Friday, October 11th, 2013
A French car which can trace its heritage back to the aerial dogfights on the Western Front during World War One is to be auctioned at Motorclassica in Melbourne on Saturday 26 October 2013.

It’s a 1926 Salmson Val 3 Series 6 Sports Tourer designed by Frenchman Emile Petit at Billancourt in France.  

Salmson produced radial aircraft engines for fighter aircraft during the war but like many European companies, when hostilities ceased it had to develop products for the public rather than the armed forces.

The result was a series of cyclecars then this car with an unusual engine design incorporating an overhead valve arrangement with one pushrod per cylinder.  The specifications of overhead valves and four wheel brakes on a car of only 1100cc engine displacement was a marvel at the time. The radiator featured a distinctive cross of St Andrews design on the radiator.

Many of Europe’s aspiring young racers bought the cars and raced them.  However, Emile Petit did not rest on his laurels. He developed a twin overhead camshaft engine which became the first mass-produced DOHC engine and was even more popular among the racing fraternity. Then he produced a straight eight design which inspired Vottoria Jano to design the famous Alfa Romeo eight cylinder engine.

Before MG took over the small sports car market, Salmson was one of the manufacturers which dominated the category of fast, light cars.  Salmson enjoyed many race successes, particularly at Le Mans. In Australia, Salmson DOHC cars were popular in motor racing during the 1920s.  Only 1,142 of the 1,100cc OHV four cylinder cars were made between 1926 and 1929.

The car to be auctioned at Motorclassica is not quite a race car.  It was imported to Australia as a rolling chassis in 1926 and it had a spacious tourer body made locally in Perth.

It was reputedly owned by the State Governor’s chauffeur before being sold to Perth car collector Ray Coyle in 1966 with only 5,000 miles on the clock after 40 years.  The chauffeur did not drive a lot in his spare time!

The car was restored and kept for 20 years until it was sold to the York Motor Museum in Western Australia. The museum sold the car to a Singaporean collector in 1989.  In 2012, the car was brought back to Australia.  It will find its sixth owner in almost 90 years.

For more information on the 1926 Salmson Val 3 Series 6 contact James Nicholls at Theodore Bruce Auctions at [email protected] or at the Motorclassica website:

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Vintage Car Auction Melbourne Motorclassica 1926 Salmson Sports Car Val 3 Series 6 Emile Petit VSCC sale OHV DOHC rare 1100cc Theodore Bruce Bonhams RM Auctions



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