DELAHAYE Cars Tours France 1895 – 1954


Industry Manufacturing
Founded 1895
Founder Emile Delahaye
Defunct 1954
Headquarters Tours (France)
Products Cars

Delahaye automobile was an automotive manufacturing company founded by Emile Delahaye in 1894, in Tours, France, his home town. His first cars were belt-driven, with single- or twin-cylinder engines mounted at the rear. His Type One was an instant success, and he urgently needed investment capital and a larger manufacturing facility. Both were provided by a new Delahaye owner and fellow racer, George Morane, and his brother-in-law Leon Desmarais, who partnered with Emile in the incorporation of the new automotive company, “Societe Des Automobiles Delahaye”, in 1898. All three worked with the foundry workers to assemble the new machines, but middle-aged Emile was not in good health. In January 1901, he found himself unable to capably continue, and resigned, selling his shares to his two equal partners. Emile Delahaye died soon after, in 1905. Delahaye had hired two instrumental men, Charles Weiffenbach and Amadee Varlet in 1898, to assist the three partners. Both were graduate mechanical engineers, and they remained with Delahaye their entire working careers. Weiffenbach was appointed Manager of Operations, and, with the blessing of both George Morane and Leon Desmarais, assumed control over all of Delahaye’s operations and much of its decision-making, in 1906. Amadee Varlet was the company’s design-engineer, with a number of innovative inventions to his credit, generated between 1905 and 1914, which Delahaye patented. These included the twin-cam multi-valve engine, and the V6 configuration. Varlet continued in this role until he eventually took over the Drawing Office, at 76 years of age, when much younger Jean Francois was hired in 1932 as chief design-engineer. In 1932, Varlet was instructed by Weiffenbach, under direction from majority shareholder Madam Desmarais, Leon Desmarais’ widow, to set up the company’s Racing Department, assisted by Jean Francois. <Club Delahaye archive>. Those who knew him well at the factory affectionately referred to Charles Weiffenbach as “Monsieur Charles”.


1938 Delahaye  135ms cabrio

Delahaye 135 MS Pourtout cabriolet

Delahaye began experimenting with belt-driven cars while manager of the Brethon Foundry and Machine-works in Tours, in 1894. These experiments encouraged an entry in the 1896 Paris–Marseille–Paris race, held between 24 September-3 October 1896, fielding one car for himself and one for sportsman Ernest Archdeacon. The winning Panhard averaged 15.7 mph (25.3 km/h); Archdeacon came sixth, averaging 14 mph (23 km/h), while Delahaye himself was eighth, averaging 12.5 mph (20.1 km/h).

For the 1897 Paris-Dieppe, the 6 hp (4.5 kW; 6.1 PS) four-cylinder Delahayes ran in four- and six-seater classes, with a full complement of passengers. Archdeacon was third in the four-seaters behind a De Dion-Bouton and a Panhard, Courtois winning the six-seater class, ahead of the only other car in the class.

In March 1898, 6 hp (4.5 kW; 6.1 PS) the Delahayes of Georges Morane and Courtois came sixteenth and twenty-eighth at the Marseilles-Nice rally, while at the Course de Perigeux in May, De Solages finished sixth in a field of ten. The July Paris-Amsterdam-Paris earned a satisfying class win for Giver in his Delahaye; the overall win went to Panhard.

Soon after the new company was formed in 1898, the firm moved its manufacturing from Tours to Paris, into its new factory (a former hydraulic machinery plant that Morane and his brother-in-law Leon Desmarais had inherited from Morane’s father). Charles Weiffenbach was named Operations Manager. Delahaye would produce three models there, until the close of the 19th century: two twins, the 2.2-litre 4.5 hp (3.4 kW; 4.6 PS) Type 1 and 6 hp (4.5 kW; 6.1 PS) Type 2, and the lighter Type 0 (which proved capable of up to 22 mph (35 km/h)), with a 1.4-liter single rated between 5 and 7 hp (3.7 and 5.2 kW; 5.1 and 7.1 PS). All three had bicycle-style steering, water-cooled engines mounted in the rear, automatic valves, surface carburetors, and trembler coil ignition; drive was a combination of belt and chain, with three forward speeds and one reverse.

In 1899, Archdeacon piloted an 8 hp (6.0 kW; 8.1 PS) racer in the Nice-Castellane-Nice rally, coming eighth, while teammate Buissot’s 8 hp (6.0 kW; 8.1 PS) was twelfth.

Founder Emile Delahaye retired in 1901, leaving Desmarais and Morane in control; Weiffenbach took over from them in 1906. Delahaye’s racing days were over with Emile Delahaye’s death. Charles Weiffenbach had no interest in racing, and focused his production on reeponsible motorized automotive chassis, heavy commercial vehicles, and early firetrucks for the French government. Race-cars had become a thing of the past for Delahaye, until 1933, when Madam Desmarais caused her company to change direction a hundred-and-eighty degree, and return to racing.

