1939 HOTCHKISS 680 Monte Carlo Decouvrable - Extremely rare 'Grand Routier'
Sale price: $95,000.00 make an offer
Last update: 26.02.2014
Technical specifications, photos and description:
|Engine:||3.0 Litre straight six|
|Trim:||Hotchkiss 680 Monte Carlo Decouvrable|
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1939 HOTCHKISS 680 Monte Carlo Decouvrable - Extremely rare 'Grand Routier' for sale
One of the great pre-war French 'Grands Routiers' touring cars. unusual and elegant. The sporting pedigree of Hotchkiss was cemented by their winning the Monte Carlo rally in 1932. 1933. 1934. 1939. 1949 and 1950- an unprecendented string of victories by any manufacturer.
Benjamin Berkeley Hotchkiss was born in Watertown. Connecticut in 1826. He became a skilled designer in the family's engineering business with a passion for weapons but having failed to interest the US Government in his designs he moved to France where he set up the Hotchkiss Company in 1867. In his first factory at Route de Gonesse in Saint-Denis close to Paris he began producing weapons and explosives for the French Government. Hotchkiss died in 1885 but the company continued with his personal passion. the development of a truly automatic machine-gun. The first working model was produced by 1892 and was adopted by the French Army in 1897. Modifications and improvements resulted in the definitive 'Hotchkiss gun' by 1914 and the weapon became one of the standard gas-operated heavy machine guns used by Britain. France and Japan. At the turn of the century the company diversified into making components for motor cars and then the production of vehicles themselves. Hotchkiss was on its way to becoming one of the largest and most important mechanical and auto engineering companies in France.
Hotchkiss manufactured this large and powerful. fully convertible two door touring car just prior to the outbreak of the second world war. Since 'Armements' Hotchkiss. Paris. was principally a manufacturer of guns. tanks. nbsp;trucks as well as motorcars. the start of hostilities saw production and sales of cars quickly cease as the company concentrated on munitions and military vehicles. When the Germans overran Paris. Hotchkiss moved as many unsold and part completed vehicles away from their factory to other affiliated stores in the provinces in order to prevent them being requisitioned by the Germans. Indeed. the Hotchkiss factory at Saint- Denis was taken over and like most other french manufacturers. the company was forced to continue production of military equipment for the enemy. It is possible that this car. chassis 82388. was hidden away at the Hotchkiss facility outside Auxerre until the end of the war.
It was eventually sold to its first owner in 1947. a wealthy industrialist in Lisbon. Portugal. Since then it has had just three further owners and remained in Portugal until October 2013. It appears never to have had or needed a complete restoration having remained in sound and regularly used condition throughout. This means that it is remarkably original. There is growing appreciation particularly in Europe that while unlimited expenditure can produce 'better than new' restored cars. no amount of money can re-create originality.
'Grands Routiers' was the term given to describe the big. luxurious and fast touring cars produced by the premium French manufacturers during the 1930's- Delage. Delahaye. Talbot Lago and Hotchkiss. All shared similar straight six engines of around 3. 0 litres. mostly driving through Cotal electro magnetic gearboxes and all were extremely expensive to purchase new. Well suited to traversing the straight. poplar tree lined Routes Nationales of pre-war France. the 680 Monte Carlo was powered by Hotchkiss's own 3016cc straight-six OHV engine allied to the Cotal electro-magnetic transmission which makes for easy and rapid gearchanges and avoids the need for double declutching through non-synchronised gears. Whilst Delage and Delahaye in particular contracted out bodywork to specialists such as Chapron and Le Tournier. Hotchkiss tended to do their own coachwork in house.
The Monte Carlo 680 model was one of their most expensive and exclusive offerings. having a fully opening 'Decouvrable' hood system beloved of many french manufacturers right through to the 1960's. It is believed that only a handful of genuine Monte Carlo's survive from what would anyway have been a limited production total.
The car remains refreshingly original having benefited from having had few owners and all of them apparently wealthy enough to maintain the car in good order. It has a delightful interior with original wooden dashboard and door cappings. square-faced Jaeger instruments. all the orginal switches. excellent dark blue leather trim. dark blue mohair hood. wool lined. nbsp;with matching hood tonneau. The headlamps are the very rare Cibie 'bullet' type as compared to the more commonly fitted shorter Marchal design. Mechanically. the engine is superb with good oil pressure and attractive. sporty exhaust note. The Cotal gearbox benefits from an upgraded. modern pressure pump and works exceptionally well. The car has a matching set of barely used Avon crossply tyres all round. The bodywork is exceptionally sound and the entire car was repainted in recent years with the hood being renewed at the same time.
Full size 4 or 5 seater open Grands Routiers from the late 1930's are rarely available. This is an unusual opportunity to own a striking example of this famous class of luxury sports tourer. all the more desirable in original. open top configuration. at considerably less cost than comparable examples from Delahaye or Delage. The car is currently in the UK and retains its Portugese registration documents.
Shipping in 20" container to US East or West coast ports arranged by agreement.
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