Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
This is a platform for User Generated Content. G/O Media assumes no liability for content posted by Kinja users to this platform.

French Friday: un Quatre, Moteur à mi-voiture?

Illustration for article titled French Friday: un Quatre, Moteur à mi-voitureem/emem/em?

I’m a bit late today so I’ll start with a big bang: SOVAM. La SOciété des Véhicules André Morin. Or “André Morin’s vehicle company”. Started in the early ‘60's as a spin-off for a company producing all kinds of airport handling equipment (which still exists today and you probably walked one of their towable passenger stairs on an airport somewhere). And they started making the VUL, la Véhicule Utilitaire de Livraison. Or small delivery van. Fiberglass. Based on a shortened R4 chassis.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled French Friday: un Quatre, Moteur à mi-voitureem/emem/em?

In 1965 however André added a more sporty car in it’s lineup. The VS, Voiture de Sport, available with several Renault engines. Ranging from 850cc (Renault’s Bilancour engine, 45hp!) to 1100cc (Renault’s Cléon-Fonte engine, 65hp). As the car’s body was made from (the then very popular) fiberglass it’s weight was barely over 550kg so the car reached 170 km/h anyway.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled French Friday: un Quatre, Moteur à mi-voitureem/emem/em?

Later on they would build an even more fast vehicle, the 1300GS. As this one had a 1255 cc (103hp) engine from Gordini I presume the “G” in it’s name was for just that. And unlike the VS, the two-seater which had a Targa-top (introduced 2 years before Porsche would make it a popular body style), the GS was a coupé with extra seats in the back and a five speed Manuèl. Still nimble with it’s 600 kgs. Capable of almost 200 km/h.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled French Friday: un Quatre, Moteur à mi-voitureem/emem/em?

But what it that Moteur à mi-voiture in the title about? Well, it’s mid-engined. In the way that the R4 engine was always mounted behind the front axle. Longitudinal. Driving the front wheels. Hence the long bonnet:

Advertisement

So weight distribution of the SOVAM was okay, just that FWD wouldn’t make it a huge competition to fellow French manufacturers Matra and Alpine. Nor would it’s looks. It’s front reminds me a bit of the Marcos GT, the mid section is totally different. From anything I know.

Illustration for article titled French Friday: un Quatre, Moteur à mi-voitureem/emem/em?
Advertisement

The windshield however could be recognized (?) if you look reeeeaaaaly good: That one came from Renault’s parts bin as well. It’s from a Renault Floride. But... Mounted flipped-wise.

Illustration for article titled French Friday: un Quatre, Moteur à mi-voitureem/emem/em?
Advertisement

Best part to me probably is the rear-end. A bit Lotus Elite-esque, sans the roof that is. Could be for the fact I’m a sucker for round taillights.

Illustration for article titled French Friday: un Quatre, Moteur à mi-voitureem/emem/em?
Advertisement

The VS wasn’t successful, as so many of these small French manufacturers back then weren’t. Only 4 years of production, not even 150 units had been produced. The last year, 1968, it wasn’t even 8 units.

Illustration for article titled French Friday: un Quatre, Moteur à mi-voitureem/emem/em?
Advertisement

There was supposed to be a revival in 1972 with the components of the R16, even a 1600cc engine. But it wasn’t realized. What SOVAM had realized was some competition results. The Paris-Calcutta-Paris raid was entered with an VS850 and it did manage to complete this 18500km race, driven by two women, Maïté Patoux and Chantal Bernard. After the race was completed the car was displayed on the ‘66 Salon de l’auto in Paris.

Illustration for article titled French Friday: un Quatre, Moteur à mi-voitureem/emem/em?
Advertisement

After all the “sportscars” SOVAM did a small try on producing military vehicles but I have yet to see such a SOVAMAG TTS27 for real.

Illustration for article titled French Friday: un Quatre, Moteur à mi-voitureem/emem/em?
Advertisement

The model is a typical “Magazine Model”, to prove this: I even hace the accompanying magazine! In French.

Illustration for article titled French Friday: un Quatre, Moteur à mi-voitureem/emem/em?
Advertisement

The cast itself is made by Universal Hobbies (in 1/43) and it’s fairly simple. Wipers too thick, plast certainly not crisp and fresh but hey: I couldn’t leave such an obsure car behind when I saw it!

Illustration for article titled French Friday: un Quatre, Moteur à mi-voitureem/emem/em?
Advertisement

The reason I’m late is two-way: I had to convert the headlights of the Pao and the neighbor’s cat had died. Just after I took this picture with ‘m. No joke.

Illustration for article titled French Friday: un Quatre, Moteur à mi-voitureem/emem/em?
Advertisement

He didn’t eat the cast, he just was over 17 years old. The little one is totally in tears now so I had to be the comforting dad. So this is it for today, hope you enjoyed another piece of historic obscurity and wish you al...

Illustration for article titled French Friday: un Quatre, Moteur à mi-voitureem/emem/em?
Advertisement

Bon Week-End!

Illustration for article titled French Friday: un Quatre, Moteur à mi-voitureem/emem/em?

Share This Story

Get our newsletter