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An Elfe Cycle Car at a 1921 Gaillon France Race Meeting


Check out the unusual construction of this French Elfe Cycle Car. It is based on a sheet-metal chassis with a cable-operated pivoting front axle sprung by coil springs. The rear axle is located by links and sprung with cantilever springs. The 20-degree Anzani air-cooled engine is cooled by a belt-driven fan. The photo is courtesy of the French National Museum via Isabelle Bracquemond.

4 responses to “An Elfe Cycle Car at a 1921 Gaillon France Race Meeting

  1. The car was built by Eugene Mauve – that’s him in the photo – at Vierzon in the French Departement of Cher. The car had a motorcycle gearbox, a multi-plate clutch and a chain which took the drive to the rear axle. It is not clear if the V-twin Arzani engine had a capacity of 703cc (80mm x 70 mm) or 984cc. In Mike Hawkes excellent book on cyclecar racing, he makes no mention of a race as such as Gaillon in 1921, so Mauve was in all probability competing in the well-known hill climb in October.

    It would appear that the first racing appearance of an Elfe was in the 1920 Cyclecar Grand Prix at Le Mans. Four of them were entered, but Pouliez’ car, which was said to have an Elfe engine, no less, failed to start. The other three, which were driven by Mauve, Andre Rousseau and Lacour were all Anzani-powered. At least one of them, maybe all four, were two-seaters in tandem formation with two motorcycle saddles. Out of fifteen starters, an Elfe finished fourth with a driver named Blanc, which was presumably a pseudonym.

    In 1921 Mauve competed in the Grand Prix at Provins, but retired on the first lap after hitting a tree at 70mph, which must have been just about the top speed of the little car. A week later, he failed to start in the Boulogne Grand Prix; in all likelihood both driver and car were still, as he might have put it, hors de combat. In that year’s Cyclecar Grand Prix at Le Mans, Mauve again entered an Anzani-powered car, but did not figure in the results. In addition to these races, Elfes probably took part in French hill climbs. Apart from Gaillon, it is not known in which of these events the single-seater took part.

    In the 1922 Cyclecar Grand Prix, two Elfes were driven by Colognes and Dayot. As they were both in the 1100cc class, their Anzani engines were probably the 984cc version.

    The following year Mauve started to produce cars bearing his name. They were more conventional with a front mounted engine and shaft drive, but unfortunately they seem to have been no more successful than their predecessors.

  2. Brousing through the archives of, I came across a photo of Mauve in the tandem Elfe. David posted it on December 19, 2012, but without any identification.

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