The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum

15-16 February 2013

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Lot 284

1956 Paul Vallée

  • ID No. 1203

Sold for $98,900


Fully restored, with a striking teardrop design by the founder of the Ecurie France racing team.



SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: S.I.C.R.A.F.

Origin: Blois, France

Production: 200

Motor: Ydral 1-cyl., 2-stroke

Displacement: 125 cc

Power: 5 hp

Length: 10 ft. 1 in.

Identification No. 1203



Paul Vallée was a wealthy industrialist with a complex and interesting personality. He could anticipate novel ideas before others, yet he did not carry them through in practical terms. He ran a successful transport business, married into wealth, and opened a mechanical shop called S.I.C.R.A.F. (Société Industrielle de Constructions et de Réparation des Automobiles Francaises). He founded and ran a successful Grand Prix team, the Écurie France, which fielded the magnificent Talbot-Lago T26 racing cars driven by legendary drivers like Louis Chiron. However, he regarded the Grand Prix team not as an end in itself, but as a way of promoting his other businesses, scooters included.



Vallée had anticipated the widespread need for a scooter during the post-war recovery period very early on, but it was overtaken by Vespa and Lambretta, who took the idea a great deal further. The Paul Vallée scooter won enthusiastic praise for its superb finish and its highly original large-diameter telescopic front fork. It was premature praise though, as the scooter proved somewhat unstable on the road. The problem was eliminated by replacing the fork with a two-wheeled load platform, and the iconic Paul Vallée Triporteur was built in the large quantity of about 5,000 examples; it was seemingly seen scuttling about in every village in France.



Vallée’s disbanded racing team’s heritage resurfaced at the Paris Salon of 1952, where he displayed a small, very streamlined monoposto “racer” with a Brooklands-style windscreen. The chassis and motor were none other than the Triporteur 175, clothed in a sensational steel body by Paul Née. Performance approaching 100 km/h was promised. Also on the stand were studies for a two-seater version with a bench seat and full-width windscreen, which would serve to lay the groundwork for the next project.



This appeared at the Paris Salon of 1955 in the form of the Paul Vallée Chantecler, a three-wheeler with a streamlined teardrop fiberglass body tapering to a pointed tail. The bench seat was wide and comfortable, the low sides and D-shaped steering wheel offering easy entrance. The windshield was of very solid construction with sturdy posts, which supported a convertible top and side screens. Conventional folding top bows were eschewed in favour of a highly original T-shaped single fiberglass bow, which retracted into the body. Flat spring-steel bumpers in the front and rear were a useful addition to what was intended as an urban runabout. One sometimes sees reference to the Triporteur’s frame being used for the Chantecler, but the museum example refutes this, being as it was built with a conventional square-tube ladder frame with angled swing arms and Niemann rubber rings for suspension. It has been fully and professionally restored, and it is beautifully presented.



Curiously, an almost identical car also appeared at the 1955 show, called the PB, for Pierre Brissonet, but it was not seen again. Ydral motors of 125 cubic centimeters (no license required) and 175 cubic centimeters (conventional license) were to choice. The car also featured the rare Westinghouse “Gyrostarter,” an inertial starter system similar to that used on helicopters. A lever in the cockpit is raised and held up for at least 10 seconds while the starter spins up to speed with a whining sound rising in pitch. The lever is dropped, imparting the flywheel’s energy to the motor via a clutch. It makes for an interesting public display.



Chantecler is a rooster’s name in a popular fable of the time that involved animal characters. It refers back to Écurie France, which used a rooster emblem, and it was also on the badge of the 1952 “racer.” The scooter’s relative failure in the marketplace was far from a devastating loss to Mr. Vallée. He simply shrugged and moved on, buying into ownership of a large Rolls-Royce and Ferrari dealership.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more