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MOTAT secures NZ return of pre-WWI Clement-Bayard Vehicle

Media Release

MOTAT is proud to announce the acquisition and return to New Zealand of a rare 1908 – 09 Clement Bayard 2-door open runabout vehicle.

The acquisition of this Clement-Bayard is particularly exciting for MOTAT as it is in full working condition, making it one of the oldest operational items within the museum’s extensive vehicle collection.

With a vertical front-mount 4-cylinder 8hp engine, this Clement-Bayard model comes with a 1200cc rating and can reach speeds of up to 25 m/hr (40 km/hr).

“The Clement-Bayard is another significant acquisition in line with MOTAT’s Vision and Collection Policy” explains MOTAT Chief Executive Michael Frawley.

“While the car’s engine and chassis were built in France, it’s bodywork was designed and built in New Zealand - kiwi technology, ingenuity, and innovation in action”

This pre-WWI vehicle also represents an important point in our country’s motoring history. A point in which New Zealand was one of the largest importers of vehicles in the world.

The early presence of vehicles quickly had an impact on our urban design, developing industry, and saw the establishment of new laws and agencies for vehicle production, use and safety.

In 1907 government tariffs were imposed on imported assembled vehicles to help protect local coach builders and vehicle assemblers in New Zealand. This Clement-Bayard was therefore imported “flat” and assembled with a NZ made body to avoid the 20% government tariff on imported assembled vehicles.

This vehicle was purchased in 1910 for Edward Furness Barton (B c.1884-d.12 May 1956), a wealthy sheep farmer and transport enthusiast from the Masterton region. The car stayed within the Barton family until it was purchased as a museum piece in 1958 by George Edward Gilltrap (1911-1966).

It was first displayed in the Gilltrap Motor Museum in Rotorua and then in Queensland at the Gilltraps Auto Museum in Kirra, the vehicle stayed within the Gilltrap family after the collection was sold in 1989.

This donation is a significant acquisition for the museum and will be recognised by MOTAT as “From the Descendants of George and Kathleen Gilltrap.”

From mid-November, the Clement-Bayard will be displayed within MOTAT’s vehicle exhibition Accelerate: Driving New Zealand replacing Black Beauty which is on loan from Team New Zealand founders Giltrap Group.

“This acquisition, and the recent donations of the Hodge VW Beetle, the Jean Batten log books, flying helmet and medal clearly demonstrates that MOTAT’s reputation as a professionally run museum has grown and is recognised nationally and internationally,” confirms Chief Executive Michael Frawley.


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