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Contral

The Contal was built by Contal et Cie in Paris (France) during 1905.  Power came from a 4 hp single cylinder water cooled engine that powered the rear wheel via a chain.  It was available in both passenger and commercial versions with the passenger sitting in front of the driver.  The vehicle is probably better known for its entry into the 1907 Peking - Paris race. It was driven by Auguste Pons with a mechanic Octave Foucault.  The vehicle was the only 3-wheeler in the race but struggled through the mud and over mountains. Due to the weight on the front of the vehicle the rear wheel could not maintain traction and eventually broke down and ran out of fuel in the Gobi desert. The car was abandoned and the pair, almost dead, managed to crawl for several days until they came across a Nomadic settlement.

After this, in 1908, the single rear wheel was put on the front of the vehicle with power going to the two rear wheels but the vehicles ceased manufacture in the same year.

The 1907 Contral.  (Photo from the ABC.net web site.)

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