Find Your Make

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

The Automotive Chronicles

Monthly newsletter published by McLellan's Automotive History. Dedicated to literature collectors, restorers, museums, publishers, manufacturers and investors who collect and preserve automotive literature
HOME | Articles index | media | use of content | contact us  
June 2005 Issue
 
ARTICLE
 
French Auto Literature
By Robert McLellan
 
Click for larger view

Yes, the French do make cars, although few come to the U.S.A. Europeans, South Americans and the Middle East have been treated to a variety of French makes for over a century. In 1957 Renault produced his first hit in America with the Dauphine. Much more acceptable than the Fregate and 4CV, it took on the Volkswagen Beetle to capture the economy car market and lost. Not that the Dauphine was not a good car. The "Beetle" simply created a "love fest" image that few could understand. Not dissuaded, Renault then created the R8 and Caravelle, followed by the 12 and R16. American Motors began importing popular models such as the LeCar and Fuego and did so until 1986.

 
Click on thumbnail for larger view
 
       
 

A few U.S. importers sold the beautiful Facel/Pininfarina coachbuilt Simca 8 in the early 1950s, but success came when Chrysler Corporation began importing the Aronde in 1958 and later the 1000. But with the arrival of the Plymouth Valiant in 1960, dealerships began phasing out the Simca in fear that it would take sales away from their own small car.

Click on thumbnail for larger view
 
         


Click for larger view
Click for larger view

Citroen surely made an impression on American World War II solders and the uniqueness of the Traction Avant and 2CV made them rather novel cars to import. The DS19 was the first hit in America and owners seemed to love them. Another hit, the DS21, followed, then the masterpiece... the Maserati-engined SM in 1971.



Click for larger view
Click for larger view

With Pininfarina styling, the 1955 Peugeot 403 entered the U.S. in 1948 and sport car magazines began showing race car driver, Phil Hill, in their advertising. The succesful 403 led to the 404 and 405 and additional models took Peugeot all the way to 1991 when the 405 and 505 models ceased to be imported into the U.S.

French engineering and French design both unique and interesting have introduced, with limited success, many other makes including Deulsch-Bonnett (D.B.), Talbot-Lago, Panhard and Facel Vega:

 
 
 
     
     
Click for larger view

And the greatest of all the French cars... Bugatti! Prewar Bugatti history is well known and their greatness well-deserved and well-established. Few are aware, though, of an early postwar attempt to re-establish the company. The 1949-51 Type 101 model was a minor effort, but in the 1990s the Bugatti has once again been resurrected. More recently, backed by Volkswagen (now also the owners of Lamborghini and Bentley), Bugatti has financing that hopefully will bear fruit. Several "pre-production" examples have decked auto show stands only to disappear as new ones are developed. Impressive press kits indicate that VW is serious.

 
Click on thumbnail for larger view
 
         
 
 
The Automotive Chronicles, June 2005
 
 
 
 
 
Spacer
Spacer
 L I T E R A T U R E
I N D E X
Click here
Spacer
separator
Spacer
Spacer
separator
Spacer
separator
Spacer
Spacer
separator
Spacer
Literature for
OVER 600 MAKES
Sales literature