Amelia Island

10-11 March 2017

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Lot 293

1951 Atlas Babycar 2S

  • Chassis no. FH297

Sold for $30,250

8.5 hp, 175 cc AMC four-stroke single-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission plus reverse, A-arm and coil spring front suspension, triangular trailing arm rear suspension, and four-wheel cable-operated drum brakes. Length: 108 in.

  • Formerly of the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum
  • An exceptionally well-built, high-quality French microcar
  • Beautiful restoration, well maintained
  • Extraordinarily rare

One of the most interesting post-war French microcars, the tiny Atlas Babycar was developed as a prototype by the Société Annonay Sofravel (S.A.S.), shown at the 1948 and 1949 Paris Salons, by the Societe Industrielle de Livry (S.I.L.) of Paris, and was manufactured by Duriez.

Featuring a modern roadster shape with rounded, bulbous fenders, the design of the Atlas was rendered entirely in steel, on a well-engineered chassis with a strong tubular frame, coil spring front suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, and cable brakes at all four wheels. Several engines of different sizes were experimented with early in production, with the final propulsion being a 175-cubic centimeter AMC single-cylinder engine. Circumventing the need for an expensive differential, the engine drove only the left rear wheel, via a Cardan shaft, to a cable-operated separate gear case incorporating a reverse gear. Starting was via a floor-mounted pull-lever in the cabin, while the wheels were attractive two-piece aluminum castings.

The same basic design of this little car was used for two other S.I.L. microcars of the era, the Kover and the Le Piaf, with the Atlas being the most expensive and best-trimmed, featuring such “luxuries” as doors (!), a folding windshield, built-in headlamps, and baroque grille and headlamp alloy castings.

Despite such a broad range of offerings, the S.I.L. microcars did not enjoy tremendous success, and the company was not heard of following an appearance at the 1953 Paris Salon.

The Babycar offered here, among the very finest in existence, was formerly part of the renowned Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum in Madison, Georgia. Discovered in original condition in France, its exceptional rarity and elegant roadster lines made a thorough and accurate restoration imperative. Reference material from the post-war French press was in scarce supply, and much use was made of the jeweler’s loupe in studying the period photographs. Fabrication of the ornate alloy grille castings was particularly trying. A poignant statement about the scarcity of materials of the time was the discovery of one-franc coins being used in place of steel flat washers on the Atlas’ steering arms.

In its current ownership, the car has been thoroughly mechanically sorted and is now reported to be running and driving very well. Beautifully presented, it is a remarkable microcar with superb quality throughout, deserving of a home in any fine collection.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

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Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

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Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more