White Amilcar Coach Type B38 Compound from 1938, four cylinders, 1185 cc, 34 HP, 115 km/h
The Amilcar Compound is a front wheel drive car with unitary body/chassis introduced shortly before World War II by Amilcar after their takeover by Hotchkiss. It was designed by the famous French engineer Jean-Albert Grégoire.
The first Compound, the Compound B38, was presented at the 1937 Paris Motor Show, but production was delayed by difficulties involving the car’s light metal panels, which still represented a very new technology. Series production only got underway a year later. Nevertheless, 35 of the cars were produced during the final quarter of 1938, and through 1939 production built up progressively, with 576 Compounds produced that year. A further 64 were produced during the early months of 1940: however France, along with Britain, had declared war on Germany in September 1939. War affected the French auto-industry during the ensuing months, as first the Paris Motor Show, scheduled for October 1939, was cancelled and then, in June 1940 the German Army invaded and occupied the northern half of the country.
The four cylinder, side valve, 1185 cc engine had its all synchromesh equipped, four speed, gearbox mounted in front of it with gear selection via cables. The drive was transmitted to the front wheels via short shafts and constant velocity joints. The steering used a rack and pinion mechanism. Suspension was independent all round using torsion bars at the rear.
The car’s technical design, including but not restricted to the light-metal technology, was supplied by a brilliant and charismatic engineer called Jean-Albert Grégoire.