Thursday, October 1, 2015
Lambert was a French automobile manufacturer established by Germain Lambert in 1926 at Mâcon. In commercial terms it never progressed beyond marginal viability and it withdrew from auto-making towards the end of 1953.
Lambert’s first car, in 1926, featured an engine bought in from Ruby. A front-wheel drive model with the same Ruby engine followed in 1931. From 1933 a front wheel drive single cylinder cycle car was offered. During the war Lambert may have worked on electric vehicles. Germain Lambert is remembered chiefly as a skilled mechanic and enthusiastic participant in motor racing. He produced a few cars between 1926 and 1936, after which he appears to have lost interest in auto-making for the rest of the decade.
The Mâcon based Lambert business relocated in 1931 to Rheims which was a centre for motor racing in the 1930s. Soon after this Germain Lambert was running his own auto-repair workshop not too far away at Sainte-Menehould, and the business appears to have prospered allowing him in due course to return his attention to more exciting, if less financially stable, ventures. Lambert was still working out of his premises near Sainte-Menehould in 1940 at the time of the German invasion undertaking specialist jobs in connection with the auto-business and also components for saw-mills. Fuel for civilian use rapidly disappeared and Lambert found it inappropriate to travel the region on public transport to deliver small items to customers, so in 1940 he came up with a design for a cycle car and constructed two prototypes.
The emphasis, necessarily, was on light weight construction, with a tubular frame and timber superstructure. Overall the device weighed only 150 kg when empty. However, it was necessary to add 75 kg for the 24 volt batteries in order to power the ½ hp engine lurking somewhere under the bodywork. Rubber and tires being unavailable, the unsprung wheels were wrapped around with multiple layers of bandage which made for a firm ride. The vehicle could move only slowly, and managed a range of very roughly 20 kilometers (12 miles) between charges. These were troubled times, and Lambert was able to have his cycle car homologated for sale, but he soon rejected the idea, ostensibly because he could not bring himself to produce such a slow and ugly “car”.