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Microcar RJ 49E- 1985


Jeanneau, the parent company of Microcar, began as a builder of fiberglass pleasure boats, but soon turned to the production of sans permis microcars – cars small enough to not require many of the legalities of full-sized cars. Production began in 1980, with LeMans winner Jean Rondeau as technical advisor, and continues to the present day under the direction of Planet Drive Group, owners since 2008. Current offerings include several variations on two different 2-door models plus a box truck.
“Les petites 4 roues sans probleme” – Four small wheels without problems – was a prophetic advertising tagline. The cars were well-engineered and ruggedly built, leading to the company’s longevity. It is believed to be the only sans permis vehicle still in production in France.
Introduced in October 1980, the RJ 49E model seen here (the “E” stood for Economy, the base model) was offered through 1985. It could be had in E or S trim – S got you some stripes and chrome hubcaps – and also a more powerful, license-required 125cc version, the DX 125. All models used fiberglass bodies laminated and bonded to a steel structure beneath, and offered true two-seater size with a large (15.5 cu. ft., same as a 2016 Toyota Camry) cargo area, and excellent mechanical accessibility.
The first three years’ production used a Motobecane-Peugeot 50cc engine, but the change was made to a Sachs 49cc unit in 1983, allowing relocation of the fuel tank to below the cabin, giving even more space to the occupants, plus increased safety. Diesel engines have been offered exclusively since 1987, with increased power, economy, and reliability.


Manufacturer: Jeanneau S.A.
Country of Origin: France
Drivetrain Configuration: Front-engine, front-wheel drive
Engine: 49cc air-cooled Sachs 2-stroke, type SC50
Transmission: CVT, forward and reverse
Top Speed: Unknown
Years of Production: 1980-1985
Number Produced: Unknown; this is #522
Original Cost: Unknown