The French Rothschilds were as quick as their English cousins to take to the road.
Records of the family's pre-war motoring are preserved in The Rothschild Archives. Invoices and letterheads show that Edouard de Rothschild (1868-1949) and other members of the family purchased French marques such as Kellners Panhard-Levassors and Delaunays, as well as owning Rolls-Royces and Mercedes. Edouard was no less adventurous than Lionel; papers in the Archive relate to charges for speeding brought against him by Neuilly-sur-Seine police in 1904 and again in 1906. The accounts for Henri de Rothschild (1872-1947) show that he spent over 10,000 francs a month on motoring, over £22,000 today.
Henri de Rothschild (1872-1947) had a particular association with the car manufacturer Société anonyme des automobiles UNIC, and in 1904 provided the finance necessary for UNIC’s founder Georges Richard to set up his factory in the western suburbs of Paris. At the turn of the century many London taxis were UNICs, and they later had a more sinister role in transporting troops to the front line in the First World War. Henri, later to study medicine, is credited with providing the design for a UNIC ambulance during the First World War.