French Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Amstoutz Motorcycle Engines

Established in 1900, Emile Amstoutz was an engineer and motorcycle engine manufacturer in Besançon who built Mirus and A.Z. powerplants.

Motorcycles may also have been produced under the Amstoutz brand.

Mirus bicycle auxiliary engines mounted on the front wheel were built from 1902, and conventional engines were supplied to Andru in 1904, Pannetton in 1906, and also to Aiglon.

A Mirus is in the collection of Maurice Chapleur

AZ Engines

Factory at 27 quai de Strasbourg, Besançon.

Engines manufactured by Emile Amstoutz 1900-1908, these were suitable for mounting on the front wheel of a bicycle. A partnership was established with Louis Ravel in 1906. The engines were used by Cottereau and probably others.

Louis Ravel had considerable experience having founded, in 1898, an automobile construction factory in Neuilly sur Seine. He built a new factory in the same area, and then sold the company to Edmond Gentil (founder of Alcyon) in 1902. He formed a new company and continued to build engines in Paris until moving to Besançon, in eastern France near the Swiss border, to join the Amstoutz concern. After leaving Amstoutz he began a new automobile company, Zenith, and over the following years took out many patents. The Zenith cars wee sold in many parts of Europe and in Great Britain, and were well received. The 1929 crash took its toll, and he was forced to close up shop. He died the following year, at the age of 58.

Sources: Bourdache (pp 224, 280, 302.), OTTW,

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