Émile Mors was born in 1859 into a family whose father Louis was a pioneering electrical engineer who founded an electrical equipment manufacturing business bearing the family name.
In 1895 Émile founded his own company bearing the family name to make motor cars, an early strap line for the company appears to have been “Mors ianua vitae” is a double entendre “Mors is the gateway to life” or the more sinister “Death is the gateway to life”.
A great believer in competing against the best in 1901 Mors built a 10 litre / 610 cui V4 engine with side valves and dry sump lubrication that at 950 rpm produced 60 hp for the car that Henri Fournier drove 527 km to win both the 1901 Paris Bordeaux trial by half an hour and 1105 km’s Paris to Berlin race which he by over an hour from Panhard et Levassoir drivers on each occasion.
Despite customers that included the Honorable Charles Stewart Rolls (before making the acquaintance of Henry Royce) and William K. Vanderbilt Jr, Émile’s business fell victim to fall out from the failure by F. Augustus Heinze’s United Copper Company to corner the copper market in New York and he had to sell to André Citroën who became chairman of the company in 1908.
André decided to try and revive the companies fortunes by building three cars powered by 100hp 12.5 liter / 775 cui motors with overhead push rod actuated valves and minimal brakes for the 1908 French Grand Prix.
As often is the case more haste meant less speed and one of the under powered cars failed to start while the other two finished 17th and 16th almost 90 mins behind the winning Mercedes driven by Christian Lautenschlager.
I believe the example seen here at Goodwood last year owned by The Revs Institute was the one driven to the 16th place finish by the bearded Belgian Camille “Le Diable Rouge” Jenatzy ahead of his team mate known only as Landon, on what proved to be Mors final Grand Prix appearance, by 1925 André dropped the Mors name entirely in favour of his own.
Thanks for joining me on this “Mors Ianua Vitae” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a spot of Banger racing. Don’t forget to came back now !