The new 10B debuted in 1902. It had a 2,199 cc (134.2 cu in) (100 by 140 mm (3.9 by 5.5 in)) vertical twin rated 12/14 hp by RAC, mounted in front, with removable cylinder head, steering wheel (rather than bicycle handles or tiller), and chain drive. Delahaye also entered the Paris-Vienna rally with a 16 hp (12 kW; 16 PS) four; Pirmez was thirty-seventh in the voiturette class. At the same year’s Ardennes event, Perrin’s 16 hp (12 kW; 16 PS) four came tenth.

Also in 1902, the singles and twins ceased to be offered except as light vans; before production ceased in 1904, about 850 had been built.

Delahaye’s first production four, the Type 13B, with 24/27 hp 4.4-litre, appeared in 1903. The model range expanded in 1904, including the 4.9-litre 28 hp (21 kW; 28 PS) four-cylinder Type 21, the mid-priced Type 16, and the two-cylinder Type 15B. These were joined in 1905 by a chain-driven 8-litre luxury model, one of which was purchased by King Alfonso.

All 1907 models featured half-elliptic springs at the rear as well as transverse leaf springs, and while shaft drive appeared that year, chain drive was retained on luxury models until 1911. In 1908, the Type 32 was the company’s first to offer an L-head monoblock engine.

Protos began licence production of Delahayes in Germany in 1907, while in 1909, h. M. Hobson began importing Delahayes to Britain. Also in 1909, White pirated the Delahaye design; the First World War interrupted any efforts to recover damages.

Delahaye invented and pioneered the V6 engine in 1911, with a 30° 3.2-litre twin-cam, in the Type 44; the invention is credited to Amadee Varlet, Delahaye’s chief design-engineer at the time. The Type 44 was not a success and production stopped in 1914. It had been designed by Amadee Varlet, who had joined Delahaye at the same time that Charles Weiffenback was hired by Emile Delahaye, in 1898. The Type 44 was the only V-6 engine ever made by Delahaye, and it was the last time the company used a twin-cam engine.

Delahaye engineer Amadee Varlet designed the Delahaye “Titan” marine engine, an enormous cast-iron four cylinder engine that was fitted into purpose-built speedboat “La Dubonnet” which briefly held the World Speed Record on Water. With the ‘Titan’ Amadee Varlet had invented the multi-valve twin-cam engine in 1905, the same year that Emile Delahaye died.

At the Paris factory, Delahaye continued to manufacture cars, trucks, and a few buses. By the end of World War I, their major income was from their truck business that included France’s firetrucks.

After the war, Delahaye switched to a modest form of assembly line production, following the example of Ford, hampered by the “extensive and not particularly standardized range” of cars for Chenard et Walker, and itself, and farm machines for the FAR Tractor Company. The collaboration with FAR Tractor Company and Chenard-Walcker did not last long. This continued until continually reduced sales volume made a change necessary, for the company to survive. It has been alleged that Monsieur Charles met with his friend, competitor Ettore Bugatti, to seek his opinion on turning Delahaye around. Whether or not this meeting actually occurred, it is on record that Madam Leon Desmarais, the majority shareholder and Leon Desmarais’ widow, instructed Charles Weiffenbach to come up with a new higher quality automotive-chassis line with vastly improved horsepower, and re-establish a racing department. That pivotal decision was made in 1932, the year that Jean Francois was hired. By 1933, Delahaye was back in the racing game, and promptly went about winning events and setting records.

At the 1933 Paris Salon, Delahaye showed the Superluxe, with a 3.2-litre six, transverse independent front suspension, and Cotal preselector or synchromesh-equipped manualtransmission. It would be accompanied in the model range by a 2,150 cc (131 cu in) four (essentially a cut-down six), and a sporting variant, the 18 Sport.

In 1934, Delahaye set eighteen class records at Montlhéry, in a specially-prepared, stripped and streamlined 18 Sport. They also introduced the 134N, a 12cv car with a 2.15-litre four-cylinder engine, and the 18cv Type 138, powered by a 3.2-litre six — both engines derived from their successful truck engines. In 1935, success in the Alpine Trial led to the introduction of the sporting Type 135 “Coupe des Alpes”. By the end of 1935, Delahaye had won eighteen minor French sports car events and a number of hill-climbs, and came fifth at Le Mans.

