Chances Are You’ve Never Heard Of This 2-litre French Racer
Photography by Marc Fellman & Kurt Rek
Theophile Schneider (Th. Schneider, or THS for short) was a low-volume French automobile manufacturer with a competition history in pre-WWI French Grand Prix racing. The 2-litre Theophile Schneider of the twenties was designated as the type “25 SP”.
A factory-entered car won the French 2-litre class at the 1926 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the marque achieved some notoriety for its involvement, together with three Bentleys, in the “White House crash” at the 1927 race. The French automobile aficionado and ex-THS owner, Serge Pozzoli, claimed the Le Mans car was timed down pit straight at 87 mph (140 km/h).
Despite the publicity generated by entry into races such as Le Mans and the Spa 24 Hours, and attempts at model diversification, the company struggled to successfully transition from the Edwardian to the vintage era, and following near bankruptcy on more than one occasion it finally ceased manufacture in 1929 with the remaining chassis and running gear bought up by the UK agent for the marque.
My car, chassis #128, is actually three chassis numbers away from the car that placed sixth at the 1926 24 Hours of Le Mans. Its early history is undocumented, but it is likely to have been imported new to Australia in chassis form to either the Melbourne or Adelaide agent. Chassis #128 is the only known type 25SP survivor in Australia among 9 documented survivors worldwide. The only known documented information of a 2-litre THS in Australia is the car that participated in the 1929 Australian Grand Prix owned and driven by the then Vice-President of the Victorian Light Car Club, VLCC, Ernest King. That car reportedly retired from the race after shedding a wheel at speed. 1928 and 1929 issues of the VLCC magazine also record that King’s THS participated in a variety of club events.
Its fate is unknown, but I love driving mine…