abadal, had won fame in cycle racing in the twilight years of the 19th Century. When motor vehicles began to arrive in Spain at the beginning of the 20th Century, he bought and raced a 1¾HP Clément tricycle. In 1902 he opened the Auto-Garaje Central in Barcelona selling and servicing motorcars, motorcycles, bicycles and accessories to the very top echelons of Spanish society. A staunch supporter and user of the motorcar, King Alfonso XIII, was numbered among Adabal’s many wealthy clients. Adabal was instrumental in introducing the youthful King to a number of French marques including Hispano Suiza. With Adabal’s influence Hispano Suiza went on to introduce one of the world’s first true sports cars, a car that bore the King’s name no less!
In 1904 Paco Adabal contested the 6.5km Vista Rica (Rabasssada) hillclimb in Barcelona with this Clément and won the event in a record time of 9 minutes and 43 seconds. He was photographed at the wheel of his victorious Clément on the front cover of the sporting magazine Los Deportes, the car running in two-seater form with no wings or windscreen. He subsequently sold the car, fitted with rear-entrance tonneau coachwork, to a customer in Madrid where it was registered as ‘M-95′ when number plates were introduced in 1907.
Having survived the ravages of the Spanish Civil War and two World Wars, chassis 4010 was rescued from a scrapyard on the outskirts of Madrid by Juan Puigcerver of Barcelona. A pioneering collector of early motorcars in Spain, Puigcerver retained ownership the Clément for around 30 years until is passed into the Villanova Brothers’ Collection. Since the late 1950s, the Clément has regularly participated in the run from Barcelona to the seaside resort of Sitges. It has also participated in the Tour Du Lac Léman in Switzerland and was the oldest car on the 2006 Madrid-Lisbon Rally.
Since acquisition by the current owner, the Clément has regularly and successfully participated in the Royal Automobile Club’s London to Brighton Run. In 2015 it was the 5th car to cross the line in Brighton demonstrating its impressive turn of speed while carrying a full compliment of passengers.
During the current ownership the Clément has been treated to various restorative works, these works entrusted in the most part to Tattersall’s Veteran to Classic of West Yorkshire. Works carried out include: reconditioning the steering box and setting up of the the steering geometry; reconditioning the suspension; fitting a water temperature gauge; connecting the gearbox greaser; refurbishing the drip-feed oiler; and re-manufacturing the crankcase breathers. A starter-motor and ring-gear have been fitted for ease of use and the rear axle has been overhauled recently. The current owner has also had the chassis and axles painted black and the wheels finished in blue, enhancing the overall appearance of the car. It should also be noted that, for the more sporting motorist, the canopy top and screen are both detachable.
Offered for sale this historically significant and extensively campaigned Veteran Clément is easy to drive, capable of impressive cruising speeds and well able to carry four occupants in comfort. One would have to search long and hard to find a more desirable and attractive motorcar for this year’s London to Brighton Run.