Racing success brought success to their car business as well, enough for Delahaye to buy Delage in 1935. Delage cars continued in production from 1935 to 1951, and were finally superseded by the Type 235, a modestly updated 135. The truck business continued to thrive. Some of the great coachbuilders who provided bodies for Delahayes include Figoni et Falaschi, Chapron, and Letourneur et Marchand, and Joseph Saoutchik, as well as Guillore, Faget-Varlet, Pourtout, and a few others less well known.

Delahaye ran four 160 hp (120 kW; 160 PS) cars (based on the Type 135) in the 1936 Ulster TT, placing second to Bugatti, and entered four at the Belgian 24 Hours, coming 2-3-4-5 behind an Alfa Romeo.

American heiress Lucy O’Reilly Schell approached the company with an offer to pay the development costs to build short “Competition Court” 2.70- metre wheelbase Type 135 cars to her specifications for rallying. Sixteen were produced, most having been uniformly bodied by “Lacanu” a small coachbuilding firm owned and operated by Olivier Lecanu-Deschamps. Joseph Figoni also bodied one of these chassis. Lecanu could respond quickly, build economically, and was favored by Delahaye for its race-cars. All four Type 145 race-cars were bodied by Lecanu, to a weirdly homely design by Jean Francois. Lecanu both designed and built the last of the four Type 145 bodies, this one on chassis 48775.

In 1937, René Le Bègue and Julio Quinlin won the Monte Carlo Rally driving a Delahaye. Delahaye also ran first and second at Le Mans.[4] Against the government-sponsored juggernauts Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union, Delahaye brought out the Type 145, powered by a new, complicated 4½-liter V12 with three camshafts located in the block, with pushrod-actuated valves and four overhead rocker-shafts, dual Bosch magneto ignition, and triple Stromberg carburettors. Called “Million Franc Delahaye” after a victory in the Million Franc Race, the initial Type 145, chassis 48771, was driven by René Dreyfus to an average speed 91.07 mph (146.56 km/h) over 200 kilometres (120 mi) at Montlhéry in 1937, earning a Fr 200,000 prize from the government. Dreyfus also scored a victory in the Ecurie Bleu Type 145, again number 48771 at Pau, relying on superior fuel economy to beat the more powerful Mercedes-Benz W154, in 1938. Third place in the same race was claimed by Gianfranco Comotti, driving Delahaye Type 145 number 48775. Dreyfus brought his Type 145 number 48771 to its second grand-prix win at Cork, in Ireland, but the German teams had boycotted this event, being another between-the-houses race where they could not exploit their superior power. Type 135s also won the Paris-Nice and Monte Carlo Rallys, and LeMans, that year, while a V12 model (Type 145 number 48773) was fourth in the Mille Miglia. These victories combined with French patriotism to create a wave of demand for Delahaye cars, up until the German occupation of France during World War II. The Type 145 was also the basis for five grand-touring Type 165s., three of which exist today. The other two were demolished during the second World war.

In early 1940, one hundred Type 134N and Type 168 chassis were (Renault-bodied) as military cars built under contract for France’s Army. Private sales had been ordered by the government to cease in June, 1939, but small numbers of cars continued to be built for the occupying German forces until at least 1942.

After the Second World War

After World War II, in late 1945, production of the Type 135 was resumed, all with new styling by Philippe Charbonneaux. The Type 175, with a 4.5-litre inline overhead-valve six, was introduced in 1948; this, and the related Type 178 and 180, proved unsuccessful.The Type 175, 178 and 180 were replaced by the Type 235 in 1951, with an up-rated 135 engine producing 152 hp (113 kW; 154 PS). After the war, the depressed French economy and an increasingly punitive luxury tax regime aimed at luxurious non-essential products, and cars with engines above 2-litres, made life difficult for luxury auto-makers. Like all the principal French automakers, Delahaye complied with government requirements in allocating the majority of its vehicles for export, and in 1947 88% of Delahaye production was exported (compared to 87% of Peugeot and 80% of Talbot output), primarily to French colonies, including those in Africa. Nevertheless, Delahaye volumes, with 573 cars produced in 1948 (against 34,164 by market-leader Citroen), were unsustainably low.

Until the early 1950s, a continuing demand for military vehicles enabled the company to operate at reasonable albeit low volumes, primarily thanks to demand for the Type 163 trucks, sufficient to keep the business afloat.

A 1-ton capacity light truck sharing its 3.5-litre six-cylinder overhead-valve engine with the company’s luxury cars (albeit with lowered compression ratio and reduced power output) made its debut at the 1949 Paris Motor Show. During the next twelve months, this vehicle, the Type 171, spawned several brake-bodied versions, the most interesting of which were the ambulance and 9-seater familiale variant. The vehicle’s large wheels and high ground clearance suggest it was targeted at markets where many roads were largely dust and mud, and the 171 was, like the contemporary Renault Colorale which it in some respects resembled, intended for use in France’s African colonies. The vehicle also enjoyed some export success in Brazil, and by 1952 the Type 171 was being produced at the rate of approximately 30 per month.

