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1949 Georges Irat Sports 2-Seater
Coachwork by Labourdette
Chassis no. 816742
Engine no. 817009

Georges Irat had already acquired the Majola factory at St Denis when he launched the first car bearing his own name in 1921. Manufactured by Automobiles Georges Irat SA at Chatou, Seine-et-Oise, this was a fast tourer powered by a 2.0-litre, overhead-valve, four-cylinder engine designed by Maurice Gaultier, formerly with Delage. Unusually, Irat manufactured the entire car, bodies excepted, marketing his products as 'La Voiture de l'Elite'. Although on a small scale, production grew steadily throughout the early 1920s, peaking at around 200 cars annually, and then in 1928 Irat launched a 3.0-litre six-cylinder model based on the existing four.

The early 1930s was a difficult time for motor manufacturers everywhere, and disappointing sales of its larger models and the light car brought Georges Irat to the point of collapse. Rescued by engine maker Godefroy et Lévecque, which wanted an outlet for its 'Ruby' power units, Irat introduced a small sports car powered by one of its products. Rated at 6CV, the new two-seater boasted a 1,078cc water-cooled four-cylinder Ruby engine driving the front wheels. Sporting in appearance, the 6CV roadster proved popular and sold in relatively large numbers, by Georges Irat's standards, some 1,500-or-so finding customers between 1935 and 1939.

After WW2 work commenced on the design of a new car, which was unveiled at the 1946 Paris Salon. Unusually, this prototype featured a magnesium chassis and body, and was powered by a 1,100cc flat-four engine. A further development of this first prototype was displayed in 1947, and then in 1949 a final prototype, the car offered here, was unveiled at the Grand Palais for the 1949 Paris Motor Show. Sadly, Georges Irat's last effort was never put into production and this setback marked the end of Georges Irat as a motorcar manufacturer.

Discovered at the Georges Irat factory in Bègles, the body, made by the famous Parisian coachbuilder Labourdette, is all that remained of this historic and unique car.

As seen today, Labourdette's remarkable creation sits on a 1939 Simca chassis and is fitted with a 1,100cc Simca engine, enabling the car to be driven and exhibited at historic motoring events. A particularly noteworthy feature is the characteristic cyclops headlamp and Vutotal frame-less windscreen, designed by Labourdette's Joseph Vigroux. Accompanying documentation consists of black and white pictures & DVD (showing a 1950 Vogue model posing next to the car), magazines features and current Belgian registration papers (with date of 1st registration 1939).

Described by the private vendor as in good condition throughout, recent work includes new battery, new brake cylinders and replacing the radiator and electric fuel pump. Georges Irat's final prototype is ready to be enjoyed by a new custodian as a tribute to this once-great French motor manufacturer.

Bonhams 1793
101 New Bond Street
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Bonhams Collectors’ Car department