1956 Mochet Velocar CM-125Y Berline

 

 

“Isn’t this is a bicycle museum?” you might be asking. “What’s a car doing on these hallowed pages?” Ordinarily, of course, there certainly is an acknowledged gulf between cars and the humble bicycle. But Charles Mochet was no ordinary car manufacturer. He was the pioneer manufacturer of recumbents and velocars. Velo being the French word for bicycle, a velocar really is a bicycle car.

This 1956 Mochet is the final Velocar model. Production of the Mochet ceased as a result of a change in French laws which, up until then, had allowed small vehicles under 125cc to be driven without license or registration However, the original four-wheeled Velocar design was essentially two bicycles side by side, without engine, and a wooden body. Mochet’s first cyclecar, for his son George, can be seen above.

Mochet had been experimenting with Velocars since the 1910s. Velocars sold well to French buyers who could not afford a motor car. The four-wheeled Velocars were fast but they didn’t corner well at high speed, so Mochet experimented with a three-wheel design and then finally settled on a two wheel design – in effect, a recumbent bicycle – to use for speed events.

Looking for a way demonstrate the speed of his recumbent bicycle, Charles Mochet’s stroke of genius was to make what was the first performance Recumbent bicycle (‘vélo couché’) using a design based on half of a four-wheeled Velocar. This brilliant machine, called by the factory the ‘Velo-Velocar’, or ‘V-V’ for short, broke many world cycling records in 1933.

Below you can see the 1932 prototype Velocar recumbent bicycle.

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Mochet convinced cyclist Francis Faure, who was not one of the top cyclists, to ride the two-wheeled Velocar in races. Faure was highly successful, defeating many of Europe’s top cyclists both on the track and in road races, and setting new world records at short distances. Another cyclist, Paul Morand, won the Paris-Limoges race in 1933 on one of Mochet’s recumbents.

Then on 7 July 1933 at a Paris velodrome, Faure rode a Velocar 45.055 km (27.9 miles) in one hour, smashing an almost 20-year-old hour record held by Oscar Egg. Since the one hour record was one of the most important in all of cycling, that accomplishment attracted a great deal of attention. Less than two months later, on 29 August 1933, Maurice Richard, riding an upright bicycle, also bettered Egg’s one hour record.

When the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) met in February, 1934, manufacturers of upright bicycles lobbied to have Faure’s one-hour record declared invalid. On 1 April 1934, the UCI published a new definition of a (racing) bicycle that specified how high the bottom bracket could be above the ground, how far it could be in front of the seat and how close it could be to the front wheel. The new definition effectively banned recumbents from UCI events and guaranteed that upright bicycles would not have to compete against recumbents. For all intents and purposes, the ban is still in effect.

Charles Mochet died suddenly in 1934, just after the UCI ban. The business was carried on by his widow and his son Georges. After the war, Georges continued making mainly powered microcars in the ‘Sans Permis’ category until 1957. He also continued to ride and develop recumbent bicycles, and died in 2008.

This Berline is one of the last of the Mochet Velocars…

 

1956 Mochet Velocar 03

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1956 Mochet Velocar CM-125Y Berline

125cc Ydral Engine

 

CM-125Y Berline3

 

The Mochet Velocar is in very well-preserved original unrestored condition. The only ‘update’ I’ve detected is carpeting on the inside of the doors. The body is solid, without anything more than surface rust. The roof fabric is intact and without any damage; I would be wary of folding it down though. The petrol tank was removed and steamed cleaned a few years ago. It starts and runs, and has a new 6v battery. However, it has not been on the road for many years, so will need the usual titivation (and registration) before it plays with traffic.

 

 

x1956 Mochet Velocar 10

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CM-125Y Berline1

1957: Miss France tests the Mochet suspension…

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In 1949, Mochet also put his name on the Velostyle cyclemotor…

Mochet Velostyle (1949)

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MOCHET VIDEO

 

TO SEE A SHORT VIDEO OF THE ENGINE RUNNING

ON YOUTUBE

PLEASE CLICK HERE

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MOCHET INTERIOR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 GEAR SELECTOR & ENGINE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1932 MOCHET VELOCAR (TWO-WHEEL)

TO SEE THE

1932 Mochet Velocar Modele Sport Recumbent Prototype

At the Online Bicycle Museum

PLEASE CLICK HERE

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 1929-1932 MOCHET VELOCARS

 

Mochet1929

 

ABOVE: 1929

BELOW: 1932

1932 Mochet

 

MOCHET VELOCAR

 

velocar

 

 

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1956 Mochet Velocar 88