As passenger car sales slowed further, the last new model, a 2.0-litre Jeep-like vehicle known as VLRD (Véhicule Léger de Reconnaissance (Delahaye)), sometimes known as the VRD, or VLR, was released in 1951. The French army believed that this vehicle offered a number of advantages over the “traditional” American built Jeep of the period. It was in 1951 that Delahaye discontinued production of the Types 175, 178 and 180. During 1953 the company shipped 1,847 VRDs as well as 537 “special” military vehicles: the number of Delahaye- or Delage-badged passenger cars registered in the same year was in that context near negligible, at 36.

Financial difficulties created by an acute shortage of wealthy car buyers intensified. Delahaye’s main competitor, Hotchkiss, managed to negotiate a licensing agreement with American Motors, and obtained sanction to manufacture its JEEP in France. The French army had learned to appreciate the simpler machine, available at a much lower price, and cancelled Delahaye’s contract for the more sophisticated VLR reconnaissance vehicle, dealing a hard blow to Delahaye. In August 1953 the company laid off more than 200 workers and salaried employees. Rumours of management discussions with Hotchkiss over some sort of coming together proved well founded. Hotchkiss were struggling with the same problems, but it was hoped that the two businesses might prove more resilient together than separately, and an agreement was signed by the two company presidents, Pierre Peigney for Delahaye and Paul Richard for Hotchkiss, on 19 March 1954. Delahaye shareholders agreed to the protocol, which amounted to a take over of Delahaye by Hotchkiss, less than three months later, on 9 June. Hotchkiss shut down Delahaye car production. By the end of 1954, for a brief period selling trucks with the Hotchkiss-Delahaye nameplate, the combined firm was itself taken over by Brandt, and by 1955, Delahaye and Hotchkiss were out of the automotive chassis business altogether, having their facilities absorbed by the giant Brandt organization with its own objectives for its captives’ assets. By 1956, the brands Delahaye, Delage, and Hotchkiss had forever disappeared.


1899 Delahaye 09101899 built vehicle in 2006

Picture gallery

1949 Saoutchik Delahaye 175S Roadster

Delahaye 175S Roadster (1949)

1935-36 Delahaye 135 MS recarrossée après guerreDelahaye 135 MS (1936)

1953 Delahaye 235MS CoupéDelahaye 235MS Coupé (1953)

1948 Delahaye 135Delahaye 135 (1948)

1939 Delahaye 165 Figoni et Falaschi a

Delahaye 165 Figoni et Falaschi (1939)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADelahaye Cabriolet (1937)

1948 Delahaye 135MS Cabriolet ChapronDelahaye 135

Delahaye cabriolet1948 Delahaye 135 Cabriolet Pourtout

1948 Delahaye 135 M PourtoutDelahaye 135 M Pourtout (1948)

1925 Delahaye Tourer  FDelahaye Tourer (1925)

Delahaye 135MDelahaye 135M

1953 Delahaye 235M Pillarless Coupe by SaoutchikDelahaye 235M Saoutchik (1953)

1949 Delahaye type 178 Drophead CoupeDelahaye 178 Drophead Coupé (1949), once owned by Elton John.

For the Buses from Delahaye you have to be Here:

