Four years later, in 1901 the brand launched a small model at their Paris showroom. Named “Bébé” and designed for the general public, the car was equipped with a small 652cc single-cylinder engine. Production of the first “Bébé” however, would not last very long. Peugeot was unable to sell many of this small car and so decided to discontinue the model.
As the new century arose, Peugeot began the development of a new prototype with the help of Ettore Bugatti. At around the same time on the other side of the Atlantic, the lion mark achieved an impressive victory in the gruelling Indianapolis 500 motor race.
That incredible feat with driver Jules Goux, was with the first model ever to be equipped with a four-cylinder engine and two overhead camshafts.
The victory and collaboration with Bugatti gained huge popularity for the French mark, and they followed up at the Paris Motor Show with the launch of the Bugatti Type 19 which was set to be manufactured in Sochaux by Peugeot.
The Type 19 was christened the “Bébé”, a nickname in jest, alluding to the car’s tiny size. This time around, the newly resurrected “Bébé” would be hailed as a true utility vehicle. The car was miles ahead of the first “Bébé” both in terms of technology and performance.
What distinguished this new “Bébé” from its rivals was the quality of Bugatti’s work and Peugeot’s rigorous manufacturing processes. The collaboration yielded a car that was extremely user friendly and economical. It was also very rapid considering its tiny size, topping off at a maximum speed of 60 km/h.
The car’s 6hp advanced mono-block engine was equipped with T-valves which allowed it to rev to 800 revolutions per minute.
Front-mounted in a longitudinal direction, the four-cylinder block had a capacity of 855cc and was fed by a simple carburetor. The ignition was magnetic and power was transmitted to the rear wheels via Cardan shaft, through a three-speed non-synchronized manual gearbox.
True to the Bugatti tradition, the suspension was attached to rigid axles, with semi-elliptical leaf springs and Truffault friction dampers. The car’s drum brakes as was typical for the time, only acted on the rear wheels.
The “Bébé” was quite unusual for its period because it was only sold with a two-seater torpedo body, and it was sold with all the accessories such as the hood, windshield and headlights included.