1903 De Dion Bouton Model Q

De Dion Bouton in the snow

a hand mirror - not strictly for personal use, but to occasionally hold up to see what is behind you.

This De Dion Bouton is one of the original five cars that were displayed in the entrance hall of Palace House at Beaulieu in 1952, a display that grew into the first Montagu Motor Museum. It has been in the Montagu family since 1913 when it was acquired from a tenant on the Beaulieu Estate. At that time it was purchased as part of a collection of goods, which included a motorboat, for £75.

More De Dion Boutons were imported into this country during the early 1900s than any other make of foreign car. This example is a regular competitor in the annual London to Brighton run.

The De Dion Bouton was the car of choice for the accomplished early woman motorist Dorothy Levitt. In 1909 Dorothy published ‘The Woman and the Car’ in which she covered practical elements of motoring, from what one should take whilst motoring through to how to do your own roadside repairs.

Dorothy Levitt appears to have been the first to use a rear view mirror, recommending that a hand mirror be used “not strictly for personal use, but to occasionally hold up to see what is behind you.”  Dorothy was an avid automobile racer and broke many motoring records, such as the Women’s Speed Record 96 mph, Bexhill in 1906.

Quick Facts


  • Accession number BEAMM : V1033
  • Date made 1903
  • Price new £200
  • Place made Puteaux, France
  • Maximum speed 30mph/48.28kph
  • Made of metal, wood, leather, rubber and glass
  • Dimensions Height 1.52m, Length 2.87m, Width 1.45m, Front track 1.17m, Rear track 1.16m, Wheelbase 1.85m
  • Weight 10cwt/508kg


  • The 1903 De Dion Bouton Model Q was made with an engine capacity of 698cc, one cylinder and side valves.
  • This car was chosen by Helen Keisel (Administrator & Volunteer Coordinator) as her favourite object on exhibition in the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu. Helen has been a member of staff at Beaulieu since 2007. Watch the video in the "Gallery" section to see Helen talk about the significance of this object to her.


Newspaper article about Dorothy Levitt 1905
De Dion Bouton Model Q 1903 Model Q
1903 De Dion Bouton Model Q

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