Book Cover 1899 Delahaye 0910 1907 Delahaye 1910 Delahaye Type 32 Roadster  F 1910 delahaye2 1911 Delahaye Fire Truck Exif_JPEG_PICTURE 1914 Delahaye Trucks postcard. 1918 delahaye 103 ... 1919 delahaye logo 1923 Delahaye 1925 Delahaye Tourer  F 1925 Delahaye Type 97 Torpedo Open Tourer  F 1925 Delahaye- 1927-33 Delahaye 180 1928 692_002 1928 78388715_o 1930 Delahaye ad a 1930 Delahaye ad 1931 Delahaye Type 180 Brochure 1932 6359091373_5bb0dd07c1_z 1933 Delahaye Ad a 1933 Delahaye ad 1934 delah 1934 Delahaye  Sport October 1935 Delahaye 135 roadster 1935 Delahaye 135 1935-36 Delahaye 135 MS recarrossée après guerre 1936 Delahaye 1 1936 Delahaye 134N Berline Autobineau at Monthléry - 1936 Delahaye 135 competition court 1936 Delahaye 135 compétition 1936 Delahaye 135 Engine 3557cc S6 1936 Delahaye 135 Figoniet Falaschi Torpedo Cabriolet 1936 Delahaye 135-S 1936 Delahaye Boyd Coddington OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 1937 Delahaye 135 competition figoni & falaschi nr.676 1937 Delahaye 135 MS roadster x octavio 1937 Delahaye 135 sport roadster 1937 Delahaye Cabriolet Torpedo 1937 Delahaye t145 roadster 1937 Delahaye type 134 N Chapron convertible 1937 Delahaye_em 1937 delahaye-hinlopen 1938 Delahaye  135ms cabrio 1938 Delahaye 135 figoni & falaschi 1938 Delahaye 135 ms cabrio 1938 Delahaye 135 1938 Delahaye 135m roadster 1938 Delahaye 135m 1938 delahaye_135_m_emblem_36 1938-46 Chapron Delahaye 145 Coupe A 1939 Delahaye 1 1939 Delahaye 2 1939 Delahaye 7 LA165 1939 Delahaye 134 G Berline 1939 Delahaye 134 G 1939 Delahaye 135 M Coupé 1939 Delahaye 135 M par Figoni & Falaschi 1939 Delahaye 135 M reklame 1939 Delahaye 135M Coupe  F 1939 Delahaye 165 Figoni et Falaschi a 1939 Delahaye 165 figoni et falaschi 1939 Delahaye 165 M Figoni+et Falaschi 1939 Delahaye 165M A 1939 Delahaye cabrio figoni et falaschi 1939 Delahaye F 1939 Delahaye Le 148 1939 Delahaye Roadster 1939 delahaye_wood-Ken Eberts 1939-Delahaye-135M_B50E7B8 1942 delahaye_emblem_6 1946 Delahaye 135 Guillore Break de Chasse 1946 Delahaye 135 m pennock 1946 Delahaye 135M Coupe by Dubos 1946 delahaye-logo 1947 Cabriolet Delahaye 135 MS Pourtout A A 1947 Delahaye 175 1947 Delahaye Type 175 catalog cover. 1947 Delahaye Type 178 catalog cover. 1947 Delahaye Type 180 catalog cover. 1947 delahaye_logo2 1948 Delahaye 8-page catalog cover. (for models 135-M, 148-L, 135 MS, 175, 178 and 180). 1948 Delahaye 135 Cabriolet Pourtout 1948 Delahaye 135 cabriolet Pourtout 1948 Delahaye 135 M Pourtout 1948 Delahaye 135 m 1948 Delahaye 135 1948 Delahaye 135m cabriolet 1948 Delahaye 135MS Cabriolet Chapron 1948 Delahaye 135-MS Figoni&Falaschi Cabriolet 1948_DELAHAYE_(GFA)_01 1949 Delahaye 135 coach 1949 Delahaye 135 m roadster figoni 1949 Delahaye 135 MS Coach Ghia Aigle Ghia 1949 Delahaye 135m coach grand sport guillore 1949 Delahaye 135M DHC 1949 Delahaye 135MS Roadster by Selborne A 1949 Delahaye ghia aigle 1949 Delahaye graber geneva 1949 Delahaye Type 175S coachwork by Saoutchik 1949 Delahaye type 178 Drophead Coupe 1949 delahaye_logo 1949 Delahaye-175-deVille-DV-12-PBC 1949 Saoutchik Delahaye 175S Roadster 1950 Delahaye 135 M Letourneur & Marchand 1950 Delahaye 135 MS Vanden Plas (Vose) 1950 Delahaye 135 MS, 3 carburettors Convertible by Chapron 1950 Delahaye 135 saoutchik paryz 1950 Delahaye 135M 3 carburettors Convertible by Guilloré 1950 Delahaye 135m terenowy 1950 Delahaye 235M Pillarless Saloon by Ghia 1950 Delahaye saoutchik 1950 Delahaye VLRD (Wielka Enc. Sam. 87) 1950 DELAHAYE-08 1950 Slide-logo 1951 Delahaye 235 coupe von Henry Chapron 1951 Delahaye 235 Saoutciik Cabriolet 1951 Delahaye 235-cabrio-saoutchik 1951 Delahaye 235-coach-chapron 1951 Delahaye 235-letourneur-marchand 1951 Delahaye Cape Rally-photo 1952 Delahaye  vlr 1952 Delahaye 148 Labourdette 1952 Delahaye 148 1952 Delahaye 235 coupe chapron 1952 Delahaye 235-coupe-chapron-paris 1952 Delahaye 235-figoni-cabriolet 1952 Delahaye 235-letourneur-marchand 1952 delahaye5 1953 Delahaye 235 Cabriolet 1953 Delahaye 235-cabrio-chapron 1953 Delahaye 235M Pillarless Coupe by Saoutchik 1953 Delahaye 235MS Coupé 1953 Delahaye VLR ayant participé à un rallye 1953 Delahaye-185 Cob, 4x4. 1954 Delahaye  235-chapron-saoutchik 1954 Delahaye VLR, 4x4. 1954 LogoCD Delahaye 77 Delahaye 135 sport drawing Delahaye 135M Delahaye 175S roadster bugnotti top Delahaye Figoni et Falaschi Delahaye limousine used by Crown Prince of Thailand logo-delahaye-370x370

