August 2003

1903 Martini 41/18hp 4.1-Liter Type Rochers de Naye

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The coachwork is the result of an imaginative, and attractive, rebody

In 1902, Martini acquired a license to build Rochet-Schneider designs and began production, rapidly establishing its reputation as Switzerland's most exclusive manufacturer. In 1903, a Martini stole the headlines by ascending the Rochers de Naye cog wheel railway, an astonishing 11-km ascent with an average gradient of 22%. The car was driven by English entrepreneur and gentleman, Captain H. H. P. Deasy of London. Deasy's stand at the February 1904 Crystal Palace Show in London displayed the famous car and there is conjecture as to whether the car pictured here may be just that car. Certainly, it would star in any centenary celebration of that event.

The present owner acquired the car in 1995 from a Dr. Crofton in England whose family had owned it for many years, prior to which it was understood to be in Ireland. At that stage the car comprised a complete, unrestored rolling chassis including engine, clutch, gearbox, front and rear axles, steering and some bodywork.