Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Automotive history

I don't know how many books have been written and published about Ferrari cars. I'm quite sure that there are several hundreds of them and the production continues every year...

On the other hand, there are some important automobile manufacturers for which we are still waiting for a complete history: Darracq, Mors, Talbot, Delaunay Belleville, etc.

If you are interested by automobile history stay tuned, things may evolve in a near future...

To stay alert, here are three examples of obscure French cars.

Who remember the Arista? Not the ones built by Raymond Gaillard in the 50s-60s but the ones built in a small workshop located 140 boulevard Pereire in Paris from 1912 to end of December 1913 when the company was declared in bakrupcy.
The founder of the automobiles Arista was Pierre-Aristide Ruffier. In 1912 no less than four different models where proposed: a 6 HP priced 2500 F., a four-cylinder 8 HP for 4000 F., a 10 HP for 5000 F. and a 12 HP.

What about the HL built in Saint Cloud? Voiture automobile légère, the factory... well, the workshop  was located quai du Président Carnot but who was the owner of this small society ? Interesting car with what is looking as front independent suspensions.

The last example is this Bedelia like car built by a certain Henri Dupuy from l'Ile-Bouchard in the department of Indre & Loire.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Ford T.A.G.A.

At the end of World War I, quite a lot of vehicles that came with the American Army were available on the second hand market. There were trucks, motorcycles and many types of cars from large Pierce Arrow or Cadillac to Ford T.

After four and half years of war, the French automobile industry had to reborn from hashes. André Citroën who produced weapons and shells during the war, decided to launch a new small car ; Louis Renault, whose factories mades trucks, tanks, aero engines, etc. resumed car production in 1918.

Albert-Marie Torchet de Gamaches, in 1921
Albert-Marie Torchet de Gamaches, who was a descendant from a noble French family, decided another way and his idea was to refurbish the numerous available second hand Ford T in a workshop located 45 rue Louis Blanc in Courbevoie, a suburb on West of Paris.
His company: the Ateliers A. Torchet de Gamaches built modified or "Frenchified" Ford as stated in the advertisements. These cars were named Ford T.A.G.A.

The modification consisted by installing a new body and a more angular nickeled radiator, by replacing the Ford carburetor with a French Solex, by changing the wheels with Michelin disk wheels.
Several models were available 4-seat tourer, 2-door sedan, taxi, delivery van...

To publicitise his cars, Albert Torchet de Gamaches participated to few sporting events such as the famous course de côte de Gaillon, the hill climb race of Gaillon in October 1st, 1921.
Albert Torchet de Gamaches at the wheel of his T.A.G.A. Ford tourer. Gaillon hill climb race 1 Oct. 1921

Mr Villain with a T.A.G.A. Ford 2-door sedan at the Gaillon hill climb race on 1 Oct. 1921
The price of the T.A.G.A was quite high compare to the regular Ford T, and few were sold.
On 20 January 1922, the company was declared bankrupted.

Albert Torchet de Gamaches then moved to Normandy, in Bagnoles de l'Orne, where he was appointed general manager of the Garage Anglo-French.

2-door sedan "Frenchified" T.A.G.A. Ford 1921

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Les Automobiles Bellanger Frères

Robert and Pierre Bellanger founded the company of the Automobiles Bellanger frères on 21 July 1913. The society was located in Paris at 25 rue Marbeuf, close to the Champs Elysées.
The initial capital was of 1 million francs and less than one year later, on 16 April 1914, the capital was increased to 1.5 million francs.
The cars manufactured before WWI had a Daimler sleeve-valves engine and a Lanchester transmission.

In 1919, after the Great war, the car production resumed and used motors from Briscoe.

The masterpiece was the 50 HP, called the Super-Huit, a model that was produced from 1921 and used a v8 motor built by the factory. This engine was designed by engineer Laviolette, dimensions were 90 x 125 for a total capacity of 6.4 liter.
From 1922, the finance of the company became weak, the factory was rent to Peugeot.and then later-on sold to Lucien Rosengart who installed the production of his small 5 HP car.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Rabag, Lic. E. Bugatti, der Vollblüter

The Bugatti Brescia, was probably one of the best small sport cars of the early twenties. 
The 4 cylinder with 16 valve engine was very powerful and reliable. After the First World War, Bugatti had licence arrangements with Diatto in Italy, Crossley in England and Rabag in Germany.

