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See Homepage. This page: FOUND! A first edition copy of Guide Michelin, published in 1900.

Guide Michelin 1900 First edition.

The first edition of the famous 1900 Michelin Guide, or "Guide Michelin" as it should be called, was issued as an aid to pioneer motorists in France. As this is possibly the earliest item of motoring memorabilia that I have found, presumably collated and printed in 1899, I thought it should receive a special mention here on the Old Classic Car website, within the collectables section. I bought this Michelin Guide in the mid-90s. The early Michelin Guides were offered free to car owners - "Offert gracieusement aux Chauffeurs" - the idea being to collate into a handy pocket-sized guide all the information that the motorist might require to successfully own and maintain their car, at a time when motor-car ownership was very much the preserve of the well-off members of society.
I have two copies of the 1900 Michelin Guide, an original issue from 1900 is shown on the left in the photographs below, and alongside it is a later re-issue.
Michelin Guide 1900 cover
The Guide Michelin 1900 rear cover
There are at least two versions of the later re-published copies, both are identifiable by the added text to the rear cover, near the lower edge (see below). I have seen two different versions of this extra text on the rear cover of the later copies, and there is an interesting difference in the page numbering.
Additional text

Printing error.

In the original first edition 1900 Michelin Guide there is a printing error in the page numbers. Page 373 is actually numbered as 873, as per the photograph below which shows these two pages in the original 1900 Guide.
Page number error
This page number error is repeated in the later re-issue that I own. However I have also see a photograph of a later-issue 1900 Michelin Guide that has the correct "373" page number, so clearly at least two versions of the later re-issue are in circulation. Perhaps this coincides with the two different versions of extra text added to the rear cover of the newer copies?

Background to the Michelin Guide.

The famous French Michelin tyre company was founded in 1889 by Andre and Edouard Michelin, the brothers intrigued by the new-fangled horse-less carriages that were beginning to splutter onto the largely un-made roads of France, scattering pedestrians and irate horse owners in their dust. It wasn't long before they identified a clear gap in the market for a guide that would provide these early motorists with all the information that they would need to keep their car in tip-top condition, at the same time spreading the word about the Michelin tyres on offer to them. A genius marketing move. It would be several years before the Michelin Guide became synonymous with restaurant reviews and ratings, in the early days it was all about providing a one-stop reference work to motorists and their needs. The first edition guide of 1900 as featured here was printed in large numbers, some 35,000 copies were given out freely to enthusiastic automobilists yet very few of these first editions survive now.
To begin with, only motoring in France was the focus of "Le Guide Michelin". In 1904 this would change with the introduction of a Belgian edition, the first of many other countries to be so treated. The British Isles edition made its debut in 1911. The Guide would continue to be free until 1920 when a small fee was charged, and continues in print to this day along with many other related publications.
Throughout the several hundred pages of information are a number of fantastic car advertisements, a few of which are shown below. Again these photographs were taken of the original 1900 edition, although the later re-publications contain the same superb images.
Delahaye car
Renault freres
Rochet et Schneider car
How this 1900 Michelin Guide turned up for sale here in the UK is anyone's guess. The condition is very reasonable considering its age. Where has it been all these years? How did it end up for sale over here? Who was the first owner, and what car did he/she own? This is one of my favourite items of motoring memorabilia, it even has that old musty smell that you only get with old books.

Further reading.

Auction examples.

A small number of surviving copies of the original Michelin Guide 1900 have sold at auction in recent years, and I've included links to their sale details below. The later commemorative versions are widely on sale for around ten pounds. If I find any guides coming up for sale or auction, I'll include links here.

Guide for sale.

Is this 1900 Michelin Guide for sale? Possibly, bearing in mind the recent sale prices listed above. Serious enquiries only please.
More items relating to motoring in the olden days may be found in the Motoring Collectables section, including a Michelin Motor Tour guide from the 1920s.

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