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SLIDER: 1930 Hotchkiss AM80

This Hotchkiss was sold new in the UK in November 1930. The body is known as a Faux Cabriolet, in which the apparent hood and hood irons do not collapse to give an open car. It is thought to be to the original factory specification, apart from the metal box that has replaced the large luggage trunk that had rotted away.

Société Anonyme des Anciens Établissements Hotchkiss et Compagnie was first established by United States gunsmith Benjamin B. Hotchkiss. He moved to France and set up a factory in 1867, supplying arms to the French for use in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The factory finally settled in Saint-Denis near Paris in 1875.

At the start of the twentieth century the company started building cars. The first Hotchkiss car, a 17 CV four-cylinder model, appeared in 1903. The radiator badge has always been a pair of crossed cannons in a tribute to the original products of the factory. From the start the cars used the famous ‘Hotchkiss Drive’ (by live axle and open propeller shaft).

After World War I Hotchkiss developed the large 4-litre AF, and in 1923 the smaller 2.4-litre AM with Hotchkiss drive, a four-cylinder side-valve engine in unit with the four-speed gearbox, four-wheel brakes and wire-spoked wheels.

The AM80 in this Slider was designed by Chief Engineer Vincenzo Bertarione. It is powered by 3-litre six-cylinder overhead-valve engine with seven-bearing crankshaft and a Lanchester-type balancer, producing 65bhp. Hotchkiss cars were never as exotic in their appearance as other high-quality French cars of the period but were built to the most exacting standards. They won the Monte Carlo rally in 1932, 1933, 1934, 1939, 1949 and 1950.

Photo by Peter McFadyen. See his website:

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