Rosengart SuperTrahuit

The difficulties I've been having in getting #bcotd to work properly while here in Japan—not to mention prior teething troubles many of you have been extremely patient with—make me think of the problems dead automakers like Automobiles L. Rosengart must have had during the final years of their existence. 

Eventually, people will stop putting up with quirks, it's as simple as that. After all, Autoblog, Motor Trend, and countless others are, if nothing else, consistent. 

I understand why, say, Saab, Pontiac, and Mercury owners are wilfully taking a hit when selling their once prized possessions: the effort it takes to keep their cars running will eventually not be worth it. 

What attracted people to Rosengart in the first place must have been the company's reputation for reliability and durability. With a history that parallels, in some respects, BMW, Rosengart began by assembling Austin 7s in France under license but soon branched out into their own vehicles as they improved on Austin's original design.  

Around the Second World War, Lucien Rosengart found himself in a difficult position: investors had taken partial control of his company before the war, the Germans had leveled his factory during the war, and after it the French government didn't include Rosengart in their post-war Pons Plan.

The French government was hot to provide "guidance" and "help" to automakers like Citroën and Renault…but with materials and investment in short supply there was no way the recovering economy could support a niche luxury car manufacturer like Rosengart. 

Still, they pressed on, with the SuperTrahuit: a big, front-drive coupe or cabriolet powered by exactly what austere motorists wanted: a V8 engine from Mercury. 

With a three-speed manual transmission (three-on-the-tree!) and quoted top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph), it had strong, if not incredible, performance.

Rocking a style that straddles the line between both the French automaker Delage and American cars of the period, I think it looks rather striking. 

Inside, two big dials are mounted on either side of a big vertical grille, with smaller gauges on the left for the driver—a symmetrical panel on the right had "SuperTrahuit" just in case the passenger had forgotten what he was riding in.  

While technically a well-designed car, Rosengart's focus was on the lucrative export market, not on low-priced economy cars for its home market. This technical know-how was why Rosengart proceeded with the SuperTrahuit in the first place, hoping to convince the government that there was a place for them in the Pons Plan. 

After being exhibited at the 1947 Paris Motor Show, the company recieved orders for, and produced, about 20 SuperTrahuit cars. Apparently just four survive. 

It was Rosengart's second-to-last car, with motorists increasingly unwilling to put up with the quirks of a manufacturer on its last legs. 


Rosengart SuperTrahuit S.T.8: Wikipedia, Flickr,

Rosengart: Wikipedia 

Pons Plan: Wikipedia