UNIC Cars and Trucks Puteaux France

        Unic                                 Unic

Founded 1905
Defunct 1938 (last automobiles manufactured: continued as a manufacturer of commercial vehicles)
1952 (sold to Simca)
Headquarters Puteaux, France
Key people
Georges Richard (founder)
Baron Henri de Rothschild (main investor)
Products Automobiles
commercial vehicles
1909 Unic taxi a1909 Unic taxi cab

1909 Unic taxi

Taxicab 1909

Unic was a French manufacturer founded in 1905, and active as an automobile producer until July 1938. After this the company continued to produce commercial vehicles, retaining its independence for a further fourteen years before being purchased in 1952 by Henri Pigozzi, who was keen to develop Unic as a commercial vehicle arm of the then flourishing Simca business.


Unic was founded by Georges Richard after he left Richard-Brasier. In 1905 Richard had a meeting with the entrepreneur-financier Baron Henri de Rothschild and obtained funding for the creation of the “société anonyme des automobiles Unic“, based at Puteaux. The objective was to manufacture “unique” (rather than mainstream) vehicles, and at the start the company made only light cars and taxis with two-cylinder and four-cylinder engines.

The taxi business would remain important to Unic for more than three decades, while Rothschild’s steady financial support through good times and bad, provided stability which sustained the business, critically during the immediate post-war years.

Growth and diversification

Although the manufacturer’s initial range was restricted to light cars, their popularity as taxis led to the production of delivery vans and other small utility style vehicles. The 1943 cc 12 CV (9 kW) four-cylinder model (used mainly as a taxi) was extremely successful and survived in production for nearly 20 years. (The engine was enlarged later to 2120 cc.) During World War I, taxis made by the company participated in the Marne operation. After World War I, a new four-cylinder (1847 cc) was offered, along with the taxis.

First truck and founder’s death

In 1922 the firm introduced a three-ton truck, called the Unic MSC, which marked the start of a switch towards production of larger commercial vehicles. 1922 was also the year when the founder of Unic, Georges Richard, died while awaiting transfer to a Paris clinic, following a motor accident en route to Rouen. Georges Dubois, hitherto in charge of vehicle testing, took on responsibility for the business.

Passenger cars in the 1920s

During the 1920s, a 1997 cc sports model was marketed and in some models sleeve valve engines were used.

By the time of the 19th Paris Motor Show, in October 1924, Unic were exhibiting three passenger cars. All had four cylinder engines, although large 4-cylinder engines such as that fitted in the 16HP model were by now seen as rather old fashioned:

  • Unic “Type L1T” 10 CV/HP: 4-cylinder 1843 cc: wheelbase 3,050 mm (120.1 in)
  • Unic “Type L3T” 11 CV/HP: 4-cylinder 2000 cc: wheelbase 3,050 mm (120.1 in)
  • Unic 16 CV/HP: 4-cylinder 3450 cc: wheelbase 3,450 mm (135.8 in)

Four years later, at the 22nd Paris Motor Show, only one of the two cars on show was fitted with a 4-cylinder engine. This was an evolution of the two litre model exhibited in 1924, now branded as the Unic “Type L9”, with a 3,150 mm (124.0 in) wheelbase and usually fitted with “Torpedo” or “Berline” (saloon/sedan) bodies. However, for the 1929 model year attention was now focused on the company’s first 8-cylinder model. The new Unic 14 CV/HP “Type H1” featured a 2½-litre straight-8 power unit and sat on a substantial 3,460 mm (136.2 in) wheelbase. It was priced at 55,000 francs in bare chassis form.

Passenger cars in the 1930s

The 8-cylinder Unic “Type H1” introduced in 1928 was progressively updated in accordance with the changing tastes of the time: by 1933 car had evolved into the Unic “Type H3” and the engine size had grown from 2½-litres to 2646cc. October 1933 was nevertheless the last time an 8-cylinder passenger car would appear on the Unic show stand.

For the next few years the company focused on 4-cylinder cars in the 11 CV/HP tax band, just as they had through the mid-1920s. For 1934 Unic announced their new “Type U4” model, featuring a 2-litre side-valve engine and now also employing a 4-speed transmission. The body-work of the standard 5-seater “berline” (sedan/saloon) was no longer completely flat-backed, but the proportions of the car may have drawn criticism, since between the car’s October 1933 launch and May 1934, the rear overhang was slightly increased, while at the front a slightly raked grill replaced the flat one, and the overall profile became a little more streamlined. In addition to this passenger car, Unic continued to produce through 1934 a similarly sized taxi of “great robustness”.

Final year of car production

In March 1937 Unic updated their four-cylinder passenger car model for the last time, and for the 1937 October Motor Show the six-cylinder model was also given a more streamlined look, in line with the fashion of the time. By this time the passenger car range was down to just these two models. The Unic Type U4D was a four-cylinder 2,150 (12CV) car which featured overhead valves and offered a maximum output of 55 hp (41 kW), supported by a robust rather traditional chassis with a 3,160 mm (124.4 in) wheelbase. The imposing six-cylinder Unic Type U6C provided 85 hp (63 kW) from a 3,000cc engine (17CV), transmitted via an electromagnetic “Cotal” preselector gear box, with a choice of wheelbase lengths between 3,200 mm (126.0 in) and 3,370 mm (132.7 in).

The appeal of Unic passenger cars by this time derived not from technical brilliance nor from stunning originality. Those who appreciated the cars were impressed by excellent reliability resulting from a meticulous approach taken during the production process. Also admired were their elegant spacious bodies, most of which came from the coach builder Letourneur et Marchand or from their subsidiary, Autobineau. Unic cars by now were not being sold in large numbers and this was reflected in the price. At the 1937 Motor Show the standard steel-bodied Unic Type U-4 D with its 12CV engine was priced at 53,750 francs (or 35,500 francs in bare chassis form). The slightly more powerful 13CV Talbot Type T4 “Minor” was listed at 42,500 Francs (or 35,000 Francs in bare chassis form), while from the top end of the Citroën range a long wheel base “familiale” version of the Traction 11CV Longue could be had for 28,900 francs including the body, while prototype testing was already well under way of a 2867cc (15/16CV) version of the aggressively priced and marketed Citroën Traction. Few customers in this class were willing to pay the price for the Unic’s virtues of dependability, style and space, and Unic passenger car production ceased in July 1938.

After 1938 Unic concentrated in the truck business, being one of the leading French makes. In 1966 it was taken over by the Italian company Fiat and eventually merged into Iveco in 1975.

1907 UNIC 1907 UNICa 1907 UNIC-bus-in-Norway-1908

1907 UNIC-bus-in-Norway

In 1952, the firm was taken over by Simca, headed by Henri Pigozzi, who wanted a commercial vehicle production unit. Trucks of this period are commonly referred to as Unic-Simca trucks.

In 1956 the French arm of the Swiss truck manufacturer Saurer was taken over.

In 1966 Unic joined the Fiat Group.

In 1975 a holding company named IVECO was established covering truck and bus brands such as Fiat, OM, Lancia, UNIC and Magirus.

In 1976 UNIC-FIAT S.A. became UNIC S.A.

In 1992 IVECO UNIC S.A. changed its name to IVECO FRANCE S.A.

In 2003, the company’s headquarters moved from Villejuif to Boissy St Léger, where a second facility was established in 1995.

1973 Unic-Fiat 616

1973 Unic-Fiat 616

1980 Unic 316 Toulon

1980 Unic 316 Toulon

unic-75-01 unic-75-02 unic-75-03 unic-75-04 unic-75-05 unic-75-06 unic-75-08 unic-75-09


unic-110-01 unic-110-03 unic-110-05 unic-110-06 unic-110-08

UNIC 110

unic-190-01 unic-190-02 unic-190-03 unic-190-04 unic-190-05

UNIC 190

unic-190-06 unic-190-07 unic-190-08

UNIC 190

unic-270-01 unic-270-03 unic-270-04 unic-270-05 unic-270-06 unic-270-08 unic-270-09

UNIC 270

unic-daily-01 unic-daily-02 unic-daily-03 unic-daily-05 unic-daily-06 unic-daily-08


unic-esterel-01 unic-esterel-02 unic-esterel-03 unic-esterel-04 unic-esterel-06 unic-esterel-07


unic-izoard-01 unic-izoard-02 unic-izoard-03 unic-izoard-05 684BBZ83 Unic Izoard.TR.R.Heid's.(Ex:Polioto S/Y) unic-izoard-07 unic-izoard-08 unic-izoard-09


Unic-Kegresse P107 halftrack Moscow. Unic-Kegresse_P107_halftrack_Moscow,_Poklonnaya_Hill_3 unic-u4-01 unic-u4-02 unic-u4-03 unic-u4-04 unic-u4-05 unic-u4-06


unic-u4-08 unic-vercors-01 unic-vercors-02 unic-vercors-03 unic-vercors-04 unic-vercors-05 unic-vercors-06 unic-vercors-07 unic-vercors-08 unic-zu-01 unic-zu-02


unic-zu-04 unic-zu-05 unic-zu-06 le GLM lui aussi connait la neige alsacienne unic-zu-09


