Friday, 04 March 2022 02:40
Sovam Sports CarWritten by Guus Docen
The large Industrial Company SOVAM (SOciété des Véhicules André Marin) provides specialist passenger and freight handling equipment to meet the very demanding ‘apron facilities’ requirements of airports – from passenger transit walkways, to freight transfer, baggage tractors, maintenance and cleaning equipment, conveyors, catering supply loaders, etc. In the mid-1960s the Company built a small sports car based on Renault chassis. The streamlined polyester-bodied car also carried the name SOVAM.
- The Sovam Company The company was established by André Morin in 1930, and was based on his father’s Robert Morin existing car and carriage workshop business. Sovam specialized themselvers in the manufacture of mobile shop kiosks built on light truck platforms. In 1962 Morin changed his restructured his company and started producing airport handling equipment and specialized light utility vehicles. In 1964 they introduced a light delivery vehicle which used a fibreglass truck or van body mounted on a shortened Renault 4 chassis. The vehicle proved to be ideal for urban delivery work. In 1965 Morin launched a low-volume sports car. Like the light delivery vehicle, the car based on the Renault 4. A shortened version of the R4 chassis was made and it’s engine and gearbox were used. Also the complete front- and rear suspension were used. The frontscreen came from the Renault Floride. The body was designed by Jacques Durand.
- Production The very first car named the Sovam 850 VS (Voiture de Sport) was showed at the Paris Motor Show in October 1964 and much visitors showed interest in the car. Morin decided to put it into production. The performance delivered by the 845 cc Renault Duaphine engine was not impressive concerning the car’s sporting appearance, but with a list price of just 9,990 francs the car managed to attract a few buyers in 1965.
In 1966, an improved 1100 cc Caravelle S engine propelled the 570 kg car to over 160 km/h. This car had front disc brakes and a synchro 4-speed gearbox. It was sold for 12,960 francs (for comparison, a Caravelle was priced at 11,500 francs and the least expensive Matra Djet cost 16,900 francs). That year, 32 cars were sold, despite the qualities of the car: with excellent directional stability (the engine is in the central-front position), with very decent comfort, allowing daily use.
- Model development At the 1967 Paris Motor Show, the 850 version was abandoned but a new 2+2 model with the 1300 cc engine of R8 Gordini appeared. It was called the 1300GS and had a new hardtop body with 2+2 seating and rectangular headlamps. It was a well-made and somewhat exclusive car with a price tag of 21,500 francs, higher than that of the Renault R8 Gordini and about the same as the Alpine series. However, it was an excellent and comfortable machine, with good power, speed, and road-holding. The 1300GS seemed to be too expensive and only 5 cars were sold.
- Sovams in rally’s
A Sovam 850VS was entered in the Paris-Calcutta-Paris rally in 1966 to demonstrate the car’s reliability. This car was driven by two French women Maïté Patoux and co-driver Chantal Bernard. They successfully completed the 18,500 kilometres distance between July and November, returning just before the 1966 Auto Show where the car was exhibited on the Sovam stand.
In the 12th “Rallye National d'Automne” in La Rochelle during November 1967 Mrs.Patoux drove a 1100VS model where she was first in the women's class.
- From 1965 until 1968 Sovam sold about 145 cars, of which about 58 are known to exist, and some 30 or so are in road-going condition. According to the Sovam Club 145 Sovams were built: 62 in 850 cm³, 77 in 1100 cm³ and 5 in 1300 cm³. Currently around 58 cars are known to exist of which 30 roadworthy cars.
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