Rally Automobiles ABC Grand Sports 1097

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Rally Automobiles


ABC Grand Sports 1097





Automobiles Rally was a small company which made sporting automobiles in Colombes, a northwestern suburb of Paris. The company traded from 1921 until 1933, but they did not manage to survive the Great Depression. Known for sporting and handsomely designed cars, Rally competed with other French cyclecar makers of the era such as Amilcar, B.N.C., and Salmson.

The company was founded in 1921 by Eugène Affovard Asnière, an engineer. His first product was a classic cyclecar equipped with a 989 cc Harley-Davidson V-twin engine. As is typical of most producers in this category, subsequent automobiles (beginning in 1922) used proprietary engines (usually of about 1.1 litres) and transmissions from producers like Chapuis-Dornier, CIME, Ruby, or S.C.A.P. The early Rallys were long, sleek, and light and seated two. On early cars the passenger seat was mounted slightly farther back than the driver's seat, although this was later changed so as to improve comfort.

At the 1926 Paris Salon the underslung Grand Sport was shown, with a supercharged 1,093 cc Chapuis-Dornier engine of 70 PS (51 kW). This enabled a top speed of circa 180 km/h (110 mph). 14 to 16 Grand Sports were built, beginning in 1927. Three still exist. In 1928 a Grand Sport cost FF 42.900. Mechanical drum brakes and a three-speed manual transmission was the norm for Rally's cars of the twenties.

In 1927 the Rally ABC, was available with three inline-four engine options of 1,093, 1,170, or 1,494 cc. Roots superchargers were also available for some of the engines. Wheelbases ranged between 2.3 and 2.5 m (91 and 98 in), while a 31 PS (23 kW) "1100" could reach about 135 km/h (84 mph). "ABC" signified abaissée, or lowered, reflecting its underslung chassis. The ABC series was retired in 1930. From 1931 the 1,300 cc (65 x 98 mm) twin-cam Salmson S4 unit was used in the new N-series, a slightly sturdier model which replaced the delicate ABC. The Salmson-engined cars also received a four-speed gearbox and often carried a "Salmson" as well as a "Rally" logo on the grille. Salmson had stopped their competition programme and were happy to allow Rally to advertise their wares. The N was also available in a more sporting short wheelbase model, the NC (for court) and also as the more powerful NCP (court puissée, or "short and powerful"). An R-series was also briefly offered with an all-new 1,480 cc straight-eight from S.C.A.P., but this may have remained a prototype. In 1932, for Rally's last appearance at the Paris Motor Show, the new RS model was shown - it received the new 1,466 cc S4C engine, although the smaller N series remained available.

Rally ABC's were also entered into the 1932 and 1933 Mille Miglia road races, and finished third and fourth at the San Sebastián Grand Prix. Another ABC finished third at the 1929 "Double Twelve" (a 24-hour race broken into two parts, as nighttime racing was not permitted there) at Brooklands.

Rally was not strong enough to survive the economic depression of the early thirties, and the company was shuttered in 1933 (or 1934) after having spent perhaps a little too much on competition efforts. A significant proportion of the limited production of Rally cars have been carefully conserved and see use in classic events.

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