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 The sliding windows had now been replaced by windows hinged at the door-top to fold down into the interior of the car and into the doors themselves.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

Read Full Post »


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

Read Full Post »


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

Read Full Post »


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 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Read Full Post »


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

Read Full Post »

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

Enhanced by Zemanta

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »


This Renault 4CV based microcar was presented at the Paris Salon in 1950. It was a three-seater convertible. The single backseat was turned 90 degrees and the passenger had to look at the roof.

Henri Labourdette was a prestigious coach builder and his trademark ‘Vutotal’ was a stylistic concept that he also applied to Rolls Royce. Vutotal stood for aerodynamic elegant lines, less prominent (head)lights and a patented total view (‘Vutotal’) around. His convertibles did not have any side or top frame. The windows were completely panoramic or attached with thin glue layers.

Text and image found on mrscharroo’s photostream on Flickr

Enhanced by Zemanta

Read Full Post »


The Alpine A110, also known as the "Berlinette", was a sports car produced by the French manufacturer Alpine from 1961 to 1977. The A110 was powered by various Renault engines.

The A110 achieved most of its fame in the early 1970s as a victorious rally car. After winning several rallies in France in the late 1960s with iron-cast R8 Gordini engines the car was fitted with the aluminium-block Renault 16 TS engine. With two dual-chamber Weber 45 carburetors the TS engine delivered 125 hp (93 kW) DIN at 6000 rpm. This allowed the production 1600S to reach a top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph).

11749134_rab1 11749134_rab3
Enhanced by Zemanta

Read Full Post »


Left since 1934, the name Citroën has been indissolubly linked to the concept of front wheel drive and yet in 1936 the company proposed a rear wheel drive, rear engined MPV.

No prototypes have survived although there is some publicity material which shows a streamlined vehicle with a Kamm tail and with headlamps concealed behind a grill.

What is not clear is why a rear engined vehicle needed a grill unless it was purely for styling purposes. The 22 CV’s V8 would have been the powerplant.

Again, it is not clear why this vehicle was never manufactured – perhaps it was felt that the Familiale versions of the Traction met the needs of large families or perhaps the world wasn’t ready for an MPV.

Image and text from “citroenet

Read Full Post »

Citroen DS


The nickname for these particular models of Citroen in Norway is toad (padde) – Ted 😉

Read Full Post »


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.

117059_rolux2 117059_rolux3 117059_rolux4

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, the free encyclopedia

Read Full Post »


The Matra Rancho was a leisure activity vehicle created by the French engineering group Matra in cooperation with the automaker Simca to capitalize on the off-road trend, started by the Range Rover, by providing the "off-road look" at a lower price.

The Rancho was launched in 1977 and became a popular model, but this did not alleviate more wider problems at Chrysler Europe (Simca’s parent company). Chrysler finally sold its European arm to PSA in 1978, following which it was rebranded as Talbot in 1979. The Matra-Simca Rancho now became the Talbot Matra Rancho and production continued until 1984 (although it remained on sale up to January 1985), reaching 57,792 cars in total.

Designed by Antonis Volanis, the Rancho was based on the pick-up version of Simca’s popular supermini, the Simca 1100, using its front structure and a stretched chassis. The rest of the body was made by Matra from fibreglass and polyester, including the mouldings adorning the body, which made it look more "sturdy". This technology would later be used on the Renault Espace, Europe’s first MPV, which was manufactured by Matra. The ground clearance was also increased. Unlike most off-roaders, it was not fitted with all-wheel drive, retaining the 1100s front-wheel drive layout. Other elements retained from the 1100 included the dashboard and front seats (identical with the ones found in the Simca 1100 GLS). The Rancho was powered by the 1442 cc, 80 bhp version of the Simca Type 315 straight-4 engine.


During its life, the Rancho was offered in several versions. Apart from the basic Rancho, there was the Grand Raid, fitted with such "off-road" extras as an electric winch on the front bumper and the spare wheel mounted on the roof – as well as a limited-slip differential. The Rancho X was the upscale model, with additional standard items such as alloy wheels and metallic paint. The Découvrable model’s rear cabin consisted of an open frame with roll-down fabric covers, which could serve as an "open" car during good weather. Finally, the Rancho AS was the commercial version, with no rear seat, making it exempt from the French tax on passenger cars.

The Rancho spawned an unlikely successor: the Renault Espace. Matra wanted to replace the Rancho with their prototype of the Espace known as the “dessin orange”, which translates to “the orange drawing” in English – both the prototype and the background it was drawn on were orange. It predicted the basic shape of the first Espace but only had three doors instead of five. Peugeot (who controlled Matra at the time) deemed the project too expensive and not promising enough. Determined to take its design to production Matra knocked on Renault’s door and they quickly adopted the project, one that upon its launch in 1984 arguably became the first European minivan.

