Bonhams | 2018-10-08 | Collectors Motorcars and Automobilia Auction Philadelphia Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum | Venue : Philadelphia, Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
Lot No. : 118
Year : 1911
Engine Size : -
Engine No. : #M795-Y
Estimate : US$ 40,000 - 60,000
US$ 16,800
Breese Paris Roadster Sold
Please note, this vehicle is titled under Engine No. 795Y.

1,392cc OHC Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
Signal Zenith Updraft Carburator
Approx. 20bhp at 2500 RPM
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Solid Axle Front and Rear Suspension
2-Wheel Rear Drum Brakes
*Advanced design brass era sports car
*Robert Breese Personal Car
*OHC 4-cylinder engine
*Believed one of two survivors
*Unique documented history
This 1911 Breese Paris is one of three cars known cars produced by Robert Breese in France to sell in America. The other two were the teardrop roadster and the race car that has been lost. This car is believed to be the last of the trio and is fitted with many features not found on the earlier car. It is believed to have originally appeared with an attractive boat tail three-seater body. Under the hood of the Breese was a very advanced OHC 4-cylinder engine that shares many similarities to Bugatti engines of the period and the later 4-cylinder engine designed by W.O. Bentley- all three units share a camshaft driven via vertical shaft on timing gears.
This overhead camshaft engine had many advantages over the small flathead Fivet unit used in other cars. The biggest being that flathead engines are not as efficient on the intake stroke as overhead units. By designing an overhead camshaft unit, Robert Breese was able to drastically increase performance, while still using a relatively small 1.3-liter unit. Many HCCA members who toured with Robert in the NYC area, all said that this car was extremely fast for its age.
The first owner of this particular car is not known, but in 1926 it was seen by a Mr. Blumberg laid up in a Manhattan garage. According to an article written by him, he instantly fell in love with the car and its sporty lines, so he arranged to buy it.
Accompanied by his brother, Mr. Blumberg decided to drive the car on a rather epic 5000-mile road trip around the eastern United States. Setting off from his home at 151st and Broadway, he completed the journey some eighteen weeks later with no mechanical failures.
The next known owner of the car was Robert Breese himself. It is believed that during his ownership the car received the rather spartan two-seater coachwork it still wears today.
Robert Breese would retain the car for the rest of his life. He even raced it in the commemorative running of the Vanderbilt cup in 1946, where he was barley beaten by Old 16 piloted by veteran racing driver Joe Tracy. A video of this match exists, as do numerous photos of Robert Breese with the car in a history file.
After Breese's death in 1958, it would pass to a surviving member of the Breese family and would remain in their ownership until 2001. It was then acquired by Sperraza family, the owners of the teardrop roadster. By this point, the car had been laid up for a quite lengthy period so the consigner devoted a large amount of the time getting the car roadworthy again.
Today, the car is very much the way it was when Robert Breese owned it. Although, the original bodywork is gone, but the unique OHC engine remains. It would make an intriguing restoration project or do equally well as a preservation piece. Seldom do brass cars with such advanced design features come available for purchase.

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