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“The World’s Greatest Racing Car” – The DOHC Peugeot – Part II

Recently we were able to find and post an article from the Sept. 26, 1912, Automobile Magazine, titled “The World’s Greatest Racing Car”. Since then we have found the location of many of the original photos of the 1912 engine, that were used in the magazine article. Because the DOHC Peugeot is such a famous and well known car, the photos have all been posted here so you can study the interesting construction in detail, as these photos are much clearer.

Just (above) Georges Boillot is seen on his way to winning the 1912 French Grand Prix in his Peugeot, only one of many wins that year for the automaker. Jules Goux in 1913 went on to win the Indianapolis 500 race with one of the cars.

The racing exploits of the Peugeot have been covered many tmes before by others, so the focus for our articles have been about the cars and mechanical details. In our next posting we will show you some of the later cars.


Just (above left to right) are; Georges Boillot, Jules Goux and Paul Zuccarelli in their cars some time before the race. Boillet and Goux’s cars are either test mules or their racing chassis wearing test body work. Zuccarelli’s car appears to have been wearing its racing body work.

Above is a photo of one of the dohc camshaft assemblies. For many years this was thought to contain desmodromic valve gear, due to incorrect drawings and statements in the press back in the period.


The left photo (above) of the bottom half of the alloy crankcase, shows the main bearing saddles, where the five plain main bearings and crankshaft were installed. The later engines used three ball bearings for the main bearings. The center photo (above) shows the  intake side of the 16-valve cylinder block, with the stands above each row of valves, that supported the cam housing assemblies. At the front can be seen the shaft drive entering the bevel and spur gear drive housing from below for the camshafts. The right hand photo (above) shows the top half of the crankcase. The grooves seen in the baffle plates lead to drain holes for the oil.


On the left (above) can be seen the exhaust side of the one – piece cylinder block and head with a view of the gear drive from the front. The valves were in cages that were inserted and held in from above, the slotted fasteners which retain them can be seen in the photos. The right hand photo (above) is a view of the crankcase upside down with the sump cover over the oil reservoir, which was just underneath the crankcase and part of the same casting.


The very interesting double – spring and enclosed cone clutch assembly can be seen (above) left. The transmission with its shifter assembly, rear-mounted brake drum and finned shoes can be seen in the (middle). The rear suspension with its leather check straps and the gas tank above it can be seen on the (right).

You can take look back here at our first post, “The Worlds Greatest Racing Car” – The DOHC Peugeot, which contains magazine reprints and much more information. The photos are courtesy of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

6 responses to ““The World’s Greatest Racing Car” – The DOHC Peugeot – Part II

  1. David,

    Great stuff. There are so many interesting things to learn about these engines. I think these photos are of the 7.6 liter version not the 3.0, do you know ? This groundbreaking 1912 DOHC design was not such a success (?), so for 1913 , Henry threw out the bottom end and the shaft cam drive, and went with ball bearings and gears . Once they got above 3000 rpm, the final nail in the coffin of the big displacement racer was set. Did you know it has an offset crank, just like a new Toyota Prius ?


  2. Nice article. It answers some of the questions the fine book by Borgeson opened. And I am surprised that more drawings have not surfaced. But over 100 years, and two wars, go figure. I understand all the GP cars were sold. I think Burman received one. It would be interesting to see where they wound up/regards/gp

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