Safran at the Rétromobile show
Safran is at “Rétromobile” for the first time this year. The exhibition is taking place at the Paris Expo venue at Porte de Versailles from February 6th to 10th and we’re there showcasing motorcycles from Gnome & Rhône, the aircraft engine manufacturer that became Safran! Another highlight will be the first Gnome & Rhône motorcycle model’s 100th anniversary.
Among the 20 motorcycles on display on the Safran Museum’s 400-sqm stand, you’ll be able to see several of Gnome & Rhône’s most memorable models, including an ABC from 1921 and a 750 X (France’s most prestigious motorcycle in the 1930s) with a Bernardet Avion sidecar.
Aerospace enthusiasts will be glad to know that the Safran Museum is presenting the first Gnome & Rhône aircraft engines at the show, and Safran is taking this opportunity to feature the Messier automobile with a pneumatic suspension system.
At the end of World War I, Gnome & Rhône needed to diversify into motorcycle production and took over ABC, an English manufacturer that had recently moved into France, to do so. In 1919, it started making the ABC model in France and renamed it Type A. Its pushrod flat-twin engine and front and rear suspension made it distinctly avant-garde, Gnome & Rhône made it considerably more reliable, and about 3,000 of these motorcycles rolled off production lines from 1920 to 1923. It was replaced by the Type B, which Gnome & Rhône designed from scratch and had a side-valve single-cylinder engine, a more classic look and a much lower price-tag. The company made this model until the early 1930s and upgraded it several times during its lifetime. The production of Gnome and Rhône motorcycles stops definitively in 1960.
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Winner of the Golden Bowl race
The company participates in 1956 at the Golden Bowl race, the famous motorcycle competition of endurance of 24 hours which takes place in France, in Montlhéry. It is a motorcycle careened by Gnome and the Rhône, specially designed for this race, that gains the victory in its category (engine of 175 cm3 and 15 horses), with a 96 kph average speed and points-up to 145 kph.
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Visit Rétromobile website
- © Cyril Abad / CAPA Pictures / Safran