April 18, 2009

Rosengart Supertraction

A little history

Lucien Rosengart began building cars bearing his name in 1927, imitating another industrialist with whom he had been connected during the Great War, André Citroën. Instead of designing his own automobile, Rosengart simply got a license from Austin to produce its Seven, believing a market existed in France for such a small vehicle, but had been neglected by major manufacturers. A few years later Rosengart widened its range with larger models, using the same method of licensing a foreign car for production in France, but contracting this time with Adler. The German company was a pioneer in mass-produced front-wheel-drive automobiles, a layout Rosengart opted for when it finally designed its very own car by the end of the Thirties: the Supertraction, unveiled in 1938. Though this low and streamlined convertible was fitted at first with a four-cylinder engine, it was soon available with a V8 provided by American newcomer Mercury. Unfortunately this would prove a very bad time for launching an ambitious new car. France was at war by 1939, and invaded by 1940. Rosengart, a Jew, fortunately left his country on time and sought refuge in the United States for the duration of the conflict. When he returned, he found his plant badly damaged, but nonetheless started production again. Sadly the segment of the market Rosengart had occupied before the war was now taken over by the Renault 4 CV, the Panhard Dyna and, soon thereafter, by the Citroën 2 CV, all produced in such volumes Rosengart could only dream of. The Vivor, another derivative of the old Austin Seven, then its replacements the Ariette and the Sagaie sold poorly, and Rosengart finally went bankrupt in 1955.

About the model

Model: Rosengart Supertraction
Year: 1939
Maker: Ixo
Scale: 1/43
Distributed by: Altaya as no.50 of its Voitures Classiques press series
Acquired: brand new, in November 2007, in Souillac, France

Most models of convertibles are proposed either with the hood up or the hood down. Ixo chose an original option for its Supertraction: à la Mylord, a possibility offered by French and British convertibles of the Thirties, in which the hood is set in an intermediate position covering the rear seats, but not the front. This gives this elegant Rosengart a look typical of its time. Though definitely not a high-end model, this model still appears as a fine product from the Chinese die-casts maker. It is relatively detailed, with many separate parts perfectly glued in position onto the body. The pressed steel wheels fitted with hubcaps are well rendered. The front lights seem realistic enough, but the rear lights are just painted. Being moulded with the body, the door handles unsurprisingly looks a little too flat. In my opinion, this pleasant model deserves a 13/20.




No comments: