Le Zèbre Type C - 1914— The pioneer of French popular car —
- Model A popular car built between 1913 and 1920, known for being reliable and very robust.
- Restauration Our car has undergone an old high quality restoration.
- We love An easy to use small car with a top speed of 60 km/h
- Perfect for… Local Sunday outings.
Our little Le Zèbre type C is the oldest car from the collection ANNA LISA Art On Wheels. It is a significant car since it can be considered as the first popular French automobile. Designed with a minimalist style, with a small chassis with a wheelbase of 2.05 metres only, it is often referred as a “voiturette”.
A pioneer of French popular cars
Le Zebre cars are the fruit of the work of two friends who have been involved with the development of the very first French automobiles:
– Jules Salomon, the son of a Cahors based cafe owner and a graduate of the Bordeaux School of Commerce and Industry, had first worked with Beau de Rochas, one of the pioneers of the internal combustion engine. The latter trained the former in mechanics. Jules Salomon then went to work for Georges Richard, an eclectic car manufacturer where he became a friend of Jacques Bizet.
– Jacques Bizet was Georges Richard’s main salesman and incidentally the son of Georges Bizet, the musician known for having written Carmen. Like his famous father, Jacques Bizet also dreamed of glory and wanted his name to be associated with the great history of the automobile.
This is how Jacques Bizet and Jules Salomon decided to team up to develop their first car, the Type A, born in 1909. They both left George Richard, whose company had changed name for Unic in 1904, and moved to Suresnes near Paris.
The car was an immediate hit, and their company, initially called “Bizet constructions”, was soon renamed “SA des Automobiles Le Zèbre” in 1911. Indeed, given the commercial success of this first car, the two partners were unable to decide for a name, each wanting the car to take their very own family name! In the end, the name Le Zèbre was chosen, probably chosen after the nickname given to a clerk working at Unic. It was then that two businessmen, Akar and Joseph Lamy, became the company’s financiers.
A brand that has enjoyed great commercial successes
With a good financial backup and the vision of its two founders, Le Zèbre cars were in good hands to become a lasting and popular success. With a price tag of only 3,000 francs, the Le Zèbre Type A was actually the most affordable car on the market.
Soon, the team decided to expand with the launch of new models, especially the Type B powered by the in-house four-cylinder 785cc engine and the Type C shaped with a torpedo body and also powered by the four-cylinder engine. Both had a three-speed gearbox. While the Type B is a four-seater, the Type C has only two seats and is distinguished by its elegance.
These easy to drive, robust and reliable cars became the mainstay of the French army where they were used as liaison vehicles during the First World War. To adapt its offer, the manufacturer also launched bodywork variations such as vans etc…
Later on, after WW1, the manufacturer’s offer changed with new cars powered by new engines. It should be noted that Jules Salomon was also later involved in the development of a very successful car, the 5 hp Citroën and that the Lamy family is also known to have founded Amilcar, with great success.
The Le Zèbre was thus well born in the hands of talented French automotive pioneers.
The Le Zèbre C 13 de 1914 from the ANNA LISA collection
The 1914 Le Zèbre Type C 13 from the ANNA LISA Art On Wheels collection is an interesting car with its blue painted body, its black wings underlined by red piping and its wire wheels. Our car has benefited from an old quality restoration and is ready to hit the road after what should be a relatively easy restart.