Video of the 1914 Peugeot L45 at the Bothwell auction

I realized today that during the preview of Bonhams auction of the Ann and Lindley Bothwell collection last November I’d made a short video of a walk around the car. It was entirely accidental as I was explaining what made the L45 so important (like its race history at the 1914 Lyon GP and twice at Indianapolis, and its nearly complete originality), the woman who’d asked about it said, “Let me use your phone to make a video while you’re telling me about the car.”

So we did. “Unrehearsed” is an understatement.

The Bothwells’ Peugeot is remarkable and nearly singularly important.

For starters, it is one of only two surviving examples of the series which introduced dual overhead camshaft valve actuation for the first time, a technique that engineers still use to extract maximum performance from internal combustion engines for everything from Formula One to SUVs.

It was the Peugeot team’s spare car at the 1914 Grand Prix in Lyon, France, then came to America in 1916 to race in the Indianapolis 500 where it finished third driven by Ralph Mulford. It raced again at Indy in 1919 driven by Art Klein. After barnstorming around America it eventually settled on the west coast with Klein, who then owned it until 1949 when he sold it to Lindley Bothwell. That is a continuous history for over a century.

And, it is — aside from some paint — completely original, with its original chassis, body, engine, gearbox, … pretty much everything except tires, spark plugs, belts and hoses. That is pretty much the definition of a “time capsule” vehicle.

I was privileged to write the catalog description for it, then to visit the Bothwell Ranch for the auction [there’s an auction report elsewhere on this site] where it was the well-deserved headline consignment. It sold to a U.S. collector for $6.6 million hammer, $7,260,000 with commission, and I’m looking forward to the day when it comes back to life on a concours field somewhere.

Until then, here’s the link to the video:

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