Posts Tagged ‘French cars’


Maurice A. Julien was a very well qualified engineer, known particularly for his work on the development studies of the Citroën Traction Avant, which made its debut in 1934. He retired to Toulouse at the beginning of the war, but during the Occupation, materials, especially gasoline, were very severely restricted, and Julien designed and built pedal cars as did Georges Mochet with his Velocars. In comparison, however, Julien’s Neocar was stylish and sleek, with its long hood, sweeping fender lines, and double kidney grille. It was mechanically more sophisticated than the average pedal car, as the front wheels were driven by cardan shafts, it employed a limited slip differential, and it used a derailleur, which permitted one or two people to pedal at different rates. Due consideration was given to the control of vibration. The last months of the Occupation saw second generation motorized versions in circulation. Finally, in 1944, the engineer had ready a much more sophisticated car, a coupe, which was close to the one that would debut at the 1946 Salon.

The two Julien cars that appeared at the Paris Salon of 1946 were set apart from the many other small vehicles on offer by the name of their distinguished creator. The Type VUP, which was recognizable by its open rear wheels and full-width axle, was powered by a flat-twin motor. The similar MM5 had narrow, enclosed rear wheels and was powered by a single-cylinder motor. Both cars were fitted with sliding windows. The VUP would not see production. The following year was taken up with dealings with government bureaucracy to receive permission to develop the MM5 as a production car. Detail improvements were attended to, resulting in better ventilation and braking and a slightly enlarged motor—a result of vigorous road testing.


The car that made its appearance at the Paris Salon of 1947 was a beautifully proportioned cabriolet with sensuous curved body lines and attractively rounded fenders, which flowed together at the front, underneath an exquisitely-shaped pointed hood. One could immediately see the heritage of the Traction Avant in the strong central-welded bulkhead structure-cum-windshield frame curving up from the sills. The front hood was hinged from this structure below the windshield, and the entire rear engine cover hinged upwards from behind the seat, allowing unhindered access to the motor and drivetrain. The sliding windows had now been replaced by windows hinged at the door-top to fold down into the interior of the car and into the doors themselves.


Julien reorganized his company as la Société des Automobiles M.A. Julien, now based in Paris, had re-entered the microcar market with a more modern design. The Julien MM7 shown at the 1949 Paris Show appeared to be a copy of Rovin’s D3. There were the same pontoon-shaped, interchangeable front and rear fenders. It differed from the Rovin in the semicircular side windows, like those of the Champion 400 Coupe, and in the headlamps built into the front fenders, which the D4 would get in 1954. Despite this revamping, nothing much would come of Julien’s brave final attempt.

Text and images from RMauctions

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The Rolux was a French automobile manufactured from 1938 until 1952.

The product of a Lyon company better known for making the New-Map motorcycle, the light car, also sold as a New Map, had a single-cylinder, air-cooled, two-stroke, 100 cc engine made by Fichtel and Sachs. The engine was mounted behind the driver with chain drive to the back axle. The body was an open two-seater with no doors.


In 1947 production moved to Clermont-Ferrand, and the company was renamed as Société Rolux, and the car became the Rolux VB60 or Baby. In 1950 the engine, now by Ydral, grew to 125 cc and a 175 cc version, the VB61 was also introduced. A proposed closed car was shown in 1946 but never reached production. Car manufacture stopped in 1952 after about 300 were made, but the company, renamed to Société de Construction du Centre and moving to Puy de Dome, continued making motorcycles and some small 3-wheeled vans.


Text from Wikipedia

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These cars were shown at the Paris Motor Show in 1959 and this brochure may have come from that show. Built in France by Vantung Ngo’s Union Industrielle. The red car was built after the auto show. There was some interest as a result of this showing, but financing for production was not secured, so the planned 5000 cars a year never got past one.





Text and images found on one of hugo90’s albums on Flickr

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The Renault 4CV (French: "quatre chevaux" [katʃə.vo]) is an economy car produced by the French manufacturer Renault from August 1947 until July 1961. The first French car to sell over a million units, the 4CV was superseded by the Dauphine.

The 4CV was a four-door sedan of monocoque construction, 3.6 m (11 ft 10 in) in length with front suicide doors and using Renault’s Ventoux engine in a rear-engine, rear-wheel drive layout.


CV is the abbreviation of cheval-vapeur, the French equivalent to "horsepower" as a unit of power. The name 4CV refers to the car’s tax horsepower.

In 1996, Renault presented a concept car — the Renault Fiftie — to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 4CV’s debut. It was a two-door, mid-engine design with styling similar to the 4CV.


Conception and development

The 4CV was originally conceived and designed covertly by Renault engineers during the World War II German occupation of France, when the manufacturer was under strict orders to design and produce only commercial and military vehicles. Between 1941 and 1944 Renault was placed under the Technical Directorship of a francophile engineer called Wilhelm von Urach (de; between 1927 and 1940 employed by Daimler Benz) who took care to notice nothing of the small car project.


A design team led by the company’s Technical Director Fernand Picard, recently returned from Renault’s aero-engine division to the auto business and Charles-Edmond Serre, who had been with Renault for longer than virtually anyone else envisioned a small, economical car suitable for the period of austerity which was expected to follow the war. This was in contrast to Louis Renault himself who in 1940 believed that after the war Renault would need to concentrate on its traditional mid-range cars. Jean-Auguste Riolfo, head of the test department, was made aware of the project from an early stage as were several other heads of department.


In May 1941 Louis Renault himself burst into an office to find Serre and Picard studying a mock-up for the car’s engine. By the end of an uncomfortable ad hoc meeting Renault’s approval for the project, now accorded the code "106E", was provided. However, because the Germans had forbidden work on any new passenger car models, the 4CV development was defined, if at all, as a low priority spin-off from a project to develop a new engine for a post-war return of the company’s 1930s small car, the Juvaquatre: departmental bosses installed by the Germans were definitely not to be trusted in respect of "Project 106E", while von Urach, their overlord, always managed to turn a blind eye to the whole business.

