Rare Rosengart Supertraction for sale in Belgium

If you would like a distinctive Traction cabriolet, you might want to make an offer on this 1939 Supertraction LR539 by Rosengart:


In the late 1930’s the Rosengart factory in Neuilly France made about 1000 Supertractions but fewer than 80 are known to survive.

Lucien Rosengart (1881 – 1976) was a gifted engineer and businessman who had established a successful engineering business by the time he was 24.  In the mid-1920s, he saw the opportunity to produce a very small car for a segment of the market in France that he believed was not being properly covered by any of the major players like Renault, Peugeot and Citroën.  In 1923 he purchased a license to build the English Austin 7 and with support from the engineer Jules Salomon he purchased the old Bellanger factory at Neuilly.  The site was a large one and in the early years the business appeared set to fill it.

In 1927 production began of the Rosengart LR2 automobile which appeared on the market in 1928, at the same time as the precursor of the first BMW automobile, also an Austin 7 built under license, was appearing in Germany.  Numerous variants of the Rosengart LR2 were produced and the car remained in production at least till 1939.

Rosengart Lr2-torpedo-sport-1929

The LR2 was promoted for its reliability. A production car driven by covering 900 km (560 mi) per day for more than three and a half months until it had notched up 100,000 km (62,000 mi) without any major mishap.  (François Lecot is the same fellow that drove a Traction Avant 250,000 kms to prove its reliability for Citroën).

From 1931 the car appeared in modified form as the Rosengart LR4, now heavily differentiated from its Austin origins, and the model’s robust character was demonstrated by several other long distance trials.

Rosengart Lr4-torpedo

In the early 1930s Rosengart teamed up with the German manufacturer Adler, offering license built copies of the Adler Trumpf and Trumpf Junior, small front-drive cars that bolstered its range.  It also added a conventional rear-driven car along the lines of a stretched and widened Austin.  The development of front-wheel drive models led to the elegant Rosengart Supertraction model in 1937 – which competed with larger cars like the Peugeot 402 and the Berliet Dauphine for the first time in Rosengart’s short history.

Rosengart Supertaction

By 1936 Rosengart himself was in financial difficulties, (partially because of the development costs and the Supertraction, a situation not unlike André Citroën faced with the development on the Traction Avant) and he transferred the company to a new organization, Societé Industrielle de l’Ouest Parisien (SIOP).

Lucien Rosengart negotiated with Citroën a supply of Traction Avant motors to power its LR539.  In fact Supertractions had the engine, gearbox, dashboard, and many other elements of the Citroën Traction 11.   But it kept the Adler elements for the rear axle.  The previous version did not have much personality, so Lucien Rosengart decided to completely review the model and a new version was presented March 16, 1939 at the Pavilion of Amenonville. Its new seductive line had it being considered one of the most beautiful French cars of the year.

Even so, the Supertraction failed to sell in numbers sufficient to justify the investment involved.  The factory was destroyed by the German Army following the German invasion.  While the business was able to survive the German occupation but did not produce cars during the conflict.  Meanwhile Lucien Rosengart, spent the war years in exile in the United States, returning to France after the war and tried to guide his company back to the production of the small cars on which its success in the 1920s and 1930s had been based.  While the small cars achieved relatively satisfactory volumes, the slim margins at the lower end of the market provided a clue as to why the mainstream French auto-makers had tended to avoid it and ultimately Rosengart closed its doors in the summer of 1955.

At 75.000 euros, this rare Supertraction is probably a good investment.

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