Letourneur et Marchand

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Cabriolet Bugatti Type 57 Stelvio by Letourneur & Marchand (1938)
Delage D6-70 by Letourneur et Marchand (1947)

Letourneur & Marchand, located in the prosperous Paris suburb Neuilly-sur-Seine, was a car body manufacturing business which became one of the last French coachbuilders.

Origins and growth 1905 - 1939[edit]

The company was founded by Jean-Marie Letourneur and Jean-Arthur Marchand in 1905, and by the 1930s was specialising in coachbuilt car bodies for fitting on chassis from luxury automakers such as Duesenberg, Hispano-Suiza, Rolls-Royce and Minerva.

In 1924 the company created a subsidiary called Autobineau to specialise in sedan and limousine car bodies produced in marginally greater volumes and in a slightly more standardised format than was associated with the upmarket coach builders. During the 1920s Letourneur et Marchand became the main supplier of car bodies for Delage; the business also built bodies for manufacturers such as Unic. In 1936, Delage introduced their D8-120 chassis, which formed the basis for the Aérosport, manufactured between 1936 and 1939.[1]

Decline and demise 1945 - 1960[edit]

After the war, Letourneur et Marchand found themselves one of numerous auto-businesses far too small to feature significantly in the government's vision for an export led French auto-industry dominated by a handful of large manufacturers. Between 1947 and 1952 the company produced only 67 car bodies,[2] equivalent to about one car per month. Immediate financial collapse was averted in 1953 thanks to a contract signed with Renault for the production of a cabriolet version of the Renault Frégate which had been homologated with the authorities and could be sold and serviced through one of France's largest dealership networks.[2] Unfortunately the Frégate itself had got off to a slow start in the market place, being beset by teething problems and reliability issues, and although sources indicate that during the second half of the decade it became a much more dependable vehicle, in terms of sales volumes it was hopelessly out competed by the Simca Vedette and the Citroën DS; the Frégate struggled on till 1960 when it was withdrawn without direct replacement, and during this time 70 Letourneur et Marchand cabriolet variants were produced.[2] The final batch of Frégate cabriolets featured an eye catching two tone paint scheme, coloured either "black and ivory" or "black and turquoise".[2]

Letourneur & Marchand collapsed in 1960 following the discontinuation of their cabriolet version of the Renault Frégate.

External links[edit]

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ Daniel Cabart et Claude Rouxel, Delage. La belle voiture française, éditions E.T.A.I., 2005. ISBN 2-7268-9432-1
  2. ^ a b c d "Automobilia". Toutes les voitures françaises 1959 (salon Paris Oct 1958). Paris: Histoire & collections. Nr. 21: Page 36. 2002.
  • La carrosserie française, du style au design, par Serge Bellu, éditions E.T.A.I., 2007. ISBN 978-2-7268-8716-5