The Rheinische Automobilbau AG, “Rabag”, was founded with a capital of 13 million marks on 3 December 1920 by the Funke Brothers. The head quarter was in Düsseldorf with a factory located in Mannheim where they built, under licence, Bugatti Type 22 and Type 23.
The Rabag were relatively popular in Germany and often seen in sport events.

In June 1925, the firm merged with AGA (Autogen Gas Akkumulator A.G.) from Berlin-Lichtenberg which produced the Dinos cars. But economic situation of the new society was not good, and in November 1925 it was declared in bankruptcy.

The car in the photograph is registered, IV-6760 in Chemnitz (Kreishauptmannschaft), Sachsen.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Renault Nerva Grand Sport by Kellner

This Renault Nerva Grand Sport has been bodied by Kellner in October 1935. 

The Nerva Grand Sport was the top model of the French manufacturer equipped with a straight eight cylinder engines (85 x 120). 
This car is the chassis ABM 3 #31 from 8 May 1935 that was renumbered  ABM 5 #75 on 13 November 1935. This is only Nerva Grand Sport  that was bodied by Kellner.

Kellner was one of the most famous French coach builders that was founded in 1861 by Georges Kellner. Very quickly it became very famous because of the high quality of its production. His two sons, Paul and Georges entered the society in 1890 that changed its name to "Kellner & Fils".

In 1906, a new factory of 25 000 m3 was erected in Billancourt and about 600 people were working there. During the 10s and the 20s,  that can be considered as the golden age for the coach builders, Kellner was one of the most prestigious.

In 1910, Georges Kellner retired and his the two sons, Paul and Georges, took full control of the society that changed to "Kellner Frères".

Jacques Kellner, the son of Georges, became associate in 1924 and the society change again to "Georges Kellner & fils", Paul sold his shares to his brother in 1919.
Kellner bodied many luxury cars among them one of the six Bugatti type 41 known as the Royale. Many cars from the French presidency were also bodied by Kellner.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sixcyl by Ateliers Bréguet 1907

Few French airplanes constructors tried with more or less success to built automobiles. Gabriel Voisin is the most known. Being one of the first airplane manufacturer, Voisin became one of the main suppliers of the French army during WWI producing hundreds of aircrafts. After the war and because of a saturated market, Voisin stopped to build airplanes and became an important automobile manufacturers during the 20s.

Farman is another example with a quite similar history as Voisin. Starting with the construction of airplanes during WWI, Farman built luxury cars from 1919 to 1932.

It is less known that Bréguet, the famous airplane industrialist started with the construction of automobiles in 1907.
Actually the designer of the car was a certain Chenu who first built cars and aero engines and marketed them under his own name. In 1907, he subcontracted the construction of his cars to the Ateliers Bréguet.
Two models were available : a 30 HP and a 60 HP, both equipped with a 6 cylinder engine.

The name of the car was : Sixcyl and the address of the society was 10 rue Fontaine in Paris.
Chenu had a stand at the Paris motor show in October 1907 where the two models of cars were exhibited.

One 30 HP Sixcyl was planned to participate to the famous New-York to Paris race but certainly for financial reasons, the car never came to New-York.

Very few Sixcyl were built and none survived.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Mercedes Benz 540 K Offener Tourenwagen 1938

This Mercedes 540 K was exhibited at Berlin Motorshow in 1938. It was the second design for the Offener Tourenwagen body type, a very ample open tourer car that had quite a lot of room for five people.
Very rarely seen on a German car is the hood that disappears completely when down. There is a metal cover over the folded-down hood. The bumpers are also not the ones usually seen on the 540 K model. Priced 22 000 RM in 1939, only twelve 540 K Offener tourenwagen were built and quite surprising, among them, one was sold by the Parisian agent to a French customer.