Peugeot 'Bebe' 5 hp motor car, 1901.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Along with other French motor car manufacturers Renault and De Dion-Bouton, Peugeot played an important part in the development of the smallest type of motor car. In around 1901, Armand Peugeot (1849-1915) started building his own engines, the first of which powered the Bebe, an affordable 'baby' motor car designed by Ettore Bugatti (1882-1947). It had a maximum speed of 28 mph, and sold well until 1912. The 655cc engine is single-cylinder and water-cooled and drives the rear wheels through a three-speed gearbox, an inverted cone clutch, propeller shaft and differential gear on a live back axle.