The Butterosi

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

In his day the late W J Brunell was a very skilled photographer, working mostly for the yellow-cover journal The Auto (not to be confused with The Autocar) but also specialising in fine photographs of the interiors of stately houses and their changing garden scenes throughout the four seasons.

When I heard Brunell was offering his entire collection of photographs and glassplate negatives for sale, I thought MOTOR SPORT would be well advised to purchase them, and drove down to see what I could do. Brunell greeted me by asking what make of car I would like to look at first, implying that he had photographed them all. Feeling this to be rather pompous I sought to catch him out by replying: “What about the Butterosi?”

I knew practically nothing about this make, but thought it would be sufficiently rare to defeat the old photographer. “Ah, that will be in the B file”, said Brunell, and a moment later he was handing me a set of photographs of a Butterosi. Not only that, but these prints showed both sides of the car’s engine, its dashboard, front and back and side views!

Feeling suitably chastened, I realised that as a penance one day I should have to do some research on this obscure make! As for Brunell’s enormous collection of photographs, I believe it is now in the Beaulieu Library of the National Motor Museum.

About this Butterosi. It was made at Boulogne-sur-Seine, and some called it the best of the French light-cars. C R Finch-Noyes of Lennox House, Norfolk Street in London, sensing that at a time of acute car-shortage, after the Armistice, it was highly desirable to have something on wheels to sell, took a stand at the 1919 Olympia Show and exhibited thereon a 12hp Butterosi six-light saloon, a four-seater tourer edition of which was priced at £600.

The specification embraced a four-cylinder 65mm x 100mm (1327cc) side-valve engine with trough lubrication, distinguished only by its magdyno. Also notable, however, was the unit construction of engine and four-speed gearbox, with the multi-plate clutch fully enclosed by the clutch-pit but accessible through a big rectangular cover-plate.

Otherwise the Butterosi was just a typical French small-car of the period, with disc wheels shod with 765 x 105 tyres, a neatly made back-axle, with two steel castings bolted together on the differential centre-line. It was claimed that although thermo-syphon cooling was used , the radiator header-tank stood some 12in above the top of the cylinders. But as the bonnet-top sloped downwards and the radiator was not particularly tall, the threepoint-mounted engine unit must have been hung very low in the chassis.

Evidence of economy was to be seen in the braking system, which although compensated and equipped with finger-nut adjusters, used the same drums for both systems — the pedal working external brake-bands, the lever expanding shoes.

That Mr Brunell was able to produce a set of photographs of this race and unsung car is all the more to his credit, for in May 1923 the Light Car Company of Euston Road was still trying to get rid of an almost-new 1920 Butterosi saloon (probably the Show car) for £165.

The make made its debut at the 1919 Paris Show, but little more was heard of it after the London Show, although one was shown on the James H Gatt stand at the Scottish Show in January 1920 (held in Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall which, before being burnt down and rebuilt, resembled an aeroplane hangar with a wood-supported roof).

Early in 1921 the Welbeck Auto Agency of Great Portland Street was advertising a new four-seater Butterosi, said to do 38 mpg, for immediate delivery, dubbing it “France’s Best Light-Car”. But whereas that other rare car for which a similar slogan was used, the Sequeville-Hoyau, appeared in the 1921 MCC Land’s End Trial driven by a Mr Myson (and I discovered one during WW2 in the garage opposite the RAE in Farnborough), the Butterosi just faded away. WB