Tracta D2 9CV Faux Cabriolet – 1933
Marca : Tracta
Modello : D2
Versione : Faux Cabriolet
Anno : 1933
Telaio N. : 533
Motore N. : 22041 W-U-16
Esemplari prodotti : 110
Carrozzeria : Ringlet
Progettista : Jean-Albert Grégoire
Motore : 4 cilindri in linea
Cilindrata : 1.500 cc
Distribuzione : HOV
Valvole Cilindro : 2
Alimentazione : Carb.
Potenza : —
Top speed Km/h : —
2009 – Reims – Bonhams – € 57.500
‘Born in Paris in 1899, the multi-talented Jean Albert Grégoire was an engineer, writer, athletic champion, racing driver, inventor and vehicle builder. He was a front-wheel drive pioneer, with a patented drive-shaft system, proven in his successful Tracta race and road cars during the 1920s.’ – The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile.
Front-wheel drive has been established as the norm for mainstream passenger cars for such a long time that it is easy to overlook the fact that before WW2 it represented a stern engineering challenge to automobile designers. One of the first to perfect a viable system was Jean Albert Grégoire, who set up shop in the Garage des Chantiers at Versailles, backed by finance from petroleum industry entrepreneur, Pierre Fenaille. Built primarily for competition use – a front-wheel drive Tracta won its class at Le Mans in 1927 – Grégoire’s first cars were powered by four-cylinder SCAP engines and featured sliding pillar independent front suspension as well as front-wheel drive. Grégoire soon relocated to a small factory in rue des Colombes, Asnières, adding larger Continental- and Hotchkiss-powered models to the range.
He moved away from track-focused sports models, concentrating instead on the production of passenger cars that attracted the attention of some of Europe’s foremost coachbuilders including Henri Chapron, Letourneur et Marchand, Duval and Mignon et Billebault. However, it appears that Grégoire made little if any profit from this line of business and he ceased Tracta production in 1934, continuing his career in the motor industry as a freelance design consultant, one of his first commissions being the aluminium chassis of the Amilcar Compound.
This very rare right-hand drive Tracta D2 features original four-seater faux cabriolet coachwork by the Belgian coachbuilder Ringlet, of Liège and is powered by a four-cylinder overhead-valve engine. One of only 110 examples built, this matching numbers car was purchased new in Liège in 1933 by Georges Meurice, who kept it until 1965. Its original Belgian registration was ‘5244 D’, which probably could still be purchased. There have been only four other owners since then: Adrien Maeght (Musée de l’Automobiliste in Mougins, France); Bruno Vendiesse (France); Laurent Rondoni (France) and the current vendor from Belgium.
The car has been fully rebuilt mechanically by Atelier VMI in Carpentras France to completely original specification. Now restored in graphite grey with Burgundy interior, the latter newly re-trimmed by Bernard Logis SPRL (Compagnon du Devoir), chassis number ‘533’ retains its original full tool box, wheel nuts and light bulbs.