This Snapshot continues the story in Snapshot 188 of the different incarnations of the Sizaire name. The history of the creations of the Sizaire brothers, Maurice and Georges, started in 1903 with the single-cylinder Sizaire-Naudin, easily identified by its independent front suspension with a transverse leaf spring and sliding pillars.
Snapshot 188 takes the story from 1912, when the brothers left their own company and in 1913 set up the Sizaire-Berwick company in partnership with Frederick William Berwick, the London-based UK importer of Corre La Licorne cars. This Snapshot brings us to the third phase of the Sizaire story. In 1920, while still in partnership with Berwick, the brothers set up the Sizaire-Frères company. The fact that the new car did not appear until 1923 can perhaps be explained by its innovative design – and thus the time taken to perfect it for sale.
The company’s first model was the Sizaire-Frères 4RI, also known as the Sizaire Frères 11CV. It was powered by an advanced 1,993 cc 4-cylinder single-overhead camshaft engine with 50 hp claimed maximum output. But the pièce de résistance was its independent suspension on all four wheels – hence the 4RI designation (Quatre Roues Indépendentes). It was advertised in France with the words: “…ideal for …all those who do not like jolts” (It sounds better in French).
The cars were only produced in chassis form, and the cost of building a body took the price above those of the competitive Ballot 2TLS or Delage DIS. The 4RI was not fast car, but the suspension came into its own over rough ground, and one example completed the 3,725 miles of the 1925 Leningrad-Tiflis-Moscow Trial without any involuntary stops. The cars also did well in the Monte Carlo Rally between 1926 and 1930. By 1927 Sizaire-Frères had produced about 900 of them.
From 1928 the 4RI was joined by the Sizaire Frères Six, with a 2,910 cc Willys-Knight sleeve-valve engine bought in from Willys-Overland of Ohio, in the same independently sprung chassis. About 150 of these were built.
Georges Sizaire died in 1924. Cars were produced until 1929 (including around 100 of the final model, powered by a 2,413 cc Hotchkiss AM2 engine). Maurice worked for the Tecalemit oil filter company until his retirement in 1960 at the age of 83. He died in 1969.
Picture courtesy of the Richard Roberts Archive
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