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Amilcar experts - your help is needed!

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#1 fines

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 16:42

In 1929, Jules Moriceau brought an Amilcar to the United States, to compete at Indianapolis. The car was a slightly enlarged MC0, although sources differ as to the actual displacement, but it is on record as the smallest car ever to compete and qualify at Indy. Anyway, what I'm really after is the car's subsequent history. It was apparently owned by the Thompson Products Co. of Cleveland (OH), who are said to have fitted the engine with pistons and valves of their own construction, that however may well have been PR talk only.

An article in the Chronicle-Telegram of Elyria (OH), dated Sep 16 in 1929, refers to "various dirt track races throughout the country", in which the car is said to have competed. However, I can make out only one definite appearance, with Russ Snowberger driving at the New York State Fair in Syracuse (Aug 31), and there the car failed to qualify fast enough to make the starting field! It was entered, too, at the North Randall one-mile dirt track in Cleveland (OH) on Sep 22, to be driven by "Frenchman" Cliff Bergere, but I haven't found any evidence of it actually competing. This event, the article goes on to state, was going to be the farewell race, as "the machine will be shipped back to France to compete in races over French tracks after the Cleveland event."

I am especially intrigued about the possibilty of Snowberger racing the car at Detroit on June 9 already, since he finished 4th in that race! Phil Harms credits this appearance to the Cooper Snowberger had been driving at Indy, but I am sceptical that such a good result could have been achieved with a front-drive - amongst those beaten that day were Wilbur Shaw, Billy Arnold and Chet Gardner, all in rear-drives, of course! Snowberger did, however, also drive a Fronty that year, and indications are that he used #12 on all three cars! :(

Bergere, on the other hand, I have only competing with his front-drive Miller at Indy and on board tracks, and no dirt track appearances at all except for the Amilcar entry. Of course, the car could also have been driven by any other driver, even including Moriceau, although that appears highly unlikely. I would further venture to guess that Moriceau probably stayed with the car, and that it remained the property of the Société Nouvelle all the time.

So, any of the Amilcar experts out there having some "inside knowledge" here? :) Every titbit of info is welcome, be it technical info, chassis number or competition history of the car, but especially welcome is info about race entries or appearances, or any other happenings in the USofA during the summer of 1929. Oh, and if somebody can identify the "relief driver" posing at the wheel in some pics taken at Indy's Gasoline Alley (as shown in Indianapolis 500-Mile Race History, p198, or MoToR July 1929, p108), please let it be known! :cat:



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Posted 20 August 2008 - 17:22

Not really a good reply to your first post, but the only Amilcar I ever saw was at an obscure museum in Geneva a couple of times (since I tend to go back). That museum is well worth the visit for the people in here... :up:

#3 f1steveuk

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 17:54

Gary C visited me last year, and we popped along to Monpazier, where we saw hundreds of the things! I believe Gary is still intouch with the president of the Amilcar club, maybe they have some info'?

#4 robert dick

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 18:20

According to Gilles Fournier's book "Amilcar":

Moriceau drove the Amilcar "MCO 1500", bore/stroke = 57/83 mm resulting in 1270 cc. The car was prepared by mechanic Louis Roberjot.
Nothing concerning additional races in the USofA.
By the end of 1929 the car was sold to Clément-Auguste Martin (in addition to six other factory Amilcars).

#5 fbarrett

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 00:44


Hmmm. Dean Butler, who now lives in England, was from Ohio, wasn't he? He brought an Amilcar on the Colorado Grand a few years ago. I wonder if he knows anything of this car?


#6 robert dick

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 07:43

According to Fournier, Amilcar built between 9 and 12 factory sixes (exact number not clear).
In any case, the last two factory sixes were the "MCO"s, one of them with 1100cc, the other one rebored and restroked to 1270cc for the 1500cc class.
This "MCO 1500" is the 1929 Indianapolis car.
First race: course de côte (hillclimb) de la Baraque near Clermont-Ferrand, with Morel, in July 1928;
then hillclimb near Troyes;
and on 28 August 1928 records at Arpajon, flying kilometer at 210,770 km/h, standing kilometer at 133,729 km/h.

Clément-Auguste Martin was Amilcar agent (since 1922) at La Garenne (Paris suburb).


#7 fines

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 15:24

Thanks for the help, guys! :up:

Too bad Fournier hasn't anything on this, I was "banking" on him! :D I flicked through the book on Horton's stand last year, and was VERY impressed and VERY tempted to buy it despite the hefty price tag, and despite it not really fitting my bill at the time.

#8 JB Miltonian

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 23:33

The article on Amilcar in Automobile Quarterly, Volume 13 Number 1 (1975), has a staged picture of the #35 car and driver at Indianapolis in 1929. The original label says it's an "Amilcar C-6, 6 cyl, 1094cc, supercharged".

In the text of the article, it says Jules Moriceau entered the Thompson Products-sponsored 1262cc 6-cyl car at Indianapolis in 1929, and the car retired after hitting the wall four times after the steering gear broke.