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.
In the late 1890s, Joseph Martin set up bicycle manufacturing in Lyon, France, and sub-contracting wheels for automobiles and aircraft landing gear during the first war. Joseph’s son, Paul, had become an aircraft engineer during the war and afterward ventured into the world of motorcycling. He created New•Map (a combination of Martin and Paul) in 1926, offering a range of motorcycles by producing frames in-house while using several proprietary engine suppliers to complete them such as JAP, AMC, and Zurcher. New•Map Motorcycles were in production into the late 50s.
In 1938, Paul Martin decided that it was time for a “voiturette” in the market, so he added the diminutive New•Map “Baby” VB-54 (VB for Voiturette Baby) to his catalog. A simple doorless roadster, Baby was a light 330 pounds. Like New•Map’s motorcycles, a tube frame was fitted with a steel body, but the stylish four-wheel roadster added stability, side-by-side seating, and a folding top. The combination of these comforts added the possibility of attracting a new type of customer. With its rear-mounted Fichtel & Sachs air-cooled, single-cylinder, two-stroke engine, its transverse leaf spring front suspension, and conventional leaf springs at the rear, the new voiturette also offered ease of maintenance. Stylistically, as its faux-grill echoed the contemporary Ford Matford in France, it stood out from other microcars of the late 1930s.
This New•Map VB-54 is one of the few pre-war examples, distinguished by its Fichtel & Sachs engine, four-spoke aluminum steering wheel with a small reduction gearbox on the column, and a non-opening hood. When production moved to Clermont-Ferrand, France in 1947, the company was renamed Société Rolux. The new, nearly identical car, with a blank hood badge, became the Rolux VB60 “Baby”.
Country of Origin: Lyon, France
Engine: Fichtel & Sachs; air-cooled, 100cc, single-cylinder, 2-stroke, 4hp
Drivetrain Configuration: Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive
Transmission: 3-speed manual, no reverse
Top Speed: 30 mph
Years of Production: 1938-1947
Number Produced: Est. 100 VB-54s
Original Cost: Unknown