1942 Mathis VL333 Prototype

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1942 Mathis VL333 Prototype 1942 Mathis VL333 Prototype 1942 Mathis VL333 Prototype Mathis was a firm in Alsace, France, that produced cars between 1910 and 1950. Before World War II, Mathis was the number 4 car manufacturer in France. The VL333 is built from 20 gauge aluminum sheet metal. The body is welded together with nearly 6,000 weld points. There is no chassis, it is a bubble. The engine is a flat-twin 700cc, and the car is front-wheel drive with fully independent suspension. Only nine prototypes were made during the war from 1940 to 1945; they were hidden from the Germans, as any work on automobiles for the civilian sector was forbidden.

After the war, founder Emile Mathis tried to find new projects including this 'flattened egg-shaped' 700 cc three-wheeler Mathis VL333 first exhibited in 1945. Having spent the war in the United States, Mathis was not well connected with the post-Vichy political class. When the VL333 was presented at the 1946 Paris Auto Show, it failed to impress the authorities. Mathis switched tack, producing a front-wheel-drive prototype with a flat-six (2.8 L) engine and an eye-catching 'panoramic' style windscreen. Even these post-war projects failed, and the factory only remained open by building engines for light aircraft and components for Renault. Mathis closed in 1950. This is believed to be the only surviving VL333.

This particular example, part of the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum, was presented at the Paris Auto Show in 1946. Unfortunately, the French Government refused Mathis access to supplies to manufacture the car. The VL333 was doomed and this car is the only survivor.

1942 Mathis VL333 Prototype

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