Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


I STUMBLE ONTO THESE THINGS in straightforward ways: Jim Donnick is editor of Vintage Sports Car, published by the Vintage Sports Car Club of America. Each issue, he selects an artful cutaway of an appropriate automotive subject; this one, the 1922 Sizaire Frères. 

Image from Vintage Sports Car, Number One 2023.

I knew very little about this French marque, but research revealed gallic innovation autowise, plus a downright wacky idea collaborating with the British. Here in Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow are tidbits on the brothers Sizaire, Maurice and Georges, and their various automotive ventures, 1905–1930. 

1907 Sizaire-Naudin roadster. Image by Keith booth at en.wikipedia. 

IFS by Sliding Pillars—and More. Nick Georgano’s The Complete Encyclopedia of Motor Cars describes, “The Sizaire-Naudin was one of the pioneers of that typical French breed, the small sporting voiturette. Designed by Maurice Sizaire and built by Louis Naudin, it first appeared at the end of 1905 as a 1906 model and quickly won acclaim for cheapness, simplicity, and strength.” 

Georgano noted, “… the armoured-wood frame was old fashioned. However, the independent front suspension, by transverse leaf spring and sliding pillars, had been seen only on the defunct Decauville ‘voiturelle’ and Adler, and the transmission, which provided direct drive in all 3 forward speeds by means of a propeller shaft that shifted to engage corresponding rings of teeth on the crown wheel, was entirely Sizaire-Naudin’s own.”

That is to say, entirely Maurice’s. His brother Georges looked after experimental aspects; Naudin, the builder. 

Sliding pillars, of course, are associated with Morgan sports cars from their very beginning, c. 1910. They were part of Vincenzo Lancia’s innovative Lambda, 1922, as well.

Wikipedia adds a brief description of the Sizaire transmission: “A unique gearbox used an integral 3-speed differential—3 straight cut pinions brought to bear in turn on a single large straight-cut crown wheel.”

Sizaire-Berwick. In 1912, following a disagreement with an investor, the brothers Sizaire left the firm to form a joint venture with London’s F.W. Berwick and Co. Ltd. Georgano said, “Maurice designed an almost completely conventional luxury car, the Sizaire-Berwick.” 

1920 Sizaire-Berwick 25/50hp coupé. Image from Georgano’s Encyclopedia.

Indeed, its radiator design initiated legal proceedings from Rolls-Royce and a change to a shallow vee with a flat apex. 

Image from La Escurderia.

Apparently this pacified Rolls-Royce, though there was another adventure coming with the brothers Sizaire and the British. We’ll encounter it in Part 2, along with identifying the Vintage Sports Car cutaway subject. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2023


  1. Bill U
    April 15, 2023

    With the roll center above the center of gravity, the car presumably leans into the turn. Nice.
    Also, “A unique gearbox used an integral 3-speed differential” reminds me of the slick two speed Eaton truck axle, with planetary gears contained inside the ring, providing 34% lower reduction than the ring and pinion, not to mention stronger double reduction.
    Yea, I’m a retired truck salesman :^)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: