Car: Dauphin/ Engine: 4 Cylinder In-Line / Maker: Mors / Bore X Stroke: 145 mm X 175 mm / Year: 1903 / Capacity: 11,559 cc / Class: Grand Prix / Power: 70 bhp at 1100 rpm
Panhard was still reeling from the death of Emile Levassor and Major Arthur Krebs who succeeded Levassor as General Manager in 1897, was not as strong a supporter of racing as the man he replaced and perhaps this provided the opening that Mors needed. They were the only cars that could rival the dominant Panhards at the beginning of this century.
The marque’s racing successes led to increased sales. In 1898, the works employed 200 workmen. Six years later, the total had risen to 1200, and two cars per day were being turned out in the immense factory in the Rue de Theatre. The battle between Panhard et Levassor and Mors would continue for the next two year.
Mors were the products of Emille Mors an electrical engineer by training and his brother Louis. The name Mors, similar to mort or death in French according to one particular “motorphobe” member of Parliament implied that Mors drivers had the licence to kill anyone who crossed the path of their cars. Luckily this did not stop production of the first cars which had rear-mounted, two-cylinder engines. In 1899 he introduced a front-engined inline 4-cylinder which became the foundation for his racing success. Designed by Henri Brasier the 2-hp 7.3 litre racing Mors won the 1900 Bordeaux-Perigueux-Bordeaux and Paris-Toulouse-Paris races in the hands of Alfred Levegh.Unfortunately ill health forced Levegh to retire.
In 1903 Mors used a streamlined body resembling an “upturned boat”. The Mors Dauphin, French for dolphin had a pressed-steel chassis and an inlet-over-exhaust engine with all valves mechanically operated from a single camshaft. The wind-cheating shape was later abandoned in 1904, when the company’s racing cars acquired the new honeycomb radiator. Two team cars were leading the doomed Paris-Madrid race when it was halted at Bordeaux with Gabriel leading his teammate Salleron. In all the company built 13 Dauphins. Mors would continue to race until 1908 but this was to be their last major victory. André Citroën became chairman of Mors in 1908 and in 1925, Citroën bought Mors outright. The factory continued to produce cars but now entirely under the Citroën name.