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Object: Peugeot Type 54 ’Bebe’ car

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Title Peugeot Type 54 ’Bebe’ car
Production Peugeot (manufacturer(s)), 1903, France
Materials metal, wood, leather, rubber, oil
Classification automobiles
Dimensions Overall: 1380mm (Height) x 2170mm (Length) x 1210mm (Width/Depth)
Credit line Gift of A.R. and J.D. Green, 1955
Registration number T000539

This two-seater, open carriage, Peugeot Type 54 'Bebe' looks new, but it is far from original. When this motor car left the Peugeot factory on 26 August 1903, it was blue with a yellow stripe, had solid rubber tyres, and was probably equipped with a warning bell. It has since been repainted, fitted with 'ladder tread' Dunlop pneumatic tyres, and has had its bell exchanged for a bulb horn.

This type of Peugeot was one of the first 'Baby' ('Bebe') series of vehicles. Production of this line began in 1900 with the concept being the creation of a single-cylinder light vehicle for the middle classes.

The car was imported from London, England, to Wellington, New Zealand, by local pharmacist R M Green. He paid £195 for the vehicle, and £50 freight and duty, making a total purchase price of £245.

Although the car would have arrived in New Zealand near the end of 1903, the registration number painted clearly across the front marks it as only the thirteenth car registered by the Wellington City Council that year.

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