I was recently fortunate enough to become custodian of an early Theophile Schneider chassis plate. Type 19100 Number 15. This would suggest a standard automobile chassis produced in 1919. Likely with a four cylinder engine as denoted by the “100” series. It came via the U.K. so possibly a U.K. delivered chassis. The company, unlike the larger companies such as Renault and Peugeot, did not do well out of the Great War receiving only small contracts to produce trucks for the French army. The chassis that this plate would have been attached to would have represented an attempt by THS to re-assert itself in the automobile market in France post-war. With limited capital to invest in re-tooling, the company’s offerings at the Paris Salon of 1919 were essentially of pre-War designs and engineering, the main difference being cosmetic, having re-located the radiator to the front of the engine as was the vogue post-War. It would not be until 1924 with the introduction of an OHV four cylinder engine that the company would really enter the vintage era.
Almost certainly chassis #15 of 1919 has not survived.
I recently came across the image below of an un-identified THS 25SP or what was referred to in the U.K. as the “Le Mans” type. It is likely to be among the Corsica bodied cohort of the early thirties but there are stylistic elements that do not correspond to any of the known surviving cars. This would suggest that it either hasn’t survived or is as yet un-identified.
Elements of the bodywork that differ from known surviving chassis include the “scallop” shape of the front wings, the size and placement of the chromed air scoop forward of the drivers side door, alloy steps on the side of the chassis rails and the front wing lamps. Other elements contain more than a hint of the work of the coach builder Corsica including the vee-screen and the cut-away drivers door and bear a resemblance to chassis # 204 and 205.
The image is from the W. Boddy book Continental Sports Cars published in 1951 though the image might be from an earlier year.
After reflecting on Th. Schneider nomenclature I’ve concluded that there is a logic albeit with anomalies. The nomenclature associated with the “type” corresponds to the year the type was introduced. It should be noted that some types ran into subsequent years. For example, the type 10.100 and 10.200 were introduced in 1910. An increase in the latter part of the number denotes an increase in the engine capacity and/or number of cylinders. There are exceptions to this rule and sometimes the numbering is out of sequence but it is a “rule of thumb”.
Post WWI the nomenclature changes. For example in 1919 the company introduced the 19.12.1 to correspond with a 12CV engine, the 19.14.1 to correspond with a 14CV engine and so on.
Anomalies in terms of nomenclature include the 25SP which corresponds to a 12CV “sport” type introduced in 1925.
The final types introduced were the type VL and a six cylinder designated the “Six” which was probably only produced in small numbers before the company ceased production in 1929 or early 1930.
There is evidence indicating the production of a six cylinder Th. Schneider designated the model name “Six” from 1926 or 1927 and possibly through to 1930. An article in La Vie de L’Auto, #713 24th August 1995 claims, with some evidence, that updated models were on display at the 21st Bruxelles Salon in 1928. They included a 7CV with cabriolet body, a 10CV closed saloon and a 11CV “Six” with “conduite interiere” body. Interestingly, I have no record of Th. Schneider having a stand at the Paris Salon after 1925. It is possible of course that the company did have a stand at the Bruxelles Salon and not the Paris Salon. There is evidence of having displayed cars at the Bruxelles Salon at least until 1928. Why not also at the Paris Salon after 1925 is something of a mystery.
Evidence of the existence and production of a the 11CV “Six” is as follows:
- The magazine La Moto lists a six cylinder 11CV for 1927 and 1928 as follows:
1927 Le Moto
2. The Th. Schneider agent in Amiens had a description of a six cylinder for their 1926~1927 sales catalogue.
3. And perhaps the most important information is an image of the “Six” most likely from a 1928 edition of Englebert magazine of a “Six” at the 1928 Bruxelles Salon. Unlike other previous vintage Th. Schneider it appears to have a flat radiator as opposed to the vee shape of such models as the 7CV, 10CV and 25SP. It also has what looks like a dyno-starter protruding through the bottom of the radiator and the script “Six” in addition to the tradition “THS” script on the radiator. Additionally it also sports faux external landau bars.
Taken together this is evidence that the Th. Schneider “Six” existed but perhaps in very limited production. I have not seen any evidence of a “Six” having survived the ravages of time. Perhaps their is one out there somewhere?
A fellow enthusiast forwarded the location of a period Th. Schneider dealer sign painted on a brick wall in Brussels, Belgium. It can be accessed via google maps at 429 Avenue Georges Henri Woluwe. The images are so distinct but the company name can be discerned. It is the only Th. Schneider dealer sign I have witnessed.
The Th. Schneider 25SP model was equipped with a single 36mm side draft Zenith “triple diffuser” model HAK carburetor. Fig. 1 & 2 below.
Fig 1: Zenith 36 HAK
Fig 2: Zenith 36 HAK
Of interest the 2 litre Th. Schneiders that ran in the 1926 Le Mans 24h race were equipped with two side draft carburetors. Size and make unknown. Fig. 3 below.
Fig. 3: Carburetor detail on the 1926 Th. Schneider that is believed to have ran at the Le Mans 24h race.
Zenith carburetors of this period are characterised by whether they are side draft or up draft and/or with throttle on the top or on the side of the body. In France the “triple diffuser” seems to have debuted at the 1922 Paris Salon. The carburetors were produced in France, Britain and the US. Post WWII the Zenith brand name was absorbed into their main competitor Solex. Examples as follows:
Zenith 26 HA
Zenith 30 H