French Le Zèbre Torpedo Type A from 1913, one cylinder, 644 cc, 7 HP, 60 km/h

Le Zèbre was a French make of car built between 1909 and 1931 in Puteaux, Seine.

The company was founded by Jules Salomon and Georges Richard with finance from Jacques Bizet, son of Georges Bizet the composer.

Julius Salomon was a young graduate of the School of Commerce and Industry in Bordeaux, and began his career at Rouart Brothers who were engine makers. He later moved to Georges Richard where he met Jacques Bizet, who had the funds to back a new automotive brand and the ambition to leave a legacy to rival that of his father. The two friends decided not to give their names to the car, instead opting to call it “Le Zèbre” (The Zebra), which was originally a nickname given to a clerk of their former employer.

In 1909 Salomon developed his first car, a 630cc single-cylinder car with two-speed gearbox, which was designated the Type A. This design proved very economical to manufacture, selling for 3,000 Francs, or 1,000 F less than competitors. The wheelbase was 180 cm (71 in).

The Type A was well received by the public, and attracted investment from influential businessmen Emile Akar and Joseph Lamy, which enabled factory relocation and expansion. Joseph Lamy assumed the function of Commercial Director. The success of the Type A was further assured by Baudry de Saunier, the greatest French automotive journalist of the time, who repeatedly extolled the car’s virtues.

In 1912 Le Zèbre announced their second model, the Type B. More imposing, it was a four-cylinder four-seater car, rated at 10CV. It sold for 6,000 F, which constituted another economic tour de force for the time. The Type B was closely followed by the Type C, also a four-cylinder but this time 785cc with three gears, available only as a two-seat torpedo body. All three models were produced from the company’s new factory in Suresnes. Le Zèbre became well known for their unique blend of robustness, reliability and low running costs.

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