These two cars were about to start their race at la Coupe des Voiturettes in 1909. This race, held in France eleven times between 1900 and 1920 – firstly at Boulogne-sur-Mer (including this race) and then at Le Mans – was specifically designed for these small cars.
The car on the left is a 4-cylinder Demeester. These machines were built between 1906 and 1914 at Courbevoie in north-western Paris. Léon Demeester started production of motorcycles in 1901, but by the time of our picture in 1909 he had been building cars for three years. His four-cylinder cars were ideal for voiturette racing because the regulations limited bores to 100mm but did not limit the number of cylinders. It is said that from 1909 he bought ohv engines from Sultan, so this car may have been thus powered.
On the right is a single-cylinder Crespelle, using an engine with very long stroke – either an Aster (106 x 192mm) or a De Dion-Bouton (100 x 280mm).
An odd assortment of machinery took part in the race: three Calthorpes from England, three Hispano-Suizas from Spain, three FIFs from Belgium, and sixteen cars from France, represented by Lion-Peugeot, Demeester, Werner, Crespelle, Renault-Schneider, Guillemin-Le Gui and Alcyon. The winner was the Italian Giosuè Giuppone in a Lion-Peugeot.
This is the first of two Sliders featuring cars from the same race. The other two cars are the Le Gui and the Werner.
Picture courtesy of the Richard Roberts Archive