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Overview

In 1891, the two friends Jean Aucocq and Alexandre Darracq started a bicycle factory in Pre Saint-Gervais.  The first car was built here in 1898.  A short time later, Darracq left the company.  He was succeeded by Adolphe Clement and the engineer Marius Barbadou.  In 1903, Clement started his own factory, while Barbadou joined Benz the same year.  At this time, Gladiator built cars with single, two, four and six cylinder engines.  The family cars turned out to be well suited to the long-distance races that were very popular in France.  In 1909, the Gladiator make was sold to Messrs Vinot and Deguingand.  From then on, the models bore a distinct resemblance to those of the Vinot make.  Sales were disappointing, however.  In 1920, radical cutbacks had to be made.  The Gladiator make had to be abandoned and, six year later, the same fate befell the Vinot make.

Source: The complete encyclopedia of Vintage Cars - Rob de la Rive Box

1896-1920

In 1891 Alexandre Darracq and Jean Aucoc formed a partnership to make Gladiator bicycles at a factory on the eastern edge of Paris at Pré-Saint-Gervais. Late in 1896 an English financial syndicate headed by Harry Lawson brought together the cycle firms of Clément, Gladiator, and the French Humber branch. Darracq soon left and established his Perfecta works whilst Adolphe Clément remained involved with Clément-Gladiator organisation.

Gladiator had a chain-driven voiturette on the market by 1900 and the model range steadily increased so that by 1903 there were single, twin and four-cylinder cars available, all Aster-engined. Annual output was around 1200 cars and 80 per cent of these were sold in Britain where S F Edge initially held the agency. When Clément departed from the organisation in 1903 the Pré-Saint-Gervais factory continued to make both Clément cars that were shaft-driven, and Gladiators with chain drive.

In 1909 Vinot et Deguingand bought Gladiator, moved production to its Puteaux works, and the Pré-Saint-Gervais factory returned to making bicycles.

Source: Society of Automotive Historians in Britain

Models produced by Gladiator

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