French

Motocyclettes fabriquées en France (U,V,W)

Notes on some of the rarer French marques

This page lists brands for which we currently have only an historical precis. There is also a page on really obscure French brands.
For a more complete listing visit the French Index.

U

Uldry 1920s


Unica
Built a 250cc motorcycle in 1928 powered by an OHV Zurcher engine, with a Burman gearbox.
There is only one survivor, and it has been identified as a Ravat type ESS6.
A Unica bicycle brand existed in the 1950s built by Emile Trétarre in Roanne at 9 rue Carnot. It is not known if there was a relationship.

Sources: Motos dans la Loire, lva-moto.fr.


Urago
Bicycle business in Nice (Boulevard du Riquier) believed to have built motorcycles. Founded by Dominique Urago with his brothers François and Joseph in the mid 1930s, the firm produced bicycles until 1964 and operated until 2009. The bicycles were highly regarded and were exported to the United States.
Sources: encycloduvelo.fr, classiclightweights.net


V

vacances logo

Vacances
Built by Mercier from 1954 to 1960, some models had the 98cc Comet engine from Le Poulain
Sources: LMF


Vallière
Motor-bicycle with 2-stroke engine. Engaged in the M.C.F. in 1903. Rider: Jangneau.
Bourdache p166


Valter

Paul Nicolas Valter was born in 1868 in Dieuze (Moselle), which at the time was German territory. He gained French nationality in 1898, after having served with the French forces.

He established the Valter company in Paris around 1896 as a bicycle manufacturer. Advertisements appeared in 1901 for a Bicyclette à pétrole fitted with a Valter 2½ h.p. engine.

The following year a new company was formed with his partner Caroline Meyer, and the name for the new machine was La Foudre.

Source lestricars.es.tl


Vampire (Engines)
G.M.R. 8 Bd Gouvion St Cyr, Paris 17
From 1950 to 1954 they built 48cc 2-speed two-stroke engines.
There is mention of a marque named Vampire à Le Cannet in the same period, listed as using ABG VAP engines.
Sources: La Moto Francaise, buyvintage.com


Vannod
Louis Vannod of Neuilly (Seine-Saint-Denis) began building sidecars in the 1920s, and in 1958 displayed a three-wheeler with three seats at the Paris Salon.

Source: OTTW


Variomatic (Engines)
S.C.A.M.O., 14 Rue Robespierre, Bagnolet (Seine)
In 1955 they produced 49cc engines
Source: La Moto Francaise
N.B. This possibly relates to Société Colomb, Bagnolet


Vial
Based in Grenoble, Vial was authorised by M. Rocher to sell the Cucciolo engines which they built under licence. The machine pictured uses a frame by Verlicchi.

Source: PA


Vaurs
Motorcycle which entered the Paris-Madrid 1903 event, ridden by its creator, Vaurs, who invented the carburettor of the same name.
Bourdache pp 172, 222, 252.


Veloserwa
These were four-stroke engines manufactured by Soma in St Etienne used by Alcyon in 1948. Production lasted until about 1954.
See also Serwa
Source: Motos dans la Loire


Veloto Mopeds 1948


Véloto Microcars
Manufactured by Jean Bellier, Societe BEL-Motors, Les Sables-d'Olonne, 1976-1980.
Bellier initially built 50cc microcars for children from 1968, followed by Velosolex-powered 2-seaters named the Buggy F85 which could be driven sans permis. It was produced until 1976 and was widely exported. Other models: Type A was pedal start; Type B had electric start activated via the ignition key; Type BL had a Motobecane 49cc engine and spoked wheels; the C-10 S was introduced in 1979, followed in 1980 by the Minoto with a polyester and aluminium body. The Minoto did not enter production, and that year the company name changed to Bellier - see bellier.fr.
There is no relationship with the Veloto company of the 1950s.
Sources: Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum, Wikpedia.


Velox
73 rue Claude Deschamps, Paris
Motorcycle entered in the one third of a litre criterium of 1903, and again in 1905 under the marque Velox-Levraux, ridden by Daudre.
In 1906 they built tricars and Velox engines.
Bourdache p209


Villard
Villard cyclecar, two-stroke, tadpole style. Pre-1935. There is also a M. Villard mentioned under Vimer.


Villemain
35 rue Arago, Puteaux
Constructed motorcycles and tricars, and supplied engines to Contal and Chanon.
The firm was established by Eugene Villemain who was joined by his two sons Benoît-Eugène Villemain and his brother Alfred Pierre who was also a motorcycle and automobile racer.
Alfred died in an accident on August 3, 1907 - due to a reporting error it has frequently been stated that it was his father Eugene who died on that date. Eugene died in 1914.
Benoît continued with the business manufacturing car parts in Puteaux until 1922.
In 1904 and 1905 a Villemain motorcycle participated in the Criterium events.
Bourdache pp 93, 209, 220.
See also lestricars.es.tl


Vimer
Pre-war address: 188 rue d'Alesia (Paris 14)
Manufactured by Ets. DF Constructors, Gentilly Seine, these were small two-stroke engines of 45 and 48cc built from 1950-57. The Vimer engine was used in the Wereld moped of the Netherlands.
The Vimer name is derived from that of M. Villard who is believed to have traded as Vimer-Mercier, so there was possibly a relationship with the Mercier firm. DF built aviation components both before and after the war, and closed in 1969.
Sources: Wikipedia NL, Philippe Lefebvre (Motos Francaise archive).


Vindex
Cycles and mopeds in produced in Saint Etienne. A photograph shows a moped with a Vap4 engine.

Source: Motos dans la Loire


Vinet
25 rue Brunel, Paris
Built motor tricycles and quadricycles powered by De Dion, 1899
Bourdache p442


Violette
Manufactured by Malinge & Laulan, Angers, 1901
Established in 1869, the firm produced bicycles and, from 1899, automobiles and petroleum tricycles powered by De Dion-Bouton engines. These were built in their factory on rue Béclard and sold from their garage at 23 rue Paul-Bert, Angers.
Source: encycloduvelo.fr


V.L.T. Engines


W

Washington
Produced by Mercier (1899).
Bourdache


Wéthy
Built BMA machines in the late 40s and possibly 1950s. Their address in 1932 was 51 Rue Désiré Claude in St Etienne, and H. Mathevet may have been the owner.
Source: Motos dans la Loire


White-Star

The marque is possibly from c1932, and the constructor may have been Pertuisot of 23 Rue des Acacias, Paris.

Two images both show similar models with 350cc Staub-JAP OHV engines with 3 speed gearboxes. No manufacturer details are on the images, and fairly exhaustive searches have proved unfruitful.

La Moto Francaise


Winster
Images show a badge on the steering stem which reads "Winster PMP", apparently French. Frame almost bare, no engine or tank. Front guard has toolbox mounted on it, making it quite distinctive.
Remains of gearbox and clutch, chain drive, sans pedales, rigid with girder forks, tank mounted between upper and lower frame rails.
La Moto Francaise


Sources

French Resources
Bourdache