1938 Amilcar Compound

1938 Amilcar Compound

This front wheel drive car with its unitary body/chassis was first produced in 1938 by Amilcar not long after this company was taken over by Hotchkiss. Designed by famed French engineer Jean-Albert Gregoire, it was introduced to the motoring world at the 1937 Paris Motor Show.

Amilcar Compound was powered by a four-cylinder, side valve 1185cc engine with a fully synchromesh four-speed gearbox mounted in front of it with gear selection by cables. Drive was taken to the front wheels via short shafts and constant velocity joints.

For all its low build and absence of running boards, the Amilcar’s looks were spoilt by the use of a mock-American grille. With front wheel drive, of course, the designer does not need to include a lot of bracing at the rear.

The Amilcar was a sensation at the 1937 Motor Shows. It used light alloys to keep weight down still further. The short side members incorporated the sills and were tied at the front by a simple cross-member, whilst the firewall was also part of the structure, built into the car with its windscreen pillars.

Steering was rack and pinion and the car had independent suspension all round using torsion bars. In 1939 the engine was upgraded by changing the side valves to an overhead design. The Amilcar compound was available as a two-door saloon, cabriolet and two-seater roadster.

Volume production was commenced in 1938. All to no avail however as less than 700 were built before the fall of France in World War II. Some of the Amilcar Compounds were sold on the British market but these were branded as Hotchkiss Tens.

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