New York, Park Avenue
17 August 1997
1953 MOCHET VELOCAR CM-125 COMMERCIALE
Chassis No. 3423
Dark blue with tan canvas top and black interior
Engine: Zurcher single cylinder, two-stroke, 125cc; Gearbox: three-speed manual and reverse; Suspension: front, sliding pillar, rear, leaf springs; Brakes: four wheel cable. Left hand drive.
The microcar was developed in Germany shortly after World War II as a form of affordable transportation. These small engined cars were fuel efficient, were often not subject to European road taxes and a driver's license was not generally required to operate models with engines displacing less than 500cc's. This "bubble car" - as they affectionately became known - was part of the collection of Canadian entrepreneur, Bruce Weiner. His collection was sold high above pre-sale expectations at Christie's in London on March 6th, 1997.
In 1951 Charles Mochet's production plant in Puteaux started production on a new model, the CM-125. It was a vast improvement on the crude Type-K that had been built since 1948, with its open bodywork and 50cc engine.
Mochet incorporated a Ydral engine as used in motorcycles, and built a car that was able to compete in a demanding market. His ability to create a very light vehicle reflected his pre-war pedal-car history.
In 1953, after production of the Luxe and the Grande Luxe, the market for small utility vehicles in rural France was growing. Mochet's short- lived Commerciale, or Camionette, was an archetypal example of this, as in France vehicles with a displacement of 125cc or less could be driven without a license, thereby making them ideal for rural life. Only a few were produced in total, the exact number of which is unknown, thereby making this car quite possibly the only example in existance.
Originally found in a museum it is offered in complete, original and unrestored condition and features the correct "heavy duty" wheels and tires and mid-mounted Zurcher engine. It is described as a "for restoration car" receiving little work in recent years, except for being repainted a number of years ago. The steel bodywork appears in solid order with a few areas that have received attention. The canvas top could be original and remains serviceable and the black vinyl trim is also likely to be original. While very much being a restoration project - it is an immensely likeable machine with an enormous amount of Gallic charm.
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