1921 - 1940

Amilcar

Amilcar Key Features

  • Type of car:  Automotive manufacturer
  • Body type:  Sports cars, racing cars
  • Country of origin:  France
  • Built in:  France

Information about Amilcar

In the annals of automotive history, Amilcar stands as a testament to innovation and adaptability. Established in Paris in July 1921 by Joseph Lamy and Emile Akar, Amilcar’s name was an imperfect anagram of its founders’ names. The enterprise originally operated out of a modest facility but eventually moved to Saint-Denis to accommodate its growth.

The first vehicle from Amilcar was a small cyclecar, a creation stimulated by a French government initiative to reduce annual car tax for lightweight vehicles. Designed by Jules Salomon and Edmond Moyet, the original Amilcar bore a striking resemblance to the pre-war Le Zèbre and was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in October 1921. The brand quickly became a prominent beneficiary of the cyclecar boom.

In 1922, the 4-cylinder 903cc Amilcar CC was introduced, boasting a compact wheelbase of just 2,320 mm. Several variants followed, including the sportier Amilcar CS and the iconic CGS “Grand Sport.” These models were even produced under license in Germany, Austria, and Italy. Notably, Amilcar also made a mark in the racing world with supercharged, double-overhead camshaft 1100cc six-cylinder cars, driven by famed racer André Morel.

However, the late 1920s and early 1930s were a period of financial upheaval for the company. A series of expansions into markets beyond small economical cars yielded mixed results. A significant share of the company was eventually acquired by “Sofia,” a financial company. Despite these challenges, Amilcar persisted in releasing new models. One such was the light touring car, the M-Type, which debuted in 1928 and was succeeded by the M2, M3, and M4 versions. However, the most significant new introduction was perhaps the Amilcar Pégase in 1934, featuring a 4-cylinder ohv 2150 cc engine supplied by Delahaye.

The subsequent years saw a series of changes in company control. A significant stake in Amilcar’s holding company “Sofia” was taken by Hotchkiss, which led to a merger of the two automotive businesses. This collaboration resulted in the technically advanced Amilcar Compound. Launched in 1937, the front-wheel-drive Compound was revolutionary for its time, with a monocoque frame made of a light alloy and independent suspension on all sides.

Unfortunately, the outbreak of World War II severely disrupted the automotive industry, effectively ending civilian automobile production in the Paris region. Post-war, production of the Amilcar was not resumed.

Today, Amilcar remains a symbol of a bygone era, a brand that captured the spirit of its time but was ultimately swept away by the currents of history and economic turmoil. Yet, its legacy of innovation and resilience continues to fascinate automotive enthusiasts and historians alike.

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