French GTs

Wasted opportunities

What the country of Bugatti and pioneer of the automobile could offer to the world in the 1950 to this day ?: This is the purpose of this present chapter. Nothing was lacking before the war: Talented engineers, excellent coachbuilders with world-renowned know-how, an extensive road network of good quality, countless prestigious awards and races, investors and customers, legendary brands like Bugatti which was the Ferrari of the interwar. It will be agreed that in terms of luxury and sportsmanship, France was particularly gifted at that time: Delahaye, Delage and Talbot were also known throughout the world as eminent representatives of the kind, gaining a classy aura over the years, now collection auction jewels flrting with insane prices. But war wrecked everything.

In the rebuilding years, from 1945 these hours of glory obviously passed away. All the aforementioned brands disappeared, for lack of modernization, will to buy these, lack of know-how and government policies towards the industry. The field remained wide open for popular manufacturers, Peugeot, Renault and Citroën, honest generalists who have only modest 4-cylinder to propose for possible bases.

This will not prevented some small manufacturers to offer light machines, Abarth-like, like Alpine, of course, but also CG, Panhard, Deustch-Bonnet, Facel-Vega on the GT-luxury side with solid American engines, and more recently Venturi, Matra or Mega. But contrary to Italy, which possessed three major pure GT brands, UK which has two, Germany, one, France has currently no major GT brand to offer, a shame given its past glory. Bugatti should be an exception now, but although it's built in France, it's basically a German sub-brand and product.

The following chapter paints a panorama of the years 1905 to the present day which strives to be as complete as possible. As an illustrator, I have treated only a modest part of this history (lack of reliable sources - see list on the left) but will be completed in a few years. Thank also for all the generous contributions of enthusiasts.

Other cars since 1900s: Alva Sport 1916, Aries Roadster 1924, Arista coupé 1956, AS sport A2S 1926, Atla coupe 1957, Bagatelle sport 1924, Ballot 8c 1921, Barré 3L sport 1930, Barron-Vialle Roadster 1928, Bechereau cyclecar 1924, Bedelia sport cyclecar 1913, Bellanger sport 24CV, Berge sport 11/34CV, Berlier Runabout 40CV, Bignan sport 2L 1922, Blériot Cyclecar 1922, BMC Montlhery 1927, Bucciali TAV8, Danvignes sport 1937, Derby Roadster sport 1934, Dexter 6c, DSPL sport 1912, D’Yrsan sport 1926, EHP 6C 1.8L 1925, Elfe Cyclecar Bol d’or 1920, Elge coupe profile 1925, Fournier-Marcadier coupe 1963, Gar 8C 1930, Georges Irat roadster, Gladiator Runabout 1911, GM 6C 1926, Gobron-Brille Turbo sport 1922, Gordini coupe 1951, Gregoire 16/20CV 1911 - 14/20CV 1913, Grouesy Cyclecar 1923, Hotchkiss 3L sport, AM80S, Hurtu 10/16 sport 1920, Jack Sport cyclecar 1925, JG Janvier Sport 1922, J.P. Wimille coupe 1948, Koechlin 3L runabout sport, Lambert Roadster 1953, Lorraine Dietrich 15CV biplace sport 1925, Mase cyclecar sport profile 1922, Matford Cabriolet 1938, Mathis SB 1.5L, Omega-6 Le mans 1925, Porthos 6C 60CV sport 1910, Rally Cyclecar sport 1.1L 1926, Richard-Brasier 1904, Rolland-Pillain 8C 3L 1922, Rosengart Supertrahuit 1948, Salmson 2300S 1953, SCAP 7cv compresseur, 8C 50hp 1927, Senechal Grand sport 1924, Siscart 12CV course 1909, Sizaire-Naudin 8/9CV 1906, SPAG 1500CC 1927, Tilbury Roadster 1983, Torpille 1916, Tracta: 1,6L sport, 3L coupé 1932, Unic sport 1923, Vaillante Grand defi 1999, Violet-Bogey Cyclecar 1912

Read Also:

Bugatti 57SC Atlantic
Bugatti 57SC Atlantic, a 1930s diva and absolute, priceless icon