1908 Unic 1909 Unic a 1909 Unic 1916 UNIC 1939 Unic S-20 1939 Unic TU-1 1946 UNIC ZU 72 a 1947 UNIC ZU 72 1950 UNIC 72 exceptionnel  d' un Transporteur de AUCH 32 1952 UNIC Z66 porteur 84 1952 UNIC ZU 72 1954 UNIC ZU 66 4 cyl 1954 UNIC ZU 100 1955 UNIC ZU 100 1956 UNIC à PUTEAUX. Première réalisation de l' alliance avec UNIC avec la cabine GENEVE et Ford 1956 1956 UNIC Verdon porteur 1956 UNIC ZU 100 Dépanneuse 1957 UNIC couchette avec sa semi porte chars 1957 UNIC IZOARD d' une restauration exceptionnelle environ 1957 Unic Izoard 1958 UNIC GALIBIER neuf 1958 UNIC Puymorens, 4 cyl couchette 1959 UNIC Izoard porteur primeur 1960 UNIC izoard grumiers, lors d' une halte sur une nationale 1961 UNIC Esterel de 19 tonnes roulant pour Calberson 1961 Unic Izoard EZ63 1961 UNIC ZU 91verdon, 6cyl, 150 cv 1962 TJ-45-77 UNIC 1962 UNIC estérel des Trps A. Chatel 1963 UNIC esterel moteur MZ 124 1963 UNIC Estérel MZ 124 en 26 tonnes, 6cyl, 200cv 1963 UNIC esterel MZ 125 T 160 cv 1963 Unic Verdon, toujours chez STEENVOORDE 1964 UNIC DONON 1965 UNIC Izoard V8 270 cv à été reproduit à l' identique couleur comprise par Dinky-toys 1966 UNIC Belfort pinardier conservé dans son jus dans la région de Perpignan 1966 UNIC Izoard 8 cyl en V de 270 ch des Transports Fournier de Pau 64 1966 Unic V8 avec cabine Geneve 1966 Unic Vercors, neuf, porteur remorqueur pinardier de l' Ardéche 1966-75 Unic Frankrijk 1967 UNIC 2764 en 6x4 1967 UNIC V8 270 cv 1968 UNIC T 270 IZOARD V8 1968 Unic Tanker 170 1970 UNIC 2764 V8 1971 UNIC 2764 V8, 270 cv 6x4 1972 UNIC des Transports ROBAYE de VEZIN Belgique 1974 UNIC V8 270 avec cette nouvelle cabine dérivé de chez Fiat 1975 UNIC T340 V8 Trucks UNIC ZU 72a Trucks UNIC ZU 100 en dernier plan, un Renault fainéant au milieu, et un Saurer-Unic 130cv pinardier Trucks UNIC ZU 100 équipé d' un cabine Pepel modéle de camions des années 50 Trucks Unic ZU 100d Trucks UNIC ZU 114 Trucks UNIC ZU 120 T de 1957 Trucks UNIC ZU 120 T IZOARD (1954) Trucks UNIC ZU 122 de 1959 19 tonnes Trucks Unic ZU Motobecane Trucks Unic ZU-47, 4x4, 1958 Trucks Unic Р-107BU, 1937 Trucks Unic Trucks Unic-Izoard-Sahara-1957 Unic (2) UNIC (3) UNIC 6P4 Unic 35 UNIC 75 C Unic 110-135ch Unic 165ch Unic 200ch UNIC 619 N UNIC 2744 UNIC 2766 Unic avec le moteur V8, vous remarquerez qu' il a encore conservé son ancienne cabine Unic Bonhomme... On aperçoit un Citroën U55 garé UNIC Brazilië UNIC de Marius et Combes UNIC Donon Plateau bâché Unic en Willeme Unic Estérel des Trps Fernand Morand au chargement UNIC était present aussi dans les TP comme cet UNIC 2744T UNIC Izoard 270 STSI UNIC IZOARD 270V8 UNIC Izoard couchette en porteur pinardier UNIC Izoard moteur V8 porteur 26 tonnes d' un Transporteur Breton UNIC Jonker France Unic met Alfa Romeo Politiewagens UNIC OM 40 UNIC OM 340 UNIC P 200 IZOARD UNIC P 200 IZOARDa UNIC P 220 UNIC Paris UNIC saverne des Trps Mélédo UNIC SMX UNIC Somport 4 cyl Unic Strip Unic Truck ad Unic V8 270ch UNIC V8 à 270 cv... UNIC Vercors 6 cyl de 165 cv citerne porteur. UNIC VERCORS UNIC ZU 55 Tekening UNIC ZU 94 VERDON