It isn't every day that I discover a different old car that I have never heard of before, but that was the case this week. And as far as discoveries go, this was a wonderful one. While I didn't get to see it in person, I was very happy and rather intrigued when I received several photos the other day. It was of a lovely blue roadster in Paris. I certainly couldn't guess what make it was, but luckily I could read a name on the back: Brissonneau.
Another name on the front of the car was visible, but the fancy script made it impossible for me to read. I tapped 'Buissonneau' and 'roadster' into Google, and was able to discover a whole new automotive manufacturer that I have never before heard of: Brissonneau et Lotz!
'Buissonneau et Lotz' was a train and subway car manufacturer that has origins all the way back to 1878 (that's not a typo!), and ceased to exist almost 100 years later, in 1972 , when it was split up and sold to other businesses. It would seem that this company was quite well known for the train business, but their single foray into the automotive world has nearly been forgotten.
This small roadster first appeared in 1956, and lasted until 1959. Only 250 copies of the plastic convertible, called Louis Rosier (after the race car driver of the same name who helped design the car) were produced. It was based on the utilitarian Renault 4CV, and as a result didn't have the power or handling to match the sporty looks.
Still, those that are aware of this car love it, and only a handful of drivable examples exist today: one website suggests that only around 20 restore-able models exist today, and that possibly only 2 are currently restored! Apparently the slippery handling (the Louis Rosier apparently earned the unfortunate nickname of 'real bar of soap' due to its weak grip and unimpressive road-holding abilities!) kept it from ever really catching on and entering the history books, but I'll take a learning experience when I can, especially when it's this attractive!
I would love to hear from anyone who has seen one of these before, or knows anything about this fantastic bit of nearly-forgotten automotive history!