Small clockwork model Tonneau car, 1906 (Bing 14001-2)

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Small clockwork model Tonneau car, 1906 (Bing 14001-2)

Tonneau clockwork car, 1906 (Bing 14001-2).jpg (i)
BTMM map 084.gif
Arch One , Area 84
London to Brighton Rally (display)

A clockwork "tonneau" model car with yellow wheels, gold grilles and red upholstery, made by Bing (with a "GBW" Bing badge on the front). The section between the two back seats is a rear door, to allow passengers to get on and off the car without clambering out into traffic.

It's listed in Bing's 1906 catalogue as:

(model) 14001/2, Break (sic) with hooter sounding 'Tuff-Tuff'" 9 1/2" × 5 1/8" × 4 1/2" , cost 16/8

The model came in three sizes, with catalogue numbers ending in "/1", "/2" and "/3" - this is the middle-sized version.

Bing Tonneau car, mid-size, 14001-2

Tonneau automobiles

Tonneau cars had back seats with foldout or attachable soft or hard covers, and/or high back and side walls. The basic idea was to protect whatever was in the back seat from the weather and/or from prying eyes. If the back seats were being used to carry luggage, then the owner might not want their goods on full display when the vehicle was parked (encouraging theft), and racing cars often had tonneau covers to cover over unused seats and maybe add a little extra streamlining.

With a sufficiently high car and high tonneau sides to the rear compartment, a drive to a secluded spot in the country with a close friend might allow the owner and their passenger additional romantic possibilities compared to some other styles of car. it was also an obvious choice for summer family outings, where small children might not be safe in a front passenger seat, or in open rear seats - a high-sided tonneau vehicle (with a locking door) would have been a lot safer.


  • 1906 Bing toy catalogue, reprint, (New Cavendish Books 1991) ISBN 0904568520 pp.112