Text from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Read Full Post »

renault goelette_038 

military-looking van launched in 1945, the 1000 kg was a symbol of post-war renewal for many French people. By helping small businesses and tradespeople regain their markets, it made an active contribution to the reconstruction of post-war France.

Contributing to reconstruction
France started rebuilding in 1944. As part of the Pons plan, the provisional government sought to identify needs and to distribute the workload between French manufacturers. Among the firms selected was Renault, recently nationalized for acts of collaboration during the war.

The Billancourt site was tasked with developing a solid, inexpensive and functional commercial vehicle. The aim was to supply French tradespeople with a workhorse-on-wheels for their day-to-day business.

renault goelette_007

A huge popular success
Following its nationalization in January 1945, Renault was one of the companies selected for the “1,000/1,400 kg” van program. The vehicle had to be robust and to use proven technologies. So rather than follow the example of Citroën whose Type H was launching a front-wheel drive system, Renault opted for the sideways engine launched ten years earlier on the Primaquatre. The body had a wooden frame (dropped in 1950), while the radiator grille featured the horizontal bars found across the Renault range of light commercial vehicles.

A familiar shape
With its large wheels and short wheelbase for easy maneuvering, it became a familiar sight in the French countryside, delivering bread or driving round local markets. Renamed the Goelette, it was released in a wide range of versions, including an amazing 4WD model that proved highly popular with customers keen to strike off the beaten path. With 124,570 units produced between 1945 and 1965, the 1,000 kg was a huge popular success. At the end of its career, it stepped aside for the Estafette, launched in 1958.

Text from Passion & Sport on Renault.com


A Renault Goelettes Picasa gallery :Renault-1000kg



Enhanced by Zemanta

Read Full Post »


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Right-hand drive models were built in Slough, England. The Slough version of the 11L was called the Light Fifteen and the long wheelbase 11 was called the Big Fifteen. This confusing terminology referred to the British fiscal tax rating of the time, which was higher than the French, so the 11CV engine was 15HP in England. The 15CV model was called "Big Six" in reference to its 6-cylinder engine. They were equipped with the leather seats and wooden dashboards popular in the UK, had a 12-volt electrical system and were distinguished by a different radiator grille and different bumpers. Some models also had a sliding sunroof.

A 1,911 cc (116.6 cu in) Light Fifteen tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1951 had a top speed of 72.6 mph (116.8 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 29.7 seconds. A fuel consumption of 25.2 miles per imperial gallon (11.2 L/100 km; 21.0 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £812 including taxes.[2]

A 2,866 cc (174.9 cu in) six-cylinder model was tested by the same magazine in 1954 and for this car the top speed found was 81.1 mph (130.5 km/h), acceleration from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) 21.2 seconds and fuel consumption 18.6 miles per imperial gallon (15.2 L/100 km; 15.5 mpg-US). The test car cost £1349 including taxes

Read Full Post »


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Citroën 2CV (French: “deux chevaux” i.e. “deux chevaux vapeur”, literally “two tax horsepower”) was an economy car produced by the French automaker
Citroën between 1948 and 1990. It was technologically advanced and innovative, but with uncompromisingly utilitarian unconventional looks, and deceptively simple Bauhaus inspired bodywork, that belied the sheer quality of its underlying engineering. It was designed to move the French peasantry on from horses and carts. It is considered one of Citroën’s most iconic cars. In 1953 Autocar in a technical review of the car wrote of "the extraordinary ingenuity of this design, which is undoubtedly the most original since the Model T Ford". It was described by CAR magazine journalist and author LJK Setright as "the most intelligent application of minimalism ever to succeed as a car". It was designed for low cost, simplicity of use, versatility, reliability, and off-road driving. For this it had a light, easily serviceable engine, extremely soft long travel suspension (with adjustable ride height), high ground clearance, and for oversized loads a car-wide canvas sunroof (which until 1960 also covered the boot).

During a production run of 42 years between 1948 and 1990, 3,872,583 2CVs were produced, plus 1,246,306 Fourgonnettes (small 2CV delivery vans), as well as spawning mechanically identical vehicles including the Ami – 1,840,396; the Dyane – 1,444,583; the Acadiane – 253,393; and the Mehari – 144,953, a grand total of 8,756,688.

From 1988 onwards, production took place in Portugal rather than in France. This arrangement lasted for two years until 2CV production halted. Portuguese built cars, especially those from when production was winding down, have a reputation in the UK for being much less well made and more prone to corrosion than those made in France. Paradoxically the Portuguese plant was more up-to-date than the one in Levallois, and Portuguese 2CV manufacturing was to higher quality standards.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Read Full Post »