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Bebe Type BP1 History

The Peugeot Bèbè or Baby was produced from 1904 to 1916. The Bebe Type 69 was produced from 1904 through 1912 followed by the Type BP1 which remained in production until 1916.

In 1904, Peugeot displayed the Bebe at the Paris Motor Show. It was a modern automobile that was small, practical, and offered at a very low price. It weighed a mere 770 pounds and measured just 110-inches long. Power was from a single-cylinder, 652cc engine that carried this car to speed of about 25 mph.

The production of the car officially began in 1905 in Audincourt, and immediately the car proved popular. In its first year, over 400 examples were sold and it accounted for 80% of Peugeot's production. As the years rolled on, Peugeot introduced new technologies to the car, such as rack-and-pinion steering and a driveshaft instead of a chain. Every effort was made to keep the car as inexpensive as possible and to appeal to a very wide audience.

Early in the 1900s, Ettore Bugatti established a facility for designing automobiles under contract. He worked with DeDdietrich, Mathis and Deutz, before establishing his own company in Molsheim, Alsace, in 1909. Production of Bugatti automobiles began in 1910.

In 1911, Bugatti designed a two-seat automobile powered by an 855cc engine. A prototype car was created and shown to large manufacturers in hopes of licensing the design. It was shown to the German car firm Wanderer, and later to Peugeot for the French market. Peugeot seized the opportunity and put it on display at the 1912 Paris Motor Show. Production began in early 1913 following the discontinuation of the Type 69. It would remain in production as the Type BP1 until 1916 and became the largest selling Bugatti-designed automobile. This small car inspired manufactures from Germany, France and England to create similar small, low-priced automobiles. To keep prices low, Peugeot fitted the car with a 2-speed gearbox initially, which was later replaced by their own 3-speed unit. The engine was a Peugeot straight-4 that produced a modest 10 horsepower. The 770 pound vehicle had a top speed of about 37 mph.

Wanderer built their own car but fitted it with a Bugatti four-speed transmission.


By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2009
Peugeot Models

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