French motorcycles

French motorcycles

Then we think of a light motorcycle with a man with an alpinopet and a baguette. That is not entirely justified. Because between 1900 and 1950, the French motorcycle industry was quite something. French motorcycles even exported to…. Japan.

And then we talk about brands that have often disappeared in the mists of time. Although: some brand names have stuck. Alycon, Austral, Jonghi, Werner, Clément, Griffon, Peugeot, Terrot, Monet & Goyon, Gnôme & Rhône, Dresch and Dollar. And indeed most of the French motorcycle production was aimed at manufacturing motorized transport for the masses: light, simple motorcycles.

But brands like Gnôme & Rhône and René Gillet made heavy and expensive twins. Those were and are the toppers among the French motorcycles, but technically very beautiful 500 cc machines were also made.

A disaster year

1959 Was globally the most difficult year for motorcycle manufacturers because the bourgeoisie had enough money to buy a car. And even the fact that the brand name abbreviation "becane" was the common designation for all motorcycle brands (as all motorcycles in Indonesia are called "Hondas") did not save him. Of the very rich French motorcycle range, only Motobécane and Peugeot remained.

The last revival

An absolute highlight was, in 1973, the three-cylinder 350 cc two-stroke Motobécane (later even reportedly 12 units with fuel injection). 1973 cc machines were made between 1976-779 350. They should have competed with the Kawasaki three-cylinder. A few must also be made of the 500 cc version. Who knows may say.

Totally worthless

In the eighties and nineties of the last century, those French motorcycles were worthless on the spot. They were enthusiastically bought up by the Dutch in truckloads and mainly placed here ... In the meantime, their retreat has been going on for years. The French come here to retrieve their heritage.

Some convulsions

Some half-hearted attempts were made - for the government - to use heavy-duty engines with car blocks (Citroën GS), but that four-cylinder BFG was not. The MF with his Visablok was not. The machines are seen as exotics rather than real classics. And in the meantime, French gendarmes just drive BMWs again. The phenomenal Voxans also had only a short, but hectic production time, and meanwhile heathen classics are coming.




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The MF with his Visablok was not

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Now on newsstands

View the nearly forty-page preview at this link or a click on the cover.

The December issue, containing:

  • Alfa Romeo Giulia 1300 Super
    Erik van Putten explores the timeless charm of the Alfa Romeo Giulia 1300 Super, with images of Bart Spijker and himself. The story delves into the world of Alfaenthusiast Koen de Groot, whose family is deeply rooted in the Alfa Romeo culture. Koens' special relationship with his Giulia, a car he has cherished for years and which will soon receive an impressive upgrade, is highlighted. The Giulia symbolizes car love and heritage, a passion enriched by Koen's father Frans, a Alfa Romeo expert and enthusiast.
  • Double Used Type Designations
    Peter Ecury unravels fascinating stories from the automotive world in the 32nd episode of his series on double-used type designations. This edition provides an update on the rumors surrounding Peugeot and Porsche and delves into the history of the type designation '142', used by brands such as Volvo and Austin. Ecury also discusses the evolution of the term 'GT' and the controversial use of the letters 'SS' in car names after WWII, with examples such as the Chevrolet Impala SS and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS.
  • Ducati 750GT, 860GT and 900GTS
    Hans Smid highlights the Ducati round carts, produced from 1972 to 1974, which combine minimalist beauty with unique technology. This article describes Ducati's drive for innovation and the creation of these models, highlights the challenges and costs of collecting them, and shows Ducati's journey from near ruin to iconic status.
  • Horex Imperator
    Marina Block tells the story of the Horex Imperator, an iconic motorcycle from the 50s, known for its sportiness and advanced technology. Despite the closure of the factories, Horex remained known, partly due to the cartoon character Werner and recent reissues. The Imperator, with its innovative parallel twin and overhead camshaft, inspired later designs and has been praised for its quality and design, despite limited sales success.
  • ClassicPost
    Readers of Auto Motor Klassiek share their discoveries and experiences. Eddy Joustra discovers a Peugeot 203 pickup in Heerenveen, while Robert Reessink photographs a unique Moto Guzzi moped in Italy. Stories range from Chris van Haarlem's Scottish scooter adventures to Bram Drooger's discovery of a Rolls-Royce Corniche and two FIAT 850s. Ben de Man finds a special Chevrolet Step-Van in the Netherlands, and readers share corrections and additions to previously published articles.
  • Nissan Silvia 1.8 Turbo
    Aart van der Haagen reveals the history of a rare Nissan Silvia 1.8 Turbo, originally registered as a commercial vehicle. The first owner transformed the car into a family-friendly vehicle, and Jan Manenschijn now cherishes this unrestored gem with only 67.000 kilometers on the odometer.
  • Peugeot 205 collection Team VCC Twente
    Aart van der Haagen highlights Team VCC Twente's collecting passion for Peugeot 205 models. Brothers Peter and Niek Olde Veldhuis collected unique examples such as the GTI and CTI, and even a rare 1.9 GTI Dimma. Their collection shows the transformation of a once ordinary model into a special classic.
  • Volvo and Classic Cars
    Alain Pondman from Volvo Lotte speaks about the true value of classic cars. He criticizes the trend of cheap, poorly maintained classics on Marktplaats, emphasizes the importance of making memories with vintage cars, and advises buyers to invest in quality and durability.
  • Volkswagen Beetle 1955 - Second life
    Max de Krijger tells the story of Hendrik Jan Hofman, a passionate Kever restorer. Hofman brought a badly damaged 1955 Beetle back to life with a dedication to perfection and detail. This green Beetle, complete with handmade high chair and open roof, reflects his craftsmanship. Hofman is now considering selling the Beetle to focus on a new project.
  • ClassicPost
    In the KlassiekerPost section of Auto Motor Klassiek enthusiastic readers share their unique finds and personal experiences. Eddy Joustra comes across a rare Peugeot 203 pickup in Heerenveen. Robert Reessink captures a unique Moto Guzzi moped on camera in Italy. Chris van Haarlem shares his Scottish scooter adventures, including an unexpected encounter with an Austin A30 on the Isle of Skye. Bram Drooger spots an elegant Rolls-Royce Corniche and two FIAT 850s. Ben de Man discovers a special Chevrolet Step-Van in the Netherlands. This section illustrates the diversity and deep-rooted passion of classic car and motorcycle enthusiasts, with stories ranging from local discoveries to international treasures. In addition, readers provide valuable corrections and additions to previously published articles, such as PBTM Matthijssen's input on the Ardie/Dürkopp Dianette, which contributes to the rich and versatile content of the magazine.
  • Once again almost twenty pages of short messages about everything that has to do with classics
  • And of course our section 'Classics' where you can shop around in search of your next classic.

The perfect reading material for an evening or more of undisturbed dreaming. It is now in stores. A subscription is of course better, because then you will no longer miss a number and you are also much cheaper. Not bad in these expensive times.



Toyota Starlet

Reliable on the way to classic status. Toyota Starlet 1.3i Sport