Weird and Wonderful No 5 – L’Oeuf

Nothing is ever new in this world and the current boom in electric cars is no exception – meet L’Oeuf, an electric concept car from 1942…A three wheel, two seater electric minicar made from aluminium and plexiglass which was designed by Paul Arzens. A french artist, engineer and an industrial designer of trains and cars, Paul constructed L’Oeuf for his own use. Made in 1942 when Paris was in the grips of the Nazi invasion, petrol and materials were in short supply, Paul’s solution to his personal transport was the lightweight L’Oeuf which needed few materials to produce and had a amazing range of 60 miles and a top speed of 37mph with two passengers.

With it’s huge Plexiglas roof and doors the car had fantastic visibility. The rest of the body was hand formed aluminium in an egg shape tapering at the rear to cover the third wheel and the electric motor. The chassis was made of Duralinox tubing, a stainless steel, aluminium and magnesium alloy which is resistant to corrosion and it was attached to suspension on the rear wheel for good handling. The interior was very minimal, just a bench seat and steering wheel, this meant it weighed in at just 90kg, once the batteries were added it was still only 350kg.

Due to the war and the difficulty of getting materials only the one prototype vehicle was ever made, it received a lot of attention but was never developed any further. Arzens was obviously fond of his L’Oeuf as he kept it in his private collection until his death in 1990. It is now in The Cité de L’Automobile – The French National Motor Museum in Mulhouse,with some of his earlier car designs. 
Many of the features in this early experiment – light, small, good visibility and a sense of fun – have found their way into the urban city cars of today.


All aboard for a tour of the future…

We’re off on our hols but unfortunately we wont be travelling in this fantastic futuristic bus.20120722-123401

This fabulous vehicle was commissioned in the 50’s by Groupe Cityrama a tour Operator in Paris. French coachbuilders Currus built the bus using a truck chassis and then created the beautiful double decker with wrap around glass. The luxury bus had plush seats, panoramic windows and tinted skylights. In the hot summer months the roof could be removed, no doubt a welcome feature as I expect it would get rather hot under all that glass. Each seat was fitted with speakers giving a Paris guide in eight languages. 20120722-123335 20120722-123427 U55Currus-5_Interieur-haut U55Currus-7_Arrierei542783

A great success, the ‘space age’ bus cruised the Boulevards of Paris in the late 50’s and early 60’s giving a spectacular view of the sights and no doubt being a ‘tourist sight’ in their own right. They even appeared in a couple of popular French films of the time, ‘Zazie Dans le Metro’  a 1960 comedy directed by Louis Malle, where a 12 year old girl explores Paris on her own and Le Corniaud (the Sucker) a gangster parody released in 1965.U55Currus-120120722-123350

It would be brilliant to see these on the road today and they would still look modern. Rumour (and pictures) has it that at least one is still in existence and undergoing restoration, lets hope so.20120722-144908 20120722-144936