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Bicycle maker Charles Schaudel of Bordeaux began production of a motorcar to his own unique design in 1900. It had a two-cylinder engine and the gearbox was made in unit with the crankcase, much in the manner of the Mini of sixty years later. This combined assembly was mounted transversely in the chassis with the engine inclined at 30 degrees from the horizontal, and the rear axle was driven by chain.

Schaudel’s brother-in-law Émile Dombret took over the business in 1902 and continued with the distinctive layout for the cars which he re-named Motobloc, an adaptation of the French words bloc-moteur for a one-piece engine. When in 1904 Dombret designed a vertical-in-line engined car, he retained the concept of a unitary engine and gearbox that others later claimed to have 'invented'. Schaudel cars were sold in Britain under the name 'British Ideal', but most of them and the subsequent Motoblocs found their market in the Bordeaux region. Unable to compete with mass-produced cars, Motobloc went out of business in 1930.

Source: Society of Automotive Historians in Britain

Models produced by Schaudel

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