The tricyclecar, or trike, is a strange device in three wheels, at the midway between the motorbike and the car, its history goes back to the beginning of the 20th century. The dawn of the trike can be traced back to London in 1909, when Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan a pioneer in the field, revealed his first “Runabout” (“toy car”).
Tricyclecars in general were powered by V-twin or inline 4-cylinder engines engines, with either air or water cooling. Engine capacities could be spread from 750 to 1100-cm3, according to the type of motor. The bodywork was generally in composite wood and metal, built upon a lightweight tubular chassis.
In 1922, the first advertising catalogue for Darmont appears. Darmont was founded by two brothers: André, the pilot and Roger, the businessman. Darmont obtained the license to construct and sell the Morgan Runabout in their factory in Courbevoie in Paris region. During this time period, France was slowly recovering from the aftereffects of the first World war, so by and large, the majority of the population could not afford to purchase a new car. In this context, the main commercial advantage of the tricyclecar was its selling price. As one period ad, put it, “The price of a motorbike, with the security and comfort of a car.” At the time, the price of a new Morgan Sport varied from 6,950 Francs for the basic version, to 7,500 Francs for a version equipped with a windshield, lights and a horn.
In 1927, a new made model its appearance in the Darmont catalogue, the D.S. for Darmont Spécial. This was a sports model equipped with a reinforced chassis and with a motor with a water-cooled 1.1-L motor, which made the Darmont Spécial capable of attaining a top speed of 150km/ h! This new Spécial also came equipped with an emergency brake which was operated by a big outside, lever, which was to supplement the foot-operated brake on the rear wheel. Two variants of Darmont Spécial were offered for sale: the Normal series at 8,900 Francs and the “Series Dislocates” which sold for 10,400 Francs, nearly twice the price of a Morgan Sports.
The tricyclecar featured here is a Darmont Special from 1928. This unique model was specially ordered by a First World War fighter pilot who wanted it for family use. Ironically, the Darmont hardly has enough room for a small driver and a passenger, with the third seat being almost symbolic, only being able to seat a preschooler at best! After the original owner passed away, his widow stored Darmont for many years. Eventually the son of the original owner, upon the death of his mother, decided after long talks to sell the Darmont Spécial to its current owner.