Daily demonstrations at 11am, free with admission!
Victor Bouffort was a brilliant French engineer whose designs included the Lohr Fardier, a small utility four-wheel drive vehicle used by the French military, and the Valmobile folding scooter. By the late 1960s, Bouffort had become increasingly aware of traffic congestion in cities such as Paris, and decided to do something about it. Bouffort and his friend, novelist Henri Viard, observed that most cars only carried one or two passengers. Their idea was to design a small car for city dwellers – two-seat vehicles whose length was no more than the width of a more traditional car.
These small cars would be fitted with relatively powerful engines so they could keep up with traffic. The prototype for the “Minima”, as it was called, featured a tubular chassis, composite bodywork, sliding doors, luggage space in the rear, and a 30 hp engine from the Citroën 2CV that helped it reach a top speed of 120 kmh (75 mph). These cars would be available for public use all across the city. Bouffort had created the idea of car sharing, decades before companies such as Zipcar™ would expand on the concept for the 21st century.
The Minima was introduced to the public in a dazzling display at the 1973 Salon de l’Automobile, with the show car displayed on the 56th floor of Paris’ brand-new Montparnasse Tower. However, it garnered very little interest and plans for its mass production were cancelled. Victor Bouffort died in 1995 at the age of 83. The Minima seen here remained in the Bouffort family for many years.
Manufacturer: Victor-Albert Bouffort
Country of Origin: France
Drivetrain Configuration: Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine: Air-cooled, 602cc, two cylinder, 30 hp
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Top Speed: 75 mph
Years of Production: 1973
Number Produced: 3
Original Cost: Never sold to the public