The elusive French firm of Ardex, under the leadership of Marcel Tamine, constructed a variety of very small, light cyclecars in an erratic, artisanal manner over several decades. His occasional small advertisements were first seen in 1934 in the specialised press, but no Ardex vehicle ever appeared at one of the salons. Despite this, word seemed to get around and the Ardex continued to sell until well after the Second World War.
During the 1930s the company produced a nicely designed cyclecar in the Morgan style, with polished aluminum bodywork. The war, however, saw the introduction of restrictions on materials, so an alternative type of construction had to be found. This took the form of a thin, moleskin-covered plywood body powered by an electric motor and/or pedals. In 1942 a production batch of 80 electric vehicles went to the well-known battery manufacturers Fulmar.
Post-war, limited production continued with both wood- and aluminum-bodied vehicles in the same vein until the late 1950s. Some were powered by Saab-sourced 100cc or 125cc single-cylinder two-stroke engines, or there was a 50cc Fichtel & Sachs option, as fitted to the car pictured here.
||Rear-mounted, 50cc, 1-cylinder
||3-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
- The Ardex pictured was sold by RM Sotheby's in 2013, for $13,800. Many thanks to RM Sotheby's for the use of its pictures to illustrate this article.