Wednesday, August 15, 2012

DARRACQ - Racing pioneer


Alexandre Darracq (1855-1931) , a Frenchman , created Gladiator Cycle Company in 1891 and was very successful in the business. In 1896 , he sold the bicycle company and formed Automobiles Darracq et Cie. Initially Automobiles Darracq was involved in electric carriages, Millet motorcycles and Leon Bollee automobiles.  In 1900, Darracq built its first car and was the first to use pressed steel chasis and was one of the first cars to be manufactured using factory machine as compared to skilled labour.

A 1901 , 6.5 HP Darracq -


Alexandre Darracq expanded his geographical footprint by licensing his car designs.

In 1902, he licensed his design to Adam Opel of Germany who made cars branded as Opel-Darracq in Germany.

In 1905 , he formed A. Darracq and Company in Britain.

1906 , he licensed his design to a group of Italians and formed the company Societa Automobili Italiana Darracq (SAID) in Milan. This company did not do well and in 1909, a new company was formed Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Autombili (A.L.F.A). This company flourished and was later taken over by Nicola Romeo which became Alfa Romeo.  A 1910, 24 HP A.L.F.A-



In 1907 , he licensed his design to Spain and formed Sociedad Anonima Espanola de Automiviles Darracq.

Darracq was heavily involved in racing and Darracq cars won many race events. Darracq was holding the land speed record in 1904 and 1905. Louis Chevrolet was one of the famous test drivers for Darracq. A Darracq racer -


Alexandre Darracq retired from business in 1913 and sold out his holdings to Britisher Owen Clegg who took charge of Automobiles Darracq. In 1919, Darracq acquired Talbot and in the next year Talbot-Darracq was merged with Sunbeam to form Sunbeam-Talbot- Darracq (STD) combine.

The STD combine collapsed in 1935 and was taken over by Rootes group. Rootes group went in to financial trouble in 1964 and was acquired by Chrysler Eurpoe. In 1978, Peugeot and Renault acquired the brands from Chrysler Europe.

The Darracq logo -