Please note that the cars or exhibit items shown in this database are part of our collection but may not be on display when you visit.
The Louvet is a three-passenger, one-door, dual-pedaled, 2 x 5-speed car—meaning both driver and front passenger have their own pedal cranks that operate on separate 5-speed selectors. It was discovered in a remarkable set of French photographs from 1935. The reproduction seen here has been skillfully crafted with the same unrivaled attention to detail as its original maker displayed in those early images.
The Louvet’s streamlined appearance, tapering from the windshield forward and from roofline to tail, is reminiscent of lightweight aircraft of the era. The outer shell is a fairing of thin plywood skins that stiffen the frame and give it optimal aerodynamics. Inside the fuselage-like cockpit is an airy delight of longerons, gusset joints, struts, braces, and gentle crossmember arches that are every bit as wonderful to look at as they are integral to its ultralight structure.
As a vehicle, the Louvet works very well. It is as large as a full-sized car. The enclosed bottom and sides would have offered respite from the dusty roads of the time. The Louvet carries three comfortably, while the two across, dual five-speed pedaling powers the ride with ease. However, there is something more than utilitarian about this project. Sitting inside, one could imagine cruising along and looking out through the glassless windows, with the large moonroof letting in the sunshine. The found photographs suggest this. They show perhaps the builder’s family members surrounding the car. They are interacting with smiles in the collective enjoyment of the vehicle. There is one photograph in particular—presumably the builder—alone with the Louvet. In coveralls, he is standing by the one open door, with his arm resting proudly on its roof, the other jauntily set on his hip. His look contains a gratifying air of accomplishment—but also, he is a little bemused.
Manufacturer: Original: Unknown (Replica, Mirko Hrazdira 2018)
Country of Origin: Original: France (Replica, Czech Republic)
Drivetrain Configuration: Human-powered, rear-wheel drive
Engine: One or two human-power
Transmission: 2 x 5-speed crankset to rear sprocket
Top Speed: N/A
Years of Production: Original: 1935 (Replica, 2018)
Number Produced: 1 original (1 Replica)