White Mathis Biplace Sport Type Hermes-Simplex from 1904

White Mathis Biplace Sport Type Hermes-Simplex from 1904, four cylinders, 92 HP, 135 km/h

Mathis S.A. was an automobile manufacturer in Alsace that produced cars between 1910 and 1950. Founder Émile Mathis (1880–1956) was born in Strasbourg and died in Geneva.

Émile Mathis was a leading car dealer in Strasbourg, Alsace, handling Fiat, De Dietrich and Panhard-Levassor, among other makes from his Auto-Mathis-Palace.

Two models were designed for him by the young Ettore Bugatti. Made at his Graffenstaden factory he marketed them under the brand Hermes with 28, 40, or 98 hp engines. They were Mercedes-like cars with chain drives. Designer and racing-driver Dragutin Esser then created two cars of 2025 cc and 2253 cc which were built under license from Stoewer.

The Mathis 8/20 PS was first offered in 1910 but the first real success came just before World War I with two smaller models: Babylette had a 1.1 L engine and Baby had a 1.3 L engine. There was also a Mathis-Knight model.

During World War I, Mathis was sent by the German government (Alsace was then part of Germany) to Switzerland to buy tyres and after one of these trips he went to France and remained there. After the war Alsace became part of France and he was able to return to his factory.

After the war, the firm’s production increased quickly and soon became No.4 in France making more than 20,000 cars in 1927. Mathis attempted to compete with Citroën. The SB model of 1921 was followed by a six-cylinder model (1188 cc) in 1923 and an eight-cylinder in 1925. From 1927, Mathis followed a one-model policy. MY has side-valve four-cylinder engine (1.2 L). Not surprisingly, the next year saw the Emysix, with a 2288 cc six-cylinder.

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