Métallurgique were cars made by SA L'Auto Métallurgique, Marchienne-au-Pont,
Belgium between 1905 and 1928. Before making cars the company had made railway locomotives and rolling stock.
The first cars were 4.5hp 2 cylinder models with chain drive but in 1905 a new modern
range was introduced designed by Ernst Lehmann who joined them from Daimler in 1903.
These cars with pressed steel chassis, live rear axle and the option of electric
lighting were to establish the company as one of the finest makers of sporting cars
In 1906 there came the 4 cylinder, 10 litre 60/80 with inlet over exhaust
valves and a claimed output of 100bhp at 1400 rpm. The cars got a distinctive V
front radiator in 1906. The later 38/90 HP also offered top speeds exceeding 100
kph and were fairly competitive in racing on the European continent and in Great
For 1908 the car range included the 60/80 and the 40hp which
was a smaller version of the 60/80, the 2 cylinder cars being finally dropped.
In 1909 Métallurgique's best known model appeared: the luxurious 26/60
HP model, a 4-cylinder displacing 5 litres. Most of these cars were sold in Great
Britain and fitted with Vanden Plas (also of Belgian heritage) bodywork, often in
sporting style and always fitted with the distinctive V-ed radiator shell, Métallurgique's
trademark since 1907. Though initially shipped to England these cars ended up all
over the British Empire and were even found as far away as New Zealand.
Métallurgique cars were also made from 1909 under licence by Bergmann in Berlin,
Germany who had previously made electric cars. These were sold as Bergmann-Métallurgique.
All cars got 4 speed
gearboxes. Bodywork was made by Vanden Plas.
A special sport version of the 26/60 engine became available, fitted with larger
valves and alloy pistons and good for 75 hp.
Post World War I
After the first World War Métallurgique was able to
pick up production rapidly thanks to cunningly hiding their jigs and spares during
the War. The 26/60 was again on offer, now with four wheel brakes, along with a
15/20 HP and a 20/40 HP model. By now however selling the big cars became more and
more difficult as a result of the economic problems resulting from the War. In one
last bid for survival Métallurgique replaced their smallest model, the 15/20 HP,
in the early 1920s by the innovative 12 HP. It was powered by a 1882 cc 4-cylinder
designed by Paul Bastien, who later went on designing 8-cylinder engines for Stutz
in the USA. Remarkable about this engine was its over head valve system operated
by pushrods, these days very common but back in the days of side- and sleeve valves
a leap forward. It was a rapid car, capable of about 121 kph, that handled well
but sold not enough to keep Métallurgique's car production out of harms way.
The inevitable end of the cars named Métallurgique
came in 1927 when the car manufacturing facilities were sold to Imperia-Excelsior,
who moved the tooling over to their own factory and sold the remaining buildings
By 1929 the Métallurgique