jeudi 3 novembre 2022

The French presidential cars from 1900 to 1955 - English Version


The French Presidential Cars
from 1900 to 1955

 - English Version -

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(Sorry if there are errors in the meaning, word or verb of the expressions). 

Up date: 03/11/2022

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Charron-Girardot- Voigt 30CV Sedan of French President Armand FALLIERES
It is the French President Armand FALLIERES (President from 18/02/1906 to 18/02/1913) who will introduce the vehicles with explosion in the official displacements.
Arrival of French President Felix FAURE in Quimper on 08/08/1896
Indeed, before, and in spite of a multitude of French coachbuilders of cars with explosion like Peugeot, Renault, Berliet, Clément-Bayard, Delahaye, Panhard & Levassor, etc, the displacements were still carried out in carriage harnessed "with the d'Aumont", i.e. four or six horses of which those of left were assembled each one by a postillion.

French President Armand FALLIERES was passionate about cars and provided the French Presidency with various models such as this Panhard et Levassor Type J18CV Limousine.

French President Raymond Poincaré in a Berliet Torpedo in 1913
French President Raymond Poincaré (President from 18/02/1913 to 18/02/1920) will also continue to use combustion engine cars for his trips,

French President Poincaré leaving the Prefecture of Meuse on 17/08/1913
without abandoning the carriages.

Visit to London of the Japanese Crown Prince HIROHITO in 1921

However, more and more Presidents and Kings adopted cars called "Coupé de ville" to move officially as here with the young Prince Hirohito, future Emperor of Japan, with his Roll's Royce Silver Ghost in visit in London in 1921.

French President Poincaré travelling in a Panhard et Levassor Coupé de Ville
French President Raymond Poincaré will also opt for this type of car with this model from Panhard & Levassor.

Another model during the Poincaré Presidency, this Rochet Schneider Torpedo.
 French President Alexandre MILLERAND (President from 23/09/1920 to 11/06/1924) will drive a Renault 40Cv Type JD 1923.
He will also have a Voisin "Coupé de Ville".
The French following President, Gaston DOUMERGUE (President from 13/06/1924 to 13/06/1931) will also drive in a Renault 40 CV
as well as in a Voisin "Coupé de Ville" as can be seen during this visit to the Swiss Arts Exhibition on July 17, 1924.
French President Paul DOUMER (President from 13/06/1931 to 07/05/1932) will have a  Renault Reinastella.
This model can be opened, as here, at the time of its arrival at the time of its election on June 13, 1931 in the court of the Elysée, the French Presidential House.
The era of the 3rd Republic will have seen eight presidents of the Republic between 1899 and 1940. On May 10, 1932, it is President Albert LEBRUN who is elected and will remain so until July 11, 1940. He will drive the Renault Reinastella Type RM 2-3 1932.

This model had the particularity of having a fixed windscreen and full doors, but its roof was foldable.
He will also have a Renault Reinastella Convertible .

French President Albert LEBRUN also drove a Renault Reinasport type RM 6 bodied by coachbuilder KELLNER. Here it is during a review of the troops during the National Day of July 14.

Another prestigious model under the governance of French President LEBRUN, a Nervastella "Coupé de Ville".

This car could be lent during the visit of important people on French soil, as here, during the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on July 22, 1938 inaugurated the memorial of the Canadian soldiers in Villers-Bretonneux.
During the Second World War, French Marshal Pétain (11/07/1940 to 20/08/1944) took the title of Head of State. He will move in a Renault Vivastella Cabriolet.
We will also see him on board of foreign cars, as here on board of this Cadillac Fleetwood Serie 75 1939
French President Vincent AURIOL (President from 16/01/1947 to 16/01/1954) will take back the Renault Vivastella of the French Marshal Pétain.

He will also have at his disposal this Delahaye type 135 as we can see it here, leaving the city of Arras in July 1947.

A Talbot-Lago-Saoutchik T26 will also be a ceremonial vehicle of the French Presidency. Decorated with a cockade on the front of the hood, it will give great satisfaction.

However, French President René COTY decided that in order to welcome the guests of the Republic with dignity, the Presidency should have a French Prestige limousine. It will be the  Citroën 15/6 H FRANAY...

A convertible model will also be created: the Citroën 15/6 H Chapron.

This car continues in the line to allow the crowd to see the President of the Republic...
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And it can be recapped quickly when it rains...

Departure of President Charles de GAULLE after the inauguration of the Motor Show in 1963 aboard a Citroën 15/6 H Franay
The new President of the French Republic Charles De GAULLE (President from 08/01/1959 to 28/04/1969) will use them during his mandate, as well as new models from Citroën...

But this is another story to discover
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 - The French Presidential Cars -
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Visit of the French President Albert LEBRUN in St Brieuc in 1939

You may have noticed a large number of motorcyclists during the movements of presidential cars and this, from 1935. The reason is an immediate protection against the risk of a terrorist act or of an unbalanced person who would approach the Presidential Car. In fact, the assassination of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia in FRANCE, in the city of MARSEILLE, on October 09, 1934, showed the risk of bad protections around the Car.


Departure of the car of King Alexander 1st of Yugoslavia in the streets of Marseille on 09/10/1934

Back on this assassination to understand:

It was agreed that King Alexander 1st of Yugoslavia parade, before leaving by train to PARIS, in several streets of MARSEILLE, on board a car with the back opened to be seen by the crowd, but also by the reporters, photographers and cameramen.

Departure of the car of King Alexander 1st of Yugoslavia in the streets of Marseille on 09/10/1934

Initially planned with an escort of policemen on bicycles around the car, it was decided that two officers, with clear swords, would escort the car...


Departure of the car of King Alexander 1st of Yugoslavia in the streets of Marseille on 09/10/1934

But hardly had he gone 200 meters, when a man came out of the crowd and fired a dozen bullets inside the King's Car killing him on the spot and mortally wounding the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Louis BARTHOU.


Shooter on the running board of the car of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia

When the cameramen are filming, the shooter has already fired. The officer on horseback on the right will arrive too late. Only the driver of the car on the right will have time to hold the shooter from inside the car as can be seen on this picture...


Shooter on the running board of the car of King Alexander 1st of Yugoslavia

The officer will still shoot the gunman.


Shooter on the running board of the car of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia

Before the policemen stop him.


Departure of the car of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia after the shooting

But it was too late. Armed with a MAUSER semi-automatic pistol of 10 shots, this one allowed the assailant to shoot in burst in the car...


King Alexander 1st of Yugoslavia in the foreground and the Minister Louis BARTHOU

At that time, there were important risks of attack against this King...

Several mistakes were made:

1- A convertible car was easier for a killer to aim at his target

2- The windows of the car were lowered, which allowed the assailant to climb on the running board of the car and to spray the back of the car with his 10-shot pistol more easily...

3- Twelve police cyclists were supposed to surround the car and were replaced by two officers on horseback...


Here is a video of the time presenting this drama.


 Presidential Citroën DS 21 during a July 14th, early 70's
The principle of the motorized escort is to create a protective bubble which allows to adapt the speed of the motorcycle of escort to avoid any intrusion of a pedestrian in contact with the escorted car and thus to make a rampart between the aggressor and the VIP.  
Here is more information on this principle:

The threat can, for several years, arrive from the air with one or more drones, as seen above in this video during a speech by a Venezuelan president in 2018.
For this measures are taken in advance with jammers and observers.


Anti-drone fight
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of French Presidents

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