MANUFACTURE D’ARMES et CYCLES de Saint-Etienne

1951 Manufrance Hirondelle VAP4 Gentleman’s Hunting Cycle

1951 Manufrance Hirondelle VAP4 Gentleman’s Hunting Cycle

The Manufrance Hirondelle was the preferred mount for the VAP4 engine.

This was the result of a tie-up between two of the most successful companies in different areas of specialization. VAP4 was the second biggest cyclemotor manufacturer after Velosolex, and Manufrance was a leading bicycle manufacturer. The two companies came together to challenge Velosolex and, actually, the result – The VAP4 mounted on a specially-constructed Hirondelle frame – was a much better machine than the Velosolex and also all the other cyclemotors on the market. It’s sales byline was ‘WHY PEDAL’ – because, while other engines would only act as an auxiliary when going uphill, the VAP4 did not require pedal-assistance.

With its popularity at the time, many VAP4 units were manufactured, and they could be purchased to fit into the customer’s own bicycle; there are still quite a few in existence. However, sixty years down the line, there are very few survivors that are still fitted to the dedicated Manufrance cycle. You can see two frame options featured in the advert below; you might have noticed that the Hirondelle bicycle featured here is even rarer, being a special construction, with extra bracing to create a ‘truss-frame.’

This particular outfit has been set up as a ‘hunting machine’ with rifle case and a Manufrance box on the rear carrier to transport the catch.

This bicycle has many period accessories, all of which could be purchased from the annual Manufrance Catalogue.

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You can compare the picture above which shows the machine without its hunting apparatus.

There are levers and controls everywhere on this bicycle – it would be easier with more than one pair of hands!

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WHY PEDAL?

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SADDLE, MANUFRANCE BOX & RIFLE CASE

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