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De Dietrich, 1903 Roi-des-Belges body
1. tulip shaped chairs
and access restricted by chain drive so
2. clean rear access for the then current very long clothes through (swivelling)
front passenger seat

Roi-des-Belges or tulip phaeton was a popular car body style for luxury motor vehicles in the early 1900s. It was a double phaeton with exaggerated bulges suggestive of a tulip.[1][2] The rear bulges accommodated two corner seats like tub armchairs which were accessed from the rear by a central door with a small fold-down seat[3].

The Roi-des-Belges style began with a 1901 40 hp Panhard et Levassor with a Rothschild body commissioned by Leopold II of Belgium, Roi des Belges.[4] The style was suggested by Leopold's mistress, Cléo de Mérode.[2][4]

The style and the name Roi-des-Belges were used on many makes of the time, including Mototri Contal, Spyker,[5] and Renault [6] and by other coachwork builders.


  1. ^ Gartman, David (1994). "Early development of the automotive form". Auto opium:a social history of American automobile design. Routledge. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-415-10571-2. Retrieved 2012-03-17. Initially commissioned by King Leopold of Belgium, this elegant body had wide, bulging sides and a rear of double-reversed curves reminiscent of a tulip. This spacious body was popular on the expensive makes on both sides of the Atlantic, while the simple side-entrance tonneau or double phaeton was placed on less costly cars.
  2. ^ a b Bird, Anthony (1967). "Bodywork and Accessories". Early Motor Cars. London UK: George Allen & Unwin. p. 139. A new name, the Roi des Belges, was introduced into coachbuilding circles and was used to distinguish an opulently curving, tulip-like form which, if executed really well on a big enough scale, could have a superb effect.
  3. ^ See, for example "1902 De Dietrich 16hp car".
  4. ^ a b Burgess-Wise, David (27 Mar 2001). "A good idea at the time: Roi des Belges body style". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2012-03-14. "Why not make the seats of the car like these chairs?" she suggested, and the King was captivated.
  5. ^ Andre Ritzinger (2009-01-26). "Spyker: one century of exotic cars - page 2 of 14". Retrieved 2012-03-18.
  6. ^ "Renault Type BH 50 hp Roi de Belges 1909 for sale". PreWarCar. Retrieved 2012-03-18.

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