May 31, 2020


The French company  CLESSE & Cie of Levallois-Perret ( near Paris ) is unknown to most prewar car enthusiasts. It was a very, very short lived company ( 1907 - 1908 ), offering a friction drive voiturette using a 6.2 hp single-cylinder engine. Only a handful seems to have been produced.
In the Beaulieu Encyclopedia of Motor cars you will just find  one line  about the company´s  history and no picture is shown. The same applies to Nick Georgeano´s Complete Encyclopedia of Motorcars.
On the internet nothing (!) is available regarding CLESSE automobiles. So it was amazing to find a CLESSE radiator in this collection, considering as none of the cars are known to have survived.

My son and me visting a radiator collection. The CLESSE is on the left side of the table

Several years later I had the chance to buy another CLESSE radiator:

CLESSE radiator emblem in "found as" condition

Size9.2 cm x 7.0 cm
Year1907 - 1908


I was intrigued to see the backside of this emblem:

backside without makers mark

CLESSE   radiator now in my collection

Finally my personal story of the  CLESSE radiator acquisition:

In 2019 my friend and car mascot enthusiast Matthias Dressler drew my attention to this very rare radiator in Bordeaux / South of France in 2019,   some 1,250 kilometers (775 miles) away from my home in Berlin and too heavy to ship. The seller threatened to sell it to another person so we drew up a plan: In connection to his next summer vacation in South Germany he would bring the thing to a friend of mine in Karlsruhe, located in the western part of Germany.  From there it was picked up by another friend as we planned to travel together to the biggest British autojumble (swap meet)  in Beaulieu ( South of England ). So we met near the Dutch border and put the item in my car.  Now the radiator traveled all the way to England and one week later - finally - to it´s new home in  Berlin / East Germany. A voyage of more than 3,150  kilometers  (1,950  miles). I´m sure the CLESSE car never made such a long journey when new.

For more emblems see older posts or top right ( list of car makers ).
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