1955 - 1959

VELAM 

Information about VELAM 

VELAM, an abbreviation for Véhicule Léger à Moteur, was a noteworthy French car brand that made its mark in the automotive world by manufacturing the VELAM Isetta under license from the Italian company Iso. This venture into the world of microcars began in 1954 when VELAM acquired the license during the Turin Auto Show, although the production didn’t start until 18 months later in France.

The VELAM Isetta, known affectionately as the ‘yogurt pot’ due to its distinctive, round, and compact shape, diverged in design from its Italian counterpart by featuring a push-button door and a speedometer in the center of the steering wheel. VELAM started its production in the old Talbot factory at Suresnes, France, and launched it with significant publicity at the Paris car show in 1955. Despite initial enthusiasm, which saw production peak at 20 to 22 vehicles per day, VELAM struggled to maintain its momentum.

By 1957, VELAM introduced a luxury version called the Écrin and even set records at the Linas-Montlhéry autodrome, but it was not enough to sustain the interest of consumers. The microcar faced stiff competition from more robust and economical models like the Renault Dauphine and Citroën 2CV. Sales dwindled rapidly from 4,886 vehicles in 1956 to just 1,005 in 1957, leading to the halt of production in 1958.

Ultimately, VELAM’s journey in the automotive industry was brief yet impactful, highlighting a period in French manufacturing where innovation met the harsh realities of market competition and consumer preferences. The VELAM Isetta remains a memorable chapter in the history of French microcars.

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