Antoinette III [1905-1906]

The record of Antoinette III at the Lake Garda meet on September 8th, places her in a class by herself, aside from other features which mark her as an epoch-making production.

She has been improving her performance at each appearance, and has made and broken several world's records for her class. Her latest performance, that at Lake Garda, was to cover 150 kilometers (93.15 statute miles) in 3 h. 2 m. 42 s., or at the rate of 30 3/4 miles per hour---truly a remarkable performance for a boat only a little over 26 feet long.

But this is not only her claim to attention. When La Rapiere defeated boats of greater size and power at Monaco, and made new records for speed, endurance and reliability with each succeeding appearance, she was hailed as a wonder; and she was, for she carried the largest power ever installed in a 26-foot hull, and carried it successfully in all weather, without racking herself to pieces. She looked to be the most successful European production of 1905, when she met an untimely end by striking a rock at the Lucerne meet. Now, Antoinette III comes forward to take her place and accomplished even more wonderful results.

Not since Standard electrified the boating world with reports of phenomenal speed, and inaugurated the day of reversible motors, has a boat or engined appeared which promised so much for the future of the gasolene engine; for Antoinette III goes a step further, and makes the reversible motor self-starting in either direction on the switch.

Then, just stop and consider that her 26-foot hull carries 200-hp. in a motor weighing only between 3 and 4 pounds to the horse power, and what possibilities are opened up!.

Her hull was, we believe, built by Pitre, and was formerly called Billancourt, after the place in which her 80-h. Renault motor was made, but, anyway, her designer and builder is to be congratulated on turning out a hull which drives as cleanly through the water as our illustration shows her to do.

(Transcribed from The Motor Boat, Oct. 10, 1905, p. 16. )

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Our illustration [illustration not available at this time --LF] shows the motors and general arrangement of Antoinette III, referred to in the description of the French Motorboat Show, in the MOTOR BOAT of January 10, 1906, and as this boat marks an important step in the evolution of the gasolene motor and bristles with new features, a careful study of its details will doubtless be interesting.

The motor, or rather motors, consists of two units of eight cylinders each, connected together in tandem without any fly-wheel. The cylinders are 5.9 inches bore and stroke, and each motor comprises practically two 4-cylinder motors, with cylinders set at 90 degrees apart, each being 45 degrees from the vertical, but working on a common crank shaft. The inlet valves are automatic, and the corresponding exhaust valves are actuated by the same cams. One of the interesting features is the absence of carburetors, the motor drawing in pure air and the gasolene being injected into the cylinders. This does away with all induction piping and saves considerable weight. The inlets are situated directly above the exhausts, which are discharged through curved pipes into the atmosphere. The cylinders have heads cast separately and are fitted with spun brass jackets.

Another interesting feature is the reversibility of the motor. This is accomplished by rotating the cams through an arc of 90 degrees. By allowing the motor to slow down, breaking contact, shifting the cams and throwing in the switch the motor will start in the opposite direction, or can be started from rest in either direction by throwing in the switch and revolving the commutator, as is customary with an automobile. The injection of the fuel by hand makes this possible at all times.

This remarkable motor weighs only 750 pounds and gives between 200 and 220 horsepower at 1,000 revolutions per minute. The success of Antoinette III during the past season has been remarkable and she now holds the world's record for speed over a long course, having made 93.15 miles in 3h., 2m., 42s. at the Lake Garda meet, which figures out at 30 3/4 miles per hour, and has also made a kilometer at the rate of 31 1/4 miles per hour.

(Transcribed from THE MOTOR BOAT, Jan. 25, 1906, p. 8. )

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Leslie Field, 1999