Text from Wikipedia 

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The Bugatti Motor company was first formed in 1909 in Molsheim, France.  Bugatti’s founder;Ettore Bugatti, however had built and designed his first vehicle in 1901.  As an apprentice to the bicycle manufacturer, Prinetti et Stucchi, Bugatti had entered a number of races using the companies De Dion powered 3-wheeler. This inspired Bugatti to build his own 3-wheeler that was powered by a twin engine.  After this vehicle Bugatti then concentrated on 4-wheelers.  With the onset of the second World War Bugatti left Molsheim and moved to a factory in Bordeaux, though the Molsheim factory was recovered after the war but not used.

In 1959 the factory was opened up and it produced the OTI.  As the vehicle was made in the old Bugatti works it featured the famous Bugatti front grille.  A one off, the vehicle was powered by a 125cc engine and featured an aluminium body.

Text found at 3wheelers.com

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581_Marathon Corsair_03

Marathon was a French automobile manufacturer established by a group of engineers under the leadership of a rally enthusiast called Bernard Denis. Prototypes for a lightweight sports coupé were presented at various motor shows starting with the 1951 Frankfurt Motor Show and the cars were produced between 1953 and 1955.

The cars
The cars were derived from a design by Hans Trippel with a silhouette not unlike that of the Porsche 356, and it has been suggested that the manufacturer’s founder, Bernard Denis, dreamed of producing a French Porsche equivalent.

The first car, like several lightweight sports cars appearing in France at this time, was powered by the two-cylinder boxer engine from the Panhard Dyna X (and later the Panhard Dyna Z) which produced at this stage a claimed 42 hp from 850 cc of cylinder capacity. There was a coupé version, branded as the Marathon Corsair, and a roadster, branded as the Marathon Pirate.

581_Marathon Corsair_02

The technical enthusiasts who established the Marathon car business purchased the design from Hans Trippel (1908–2001) who had been released from war-related imprisonment in 1949 and at this point was based in Stuttgart. Trippel had constructed his prototype in 1950: it already featured the stylish fast-back (and possibly Porsche inspired) body work andrear-hinged doors that would define the Marathon Corsair. Trippel’s steel-bodied prototype was propelled by a Zündapp 600 cc engine producing just over 18 hp.

In order to fit the larger Panhard engine, the Marathon team were obliged slightly to adapt the rear of the car, which lost a little of the cleanness of form that had characterised the Trippel prototype. At the front they also had to raise the level of the head-lights in order to conform with French regulations. By the time the car appeared at the Brussels Motor Showin January 1953, these changes had been effected, and the car’s name had been changed from Trippel to Marathon.

581_Marathon Corsair_01

In June 1953 Marathon’s first pre-production prototype was presented to Gilles Guérithault who was managing editor of L’Auto-Journal, and who thereby obtain exclusive details of the car which would debut in production form only in October at the Paris Motor Show. By then arrangements were in place to produce the car at the Societé Industrielle de l’Ouest Parisien (SIOP) factory in the Boulevard de Dixmude on the western side of Paris, previously the manufacturing location for Rosengart automobiles.

The production cars were not steel bodied, but were constructed from a material initially christened at the plant “polyester”, but which is better understood as a series of layers of glass fibre and resin, a lightweight material that would become popular with low volume producers in the UK and elsewhere for “fibreglass” car bodies. The Marathon was something of a pioneer in this respect, and the resulting light body combined with an engine delivering more than twice the power of Trippel’s original prototype gave rise to a level of performance that was, by the standards of the time and category of the car, very lively indeed. The top speed was approximately 150 km/h (93 mph).

Text from Wikipedia

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Reyonnah is a former French automaker. It produced 16 cycle-car style vehicles between 1951 and 1954.

The name
The company was established by a Parisian called Robert Hannoyer. Its name was the ananym of its founder’s name.


The product
The only model was a small four-wheeled vehicle with a relatively wide track at the front and a narrow track at the rear. The vehicle offered space for two, seated one behind the other, following the same basic lay-out as the better known Messerschmitt “Bubble-car”. Weather protection came from a hood which could be partially opened to expose only the driver to the weather (in a style dubbed "a la Milord" by at least one commentator) or fully folded back if the passenger in the back also wished to travel roofless. A single-cylinder engine from AMC or Ydral of 175 cc or 125 cc powered the rear axle via a three speed manual gear box and a chain drive mechanism.


An unusual feature of the front wheels was that when parked their supporting structure could be folded towards the centre of the car so that the parked vehicles had a curiously raised nose but a front track (corresponding in this case with the vehicle’s overall width) of only 750 mm, enabling it to park in a space little wider than a motorbike slot. For travelling, the front wheels had to be folded out, increasing the front track to a more stable 1320 mm.

Hannoyer’s enthusiasm kept his small car alive and appearing at the Paris Motor Show for at least three years from 1950 till 1952 during which the car failed to attract customers in the numbers for which he had hoped. Five days after the salon doors closed in October 1952 he took a special light-weight Reyonnah 175 to the Montlhéry circuit of which he had previously made a study. The vehicle peaked at a speed above 100 km/h (63 mph) and achieved an average speed of 96.67 km/h (59 mph) during a non-stop run of 50 kilometers (31 mi).

Text from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

French model Suzette Clairy takes her boyfriend for a spin in a Reyonnah, a narrow runabout vehicle named after its inventor, Monsieur Hannoyer. The front wheels can be drawn in to enable the car to pass into a tight parking space, or even through a doorway.

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