Hotchkiss Classic Cars for Sale
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Hotchkiss cars were made by Hotchkiss et Cie, a French arms manufacturer. They produced their first car in 1903 and their last in 1955, although they continued to produce military vehicles until the 1970s. Some of their most successful models were the AM and the Paris-Nice. Hotchkiss also gave their name to a power transmission system, the Hotchkiss drive, which they developed in the 1920s. It is still used today by many SUVs and pick-up trucks.
The early years of Hotchkiss
Although Hotchkiss was a French-based motor company, its founder was an American. Benjamin Hotchkiss was a weapons engineer from Connecticut who moved to France and set up a factory near Paris in 1867. He made weapons and explosives for the French government, and developed the Hotchkiss gun; a revolving barrel machine gun. Hotchkiss diversified into car manufacture and their first civilian car, the type C, was introduced in 1903. This was a 17 CV four-cylinder model that was based on the Mercedes Simplex and used ball bearing engines. In 1907 the company introduced two six-cylinder models, the Type L and the Type O.
Success for Hotchkiss between the wars
The outbreak of World War One concentrated French production on weapons and Hotchkiss opened a subsidiary factory in Coventry, UK. Car production did not resume in France until 1919. The Coventry plant designed the Hotchkiss AM in 1923; a four-cylinder 45 hp car. It had a manual 4-speed transmission with a side valve distribution and reached a top speed of around 100 km/h. It was offered in torpedo, sedan, coupe and convertible design and remained in production until 1928. A later version, the AM2, had the same engine but included overhead valves that improved performance to 50 hp with a speed of 105 km/h. The AM2 was introduced in 1926 and the AM80 in 1928. The latter had considerable racing success, winning at the 1920 Paris-Nice Rally and the 1932 Monte Carlo Rally. In 1934, the Hotchkiss Paris-Nice was introduced; a closed car with 115 bhp at 3500 rpm with twin downdraught Solex carburetors. This did well in the 1938 and 1939 Monte Carlo Rally. The outbreak of WWII shifted manufacture to tanks and other military vehicles and the invasion of France led them to evacuate the Paris car factory in 1940. Some new models were introduced after the war, including the Anjou, Antheor and Gregoire, but production stopped in 1952 with only 247 Gregoire cars sold. In 1954 Hotchkiss merged with Delahaye and ceased car production.
The Hotchkiss logo
The badge for the Hotchkiss marque is made from a pair of crossed cannons, in reference to their origins as arms manufacturers. These are surrounded by a circular army belt on which are written the words ‘Hotchkiss, Paris.’