1953 Reyonnah 1951

A175 Roadster Prototype

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1953
  • Car type 
    Convertible / Roadster
  • Chassis number 
    101
  • Engine number 
    4HC14083
  • Lot number 
    364
  • Drive 
    LHD
  • Condition 
    Restored
  • Interior colour 
    Blue
  • Number of seats 
    2
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Beige
  • Gearbox 
    Manual
  • Drivetrain 
    2wd
  • Fuel type 
    Petrol

Description

French title
Chassis n° 101
Engine n° 4HC14083

- Fascinating history
- Prototype from small series
- In constructor's family from new
- Exceptional state of preservation

At the end of the 1940s, Robert Hannoyer observed that 90% of vehicles were used by the driver alone. Moreover, after the war, there was an enormous demand for economical means of transport, and so Hannoyer threw himself into building a microcar. To resolve parking problems and enable the car to fit in restricted spaces, he engineered an ingenious way to fold in the front wheels. Over a three-year period, he worked on the project in the back of his wife's shop assembling it in the garage of his car repair business in Porte de Champerret, Paris (where two prototypes were built). Working without a design, he created an elegant body and equipped his tiny car with a single cylinder AMC 175cc engine with electric starter. Once finished, he gave it his name spelt backwards, Reyonnah, and took a stand at the 1950 Paris Motor Show. This was success ! Orders were taken, glowing test-drive reports appeared in the press and the version with Duralinox shell (prototype no. 1) established several records including one at Montlhéry. The car also participated in various concours d'élégance including one at Enghien-les-Bains with the actress Paulette Dubost.
Commercial production was envisaged and a few examples were built (a dozen according to the constructor), but logistical problems brought the project to an end. Robert Hannoyer kept his prototype and the record-breaking version. A new chapter began during the 1980s when Hannoyer's banker spotted photos of the car in his office, and having heard the extraordinary story, decided to display the Reyonnah in the entrance hall of the bank. The tiny car began a new life ; once restored it took part in several automobile exhibitions, was the subject of various articles and even a TV programme on French channel TF1.
After the death of his father, the son Jean-Pierre took care of the car until 2000, when it emerged again, making an appearance at Retromobile in 2001.
It is prototype no. 2 of this unusual car that is on offer in the sale today. Registered in 1953, it was this car that was displayed in the concours d'élégance in the company of Paulette Dubost, and was exhibited at the 1954 Paris Motor Show, where it can be seen in a photo with the president Coty. This car, so carefully preserved by the Hannoyer family, remains in completely original configuration with lateral tipping roof (a system designed before the Messerschmitt), its hood, seat mounted on runners to facilitate access (patented device) and AMC engine. Only the indicators were added during the 1980s to allow the car to drive on public roads. The paintwork and upholstery date from 1982, the period the car came out of the shadows to be put on display. A test-drive carried out with the constructor's son demonstrated that it remains in good working order.
The car comes with a substantial file of photos and copies of press cuttings that retrace the car's history, as well as a copy of the TF1 report from 1984.
Today, this Reyonnah is a fascinating witness of the preoccupations of 1940s Europe when, as again today, space and economy were key concerns. In fact, there are many reasons this car is exceptional: as a prototype of a series limited to10 examples, for its clever design, elegant form, high build quality, for being owned by the constructor's family from new, for its exceptionally well preserved condition, a wonderful history....A rare set of characteristics that is bound to capture the attention of microcar enthusiasts...

We would be happy to put the new owner in contact with the son of the constructor, if desired, to find out more about the history of this automobile.