- Offered from the Bruce Weiner Microcar Collection
- One of fewer than about 30 known to exist
- Recently completed restoration
The French Inter, built in Lyon, was conceived by les Ateliers Electromagnetiques de la Seine and produced by aircraft manufacturer Ste. Nationale de Construction Aeronautique du Nord (S.N.C.A.N). Similar in concept to the German Messerschmitt, both shared a tilting canopy as means of ingress and egress. And, while they both shared styling resembling an aircraft fuselage, the Inter was decidedly French.
One of its most distinctive features includes folding front wheels which reduce the width of the car by some 18 in. to just 36-in. wide., though the majority of the cars were built with fixed suspension. Power is supplied by a single-cylinder two-stroke 175-cc Ydral engine, producing an ample 8 hp, mounted in the tail end. The single rear wheel is driven via chain drive and a three-speed manual gearbox.
The diminutive vehicle was first shown at the 1953 Paris Auto Salon. Three styles were displayed, including a convertible. It was the Berline model with its unique domed roof and skylight that ultimately made production. A total of 300 are estimated to have been produced from 1953-1956 with less than 10 percent believed extant today.
Among its aircraft elements is a helicopter-type starter - the Westinghouse Gyrostarter - which engages the engine with a characteristic electrical whine by pressing a lever. Two passengers sit in tandem and a single central headlamp provides nighttime illumination. A steering handlebar and tapered tail mimic its aircraft origins. Although the design remained similar during production, it is said that no two Inters are identical, causing owners much enthusiasm when comparing the uniqueness of their respective examples.
This example, offered from the noted Bruce Weiner Microcar Collection, is the subject of a three-year, concours-quality restoration recently completed. Finished in a vibrant turquoise green, the interior is upholstered in an equally vivacious red vinyl with white piping. Upon close examination, one will understand why it is described as "none better," as the restoration was completed with correct and original parts to the highest of standards.