Th. Schneider and the 1912 French racing season

The Th. Schneider company participated in a wide variety of road and endurance races and hill climbs pre and post WWI. The company’s involvement in motor sport includes the Monte Carlo & San Sebastian Rally, Le Mans 24 hour, Spa 24 hour, Coupe de le Sarthe and numerous hill climbs in France but their participation in the French racing seasons of 1912, 1913 & 1914 are noteworthy.

The first significant event for 1912 was the Grand Prix de l’Automobile Club de France held at Dieppe over 25th & 26th June. The company entered two cars. Both were standard production chassis and side-valve engines and minimalist bodies. The engines were four cylinder 2,993cc with dimensions 80mm x 149mm. Car no.9 was driven by Rene Champoiseau and no. 20 by Rene Croquet.

Unfortunately for him Champoiseau retired in the fourth or fifth lap due to problems with the universal joint. However Croquet finished a creditable seventh in a race characterised by many retirements and formidable competition from Peugeot, Fiat and Sunbeam. Croquet was the second French car to finish after Boillot in the Peugeot who finished first. Croquet had averaged 90kph over 17h 30m.

The second event of interest for Th. Schneider in 1912 was the Coupe de la Sarthe on 9th September. For this race the company fielded four cars. Three of the cars were equipped with a new four cylinder of dimensions 82.5mm x 140mm and the fourth was fitted with the somewhat experimental sleeve-valve motor designed by Antoine Jaubert. The three conventional cars performed very well placing 3rd (no.1 driven by Rene Champoiseau), 6th (no.4 Rene Croquet) and 8th (no.15 Nicodemi). The sleeve-valve car (no.11) driven by Antoine Jaubert himself retired due to a broken magneto chain.

Overall the company’s performance in racing in 1912 was creditable and resulted in good publicity in France and abroad.

#1 Champoiseau 1912 Coupe de la Sarthe (Douezy d'Ollandon M. & Dornier R., Les Automobiles de Besancon, Neo, Besancon, 1993).

#20 Croquet 1912 GP de l’Automobile Club de France (Douezy d’Ollandon M. & Dornier R., Les Automobiles de Besancon, Neo, Besancon, 1993).

#1 Champoiseau 1912 Coupe de la Sarthe (Douezy d'Ollandon M. & Dornier R., Les Automobiles de Besancon, Neo, Besancon, 1993).

#1 Champoiseau 1912 Coupe de la Sarthe (Douezy d’Ollandon M. & Dornier R., Les Automobiles de Besancon, Neo, Besancon, 1993).

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Occasional paper 9: Antoine Jaubert and the sleeve valve engine

It is generally acknowledged that following the establishment of the company Th. Schneider on June 16th 1910 by Theodore Schneider and Louis Ravel, were joined by the engineer Antoine Jaubert and the former directors of Rochet Lyon and Lyon, Louis and Henri Adenot Juvanon. From the outset Jaubert together with Ravel was involved in introducing a number of technical innovations in Th. Schneider models.

Around 1911 Jaubert developed a completely new engine characterised by sleeve valve operation. It is not known how many engines were actually produced. Eric Favre claims that two sizes were produced. Douezy d’Ollandon and Dornier (Le Automobiles de Besancon) and Favre (  claim that two chassis equipped with Jaubert’s sleeve valve engines debuted at the Grand Prix at Dieppe in June 25th 1912 but did not start as they were under prepared. However at Le Mans on 9th September the same year a chassis equipped with the new engine did start driven by Jaubert himself. It reportedly retired after seven laps with magneto problems.

Douezy d’Ollandon and Dornier claim that as early as August 1911 a patent no. 433.975 was applied for for the engine intake design. And later in December 1911 another patent no. 438.227 was applied for concerning the sleeve design. They write that the three litre had dimensions of 80x160mm and that a five litre was also produced with dimensions of 100x160mm. A final patent was applied for in August 1912 detailing improved cooling for the valve.

There is also an image of one of the racing sleeve valve equipped cars at the 1912 Mont Vetoux hill climb in the Douezy d’Ollandon and Dornier book.

The engine was also displayed at the Paris salon of 1912 and The Motor magazine (vol. 22, no.575, December, 1912) reported on it as being one of the engine used in the racing chassis and of three litre capacity with detachable inverse head.

Though both sizes of the Jaubert engine were catalogued in 1913 it is thought that no passenger cars with this engine were produced due perhaps to concerns about its reliability.

Scan 2

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Occasional paper 8: type 23.10.2 differential, brake assembly, rims and hubs

Recently I purchased a type 23.10.2 differential, brake assembly, rims and hubs. These parts are correct for the type 25SP. As I understand it the only difference between the differentials of the standard chassis and the sport chassis was the final drive ratios. The standard chassis were equipped 10×45 or 10×46 whilst the sport chassis came equipped with a 10×48 final drive. The higher ratio allowed higher top speeds.

I will slowly penetrate the rust, dis-assemble, inspect, photograph, clean, sensitively repair if required, re-assemble and preserve.

As found


on delivery


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Occasional paper 7: Edmond Moglia and Th. Schneider

Edmond Moglia and Th. Schneider

The respected French automotive collector Serge Pozzoli claimed that the Th. Schneider cars that competed at the Le Mans 24 hour race in 1926 and 1927 possessed modified engines in addition to the lightweight bodies that they sported. In particular he claimed that they had heads that were designed by the prominent Italian engineer Edmond Moglia. Moglia is known to have collaborated with other automotive manufacturers including Ettore Bugatti where Moglia assisted with design of the supercharger for the early type 35 and he is attributed with the design of  the straight eight engine overhead camshaft engine of the National Pescara in 1930.

In any event there is anecdotal evidence suggesting that the the 1926 entrants with the Moglia modified engines were timed down pit straight at Le Mans at speeds around 140KPH. The car in the Henri Malartre Museum in Lyon reputedly the same car that placed sixth outright in the 1926 race (chassis #125) does have what appears to be factory modifications. These include a head modified to accommodate two large Zenith side draught carburettors as opposed to the standard single 36mm Zenith, two additional inlets from the radiator header tank to the exhaust side of the head, probably required for the higher sustained speeds at Le Mans and in the absence of a water pump, a larger capacity Weymann fuel header tank and the high ratio differential of the “sport” model. All modifications would be consistent with a Moglia designed head. What is unknown to this author is whether the Moglia designed head has other internal modifications from the standard “sport” or “super sport” model of the period.


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Occasional paper 6: Th. Schneider at Le Mans 24h race

Th. Schneider at Le Mans


#26 Robert Poirier & Antoine Fontaine DNF withdrew after 61 laps.

#27 Pierre Tabourin & August Le Franc placed 6th outright and 1st in 2 litre class amongst the French marques.


#11 Robert Poirier & Pierre Tabourin DNF accident after 26 laps.

#12 Jacques Chanterelle & Rene Schlitz DNF withdrew after 34 laps.

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Auction news five: In May 2014 Th. Schneider 13/55 (25SP) chassis #148 with Comptons tourer body reportedly sold for 45,000 pounds at HV Auctions in the U.K.

Auction news five: In May 2014 Th. Schneider 13/55 (25SP) chassis #148 with Comptons tourer body reportedly sold for 45,000 pounds at HV Auctions in the U.K.

1926 Th. Schneider chassis #148 (Compton body)

1926 Th. Schneider chassis #148 (Compton body)

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Occasional paper 5: Th. Schneider in Motor Sport magazine

Th. Schneider in Motor Sport magazine.

Motor Sport magazine ran articles on the “sports” or “13/55hp” model Th. Schneider as part of their “Sporting Cars on Test” series in the January 1926 and May 1929 issues. Perhaps not coincidentally it is believed that both issues also carried full page cover advertisements for the U.K. agent of Th. Schneider. In 1926 the agent was the Welbeck Agency. By 1929 the agent was Schneider Automobiles (Eng.) Ltd. It is also understood that by mid 1929 or thereabouts the U.K. agent had purchased remaining stock following the liquidation of the company in France. It is apparent that by 1929 the 2 litre OHV model was by then some five years old. Nonetheless it remained competitive with its contemporaries having witnessed such technical improvements as a shift from cone to disk clutch and the addition of servo assisted brakes.

In both articles the authors were careful to make the distinction between sports and touring cars.

In 1926 Richard Twelvetrees wrote, “…The Schneider is certainly a “sports” car and not just a sort of glorified touring model…”. Twelvetrees clocked the car at 72mph in 1926.

By 1929 Hubert Keogh wrote “…I was rather dubious about the real speed capabilities of the car before the test…To sum up the Le Mans Schneider impressed me very favourably, and I would consider it eminently suitable for the sporting driver who requires a reliable high speed car.” Keogh clocked the car in a crosswind at 76mph in 1929.

In a 1986 review of the marque Motor Sport described the car as one of the more neglected of the sports cars of the mid-vintage period and notwithstanding a chequered competition record, likening it to the “poor man’s Bentley” on the strength of its noteworthy performance figures.

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