The French industrialist Count Albert De Dion joined with engineer Georges Bouton in 1882 to build the first self-propelled steam vehicle. In 1890 they patented a single-cylinder gasoline engine, by 1895 they were building their first automobiles, and by 1900 they were the world's largest automobile manufacturer. The company pioneered many automotive first, including the first production V8s. The company also created the first auto club and organized the first ever auto show in Paris in 1898. This 1912 two-passenger DM is chassis number 1. It is powered by the De Dion Bouton-patented V8 engien first seen on 1910 models and coachwork is by Flandrau, perhaps the finest U.S. coachbuilder at that time.
DeDion was the worlds first to market the V-8 engine. In 1909, DeDion patented the fork-and-blade arrangement of connecting rods for use in the V-8 engines. This solution made it possible to locate each pair of cylinders on the same vertical axis, shortening the engine and making it possible for one set of cams to do the work of two. Fork-and-blade rods became mandatory for fine V-type engines and were used by Cadillac, Hispano-Suiza, Liberty and Lincoln, to name a few. Their V-8 engines were fitted with a twin-throat carburetor - one for each bank of cylinders. This quite revolutionary powerplant set entirely new standards of smoothness of operation and its great lower-speed torque became legendary.
This L-Head, V-type, eight-cylinder engine developed 26 horsepower. Special features along with the engine, include De Dion rear axle, four-speed transmission, wire wheels, Rushmore electric generator and starter (generator driven by chain from the drive shaft), and Gray & Davis electric side and head lamps. The engine is lubricated by pressure oiling.