Auguste Doriot

article - Auguste Doriot

Auguste Frédéric Doriot (24 October 1863 – 1955) was a French motoring pioneer who developed, built and raced cars for Peugeot before founding his own manufacturing company D.F.P. in combination with Ludovic Flandrin and the Parant brothers. In 1891, Doriot and his Peugeot colleague Louis Rigoulot completed the longest trip by a petrol powered vehicle when their self-designed and built Daimler powered Peugeot Type 3 completed 2,100 kilometres (1375 miles) from Valentigney to Paris and Brest and back again. They were attached to the first Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle race, but the duo reached Brest one day after the winning cyclist, Charles Terront, finished in Paris, and they then finished six days after him.

Auguste Doriot

Auguste Doriot (second from right) driving a Vis a vis (Face to face) Peugeot 3hp during the 1894 Paris-Rouen Contest
Auguste Frederic Doriot

(1863-10-24)24 October 1863

Died 1955

Doriot’s son, Georges Doriot, emigrated to the United States and became a professor at the Harvard Business School, where he later became known as the father of Venture Capitalism. He also served as a brigadier general during World War II and was known for founding INSEAD business school.

. . . Auguste Doriot . . .

Auguste Frederic Doriot was born on 24 October 1863, the second youngest of eight children of Jacques Doriot, in the village of Sainte-Suzanne, Doubs in Franche-Comté.[1] On 27 September 1894 at Valentigney he married 24-year-old Berthe Camille Baehler from Voujeaucourt, known as Camille, who had a Swiss father from Uetendorf and a French mother. She had been orphaned aged three and was raised by her grandmother and three older sisters. The couple went on to have two children, Georges Frederic was born in September 1899 and Madeleine Georgette (Zette) was born on 11 August 1906 at the family home in Neuilly-sur-Seine.[2]

Doriot was a cold, stern, driving, ambitious father, unlike Camille. Even Georges‘ successes were met without enthusiasm, and ‘his cool stare was worse than any physical punishment’. Georges was trained in the D.F.P workshops and was able to enlist as an Artillery engineer after WW1. After the war the family sent him to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA but he switched to the Harvard Business School where he became a Professor and the father of Venture Capitalism. He also became Brigadier general (United States) during WWII.[3] Georges also noted: “I think that my father worked 24 hours a day.”[4]

In 1889 at the age of 26, Doriot finished his military service and took a job at the Peugeot bicycle factory in Beaulieu-sur-Doubs, Valentigney (or possibly 1887[5]). Armand Peugeot, seeing his technical potential and ambition, sent him on a series of apprenticeships to develop his skills. By 1891 he had become a full employee at the factory and began working for the company’s main engineer, Louis Rigoulot, installing Daimler engines into Peugeot’s first vehicles, thus developing a four-wheeled petroleum-powered Quadricycle – the Peugeot Type 2 and the Type 3 with 2.5 hp, four forward gears plus reverse. This enterprise saw Doriot promoted to foreman.[6][7][8]

Peugeot Type 3. Model that Doriot and Rigoulot drove in the 1891 Paris–Brest–Paris bicycle race.

In order to publicly prove the reliability and performance of the ‘Quadricycle’ it was officially entered (appended) into the 1891 Paris–Brest–Paris bicycle race, Armand Peugeot having persuaded the organiser, Pierre Giffard of Le Petit Journal, of the benefits if his network of monitors and marshalls could vouchsafe the performance. The intended distance of 1200 kilometres had never been achieved by a motorised vehicle, it being about three times further than the record set by Leon Serpollet from Paris to Lyon. Additionally Rigoulot and Doriot loaded the Type 3 Quadricycle with tools, spare parts, luggage and water, and drove it 300 kilometres from Valentigny to Paris, a three-day journey. They reached 20 kilometres an hour on flat roads but Rigoulot had to walk behind up the hills, ready to push. Peugeot had to pre-seed the route with petrol supplies, so employees placed cans at strategic railway stations about 60 kilometres apart. Unfortunately some were lost or disposed of by station masters on safety grounds so the ‘racers’ had to acquire dry cleaning fluid.[6][7][8]

The Peugeot left Paris behind the cyclists on 8 September, covering 200 kilometres on the first day and 160 kilometres on the second, but then lost 24 hours when a gear failed near Morlaix. After effecting a repair using local resources (a shoemaker’s tools) they arrived at Brest after dark where they were received by a large crowd and the local Peugeot bicycle dealer. Le Petit Journal reported their arrival in Brest on 12 September, one day after it reported winning cyclist Charles Terront‘s finishing the race back in Paris. Doriot and Rigoulot arrived in Paris with cyclists 88–96 on 16 September to complete the Paris–Brest–Paris race six days after the winner.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][Note 1][Note 2][Note 3]

. . . Auguste Doriot . . .

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. . . Auguste Doriot . . .

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