A Brief History of the Marque
Manufactured at 60 Rue Gutemberg, St Etienne, Paris
During the mid 1950's the firm marketed various models of motorcycles, mopeds, mofas, and velomoteurs under the Mercier brand and several others including André Leducq, Lapébie, Antonin Magne and Louison Bobet. These machines were all very similar, being based on their Vacances model, and the brands were the names of famous riders of Mercier bicycles. This form of marketing ceased in 1955, possibly as a result of a spat with officials involved in the Tour de France, an entertaining account of which may be found at BuyVintage.com
The smallest of them had an auxilliary engine and was driven directly to the rear tyre (similar to the velosolex driving the front), and the mofa was also sold in Switzerland.
The Vacances was built by Mercier from 1954 to 1960
A 1954 model had a Le Poulain Comet 98cc engine (50x50mm) with a two speed gearbox, claimed maximum speed 68 km/h. The frame number is stamped into the left rear frame tube.
Mercier merged with Ravat, and was eventually acquired by a Dutch group which now builds bicycles in Adrezieux-Boutheon.
M. Mercier built a miltary mono-half-track in 1937, a most unusual front-track drive "motorcycle" the purpose of which is elusive. It had a 350cc JAP engine mounted in the vicinity of the handlebars. At least two prototypes were created but it did not enter production. One souce claims that it was developed from an early Spagthorpe, but this seems unlikely.
Also prior to the war, Mercier built a tiny V-twin which sat on a wheeled platform with a handle, designed to tow the "rider" on roller-skates. Fuel tank, batteries and ignition coils were carried on the rider's belt.
Bourdache has a listing for Mercier at 4 rue Jacques Coeur, Paris, who in 1899 built tricycles powered by De Dion-Bouton engines.
There is reference to the Speicher marque in relation to Mercier.
Sources: Bourdache p287, et al.
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