Although they may not be the most famous cars in the world, French sports cars are well known for their beautiful and unique interior and exterior design features, top of the line performance, and rarity in the marketplace. French sports cars are some of the most sought after cars in the world. Collectors spend countless hours and untold resources on researching, sourcing, and obtaining the rarest French sports cars.
Bugattis are bringing notably large auction prices all over the world, along with Mercedes-Benzes and Ferraris. Collectors are dedicated to the beauty, performance, and handling that a French sports car offers. Interiors made of leather and stitched by hand, engines that offer over 200 horsepower, and owners that are famous make these already notorious cars even more valuable. Driving a French sports car can be a truly special experience. Collectors say that owning one can be a life changing experience.
History of French Sports Cars
The post WWII tax on cars punished owners of now-famous French sports cars like the Bugatti, Delage, Hotchkiss, and Delahaye. The French economy suffered greatly after the war, and taxes were imposed on owners of cars with engines larger than 2.8 litres. French drivers who yearned for the easy handling and quick response of a sports car turned to the foreign markets and did not have many other viable options in the French marketplace until the 1950’s.
Deutsch and Bonnet offered the DB, and Alpine made a car powered by a Renault engine, but they underperformed compared to their earlier counterparts. In 1969, the Jackie Stewart won the World Championship in the Mantra, a descendent of the earlier DB. The Alpine-Renault made a decent showing in that race as well.
Perhaps the most well know, although short-lived, French sports car manufacturer is Bugatti. Ettore Bugatti began designing and producing race cars for his own company in France in 1909. He worked on his designs for 30 years and produced his famous small racing car in 1911. At a time when most people were driven around by chauffeurs, Bugattis were considered the best small race car that could serve as both a daily driver and satisfy the wants of the particular clientele that preferred to drive themselves and keep racing as a hobby. The most successful of the Bugatti model was the Type 13; after 1921, nearly 2000 were sold. Ettore Bugatti died in 1947 and there was no one to leave the business to.
In 1987 Bugatti was brought back to life briefly through the EB110. The car was made between 1991 and 1995. With a V-12 engine and 592 horsepower, the EB110 had a mid-mounted quad-turbo engine that would provide one of the most exciting driving experiences in Europe at the time. The Bugatti logo and trademark is currently owned by Volkswagen.
In 1951, Jean Redele formed Alpine intending to focus solely on designing and producing racing vehicles. His first goal was to produce Renault’s 750 based racer. Known as the performance based arm of Renault, Alpine completed the 24 hours of Le Mans race 11 times between 1963 and 1978. After 7 class wins, they finally enjoyed a victory with their A442B prototype in 1978. Alpine enjoyed success in the European marketplace between 1969 and 1973 due to their solid Renault engines and have often been referred to as France’s Porsche due to the fact that the Renault engine sits in the tail end of the car. French drivers enjoyed tremendous notoriety in Grand Prix racing thanks to Alpine. In spite of the company’s success, financial difficulties prevailed in 1974 and Renault bought Alpine.
In 1990, Michel Hommell turned his attention from publishing the French car magazine, "Echappement", to making French sports cars. He showed his first automobile at the Paris Art Show, but did not really begin production until 1994. The two seat coupe had a Peugeot engine and a six-speed transmission. In 1998, the Barquette, a convertible, was unveiled at the same time as the Berlinette RS which had a powerful Citroen engine. By 2003, manufacturing had stopped due to financial difficulties.
PGO was started in 1985 by two friends who intended to only make replicas of famous French sports cars. Using their initials to name the company, Prevot Gilles and Olivier soon started creating their own cars, the first of which was the Speedster II. It was unveiled in 2000 at the Paris Motor Show. In 2005, the company was purchased by Al Sayer International and their infusion of resources produced the Cevennes roadster. The 2008 model, PGO Cévennes Roadster Turbo-CNG, has a turbocharged engine that allows the driver to go from 0-62 mph in 6.5 seconds. In 2008 the Hemera was unveiled. PGO remains a small scale French manufacturer.
Originally named Manufacture de Voitures de Sport, Venturi is famous for their Venturi Atlantique 300. Considered by collectors to be the french version of the world famous Ferrari, the Venturi Atlantique 300 has a fibreglass body and turbocharged PRV engine. Venturi filed for bankruptcy in 2000.
Modern French Sports Cars
There are currently three major car brands in France: Renault, Citroen, and Peugeot. In March of 1999, Renault merged with the Japanese car manufacturer, Nissan making it the fourth largest automobile manufacturer in the world. Peugeot is the second largest automobile manufacturer in Europe. Founded in 1810 as a family business, they sell automobiles under both the Peugeot and Citroen brand.
Between 1996 and 1999, Renault regained their good reputation by producing a car that provides the ultimate sports car driving experience. The classic Renault Spider is sought after by experienced collectors and budding enthusiasts alike.
The R5 Turbo was unleashed in the United States as "Le Car" in the 1970's and it is safe to say the concept did not go over well. The French version boasts a 158 horsepower, 1.4-litre turbo engine and rear wheel drive that makes for a fun ride, and differentiates it from the unpopular American version.
In April of 2013, Renault revealed their new concept car at their facility in Spain. The car is a prototype built for performance with a nod to Formula 1 race cars. The vehicle is completely electric. Renault’s Fluence Z.E. and ZOE are electric sports cars that are available in Europe. Both cars offer an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery with 88 horsepower. Renault ZOE boasts a top speed of 135 kilometres per hour and can travel 209 kilometres between charges.
Citroen was founded by a French engineer in 1919. Andre Citroen was soon to be the owner of the first automotive company to mass produce cars outside of the United States. In 1934, the company nearly went bankrupt trying to bring the Traction Avant to production. Michelin bailed them out, but Andre Citroen died shortly thereafter in 1935.
The Citroen 2CV has a dedicated following, and even though it is considered ugly by most, it has a reputation for delivering a fun ride. It has character, and fans of the Citroen 2CV acknowledge that what it lacks in performance, it makes up for in personality.
French car manufacturers have recently experienced massive success with luxury vehicles. Citroen offers the DS line to appeal to their most affluent customers by combining the kind of detail and quality that competes with BMW and Mercedes.
Peugeot is presently the second largest French car manufacturer in Europe. Their innovative design has made them famous on the small and medium sized car scene. Their long history of racing success has earned them the respect of the most dedicated collectors and motorsports enthusiasts as winner of the 1992 and 1993 Le Mans 24 hour race. Founded in 1889, they are the world’s oldest car manufacturer.
Shopping eBay Motors for French Sports Cars
Finding the vintage or modern French sports car you are looking for is easy when you know how to use eBay Motors. You can narrow your options by make or model easily by using the Categories feature. Find listings for a specific vehicle by entering the make and model of the car you are looking for into eBay’s search box. For a more specific result, try searching with the eBay Motors Category option. This allows you to also search by location, distance, or zip code.
You will not have to rely on your memory to help narrow down your options and find your favourite vehicle if you use eBay’s Compare button. Just mark the box next to the car you are interested in and click Compare. You will see items and details side by side for easy reference. If your specific searches do not yield the results you were hoping for, you can save a search on My eBay to receive an alert via email when the item you are looking for becomes available.
After you have read the listing carefully, send your questions directly to the seller by clicking the Contact Member link in the information box. It is a good idea to ask for more photos if there are parts of the car you want to see in greater detail. Sometimes a seller will include their phone number for serious buyers who are looking for very specific information.
By understanding how eBay and Paypal can help make your transaction easy and safe, carefully researching the car's seller, and taking the time to make sure you are purchasing the right French sports car on eBay motors, your journey to owning your dream car can be a rewarding one.
The deep and interesting history of French sports cars, their beauty, design, and precise styling, all fuel the enthusiast’s passion for this unique class of vehicle. A well maintained classic or modern sports car can bring years of joy to its owner. As worldwide interest in the particular genre of vehicle increases, so does the amount of information available to collectors. Whether you are a seasoned collector of French sports cars or brand new to the game with a budding interest in owning your first French sports car, eBay Motors is the right place to start your journey. Find what you are looking for by beginning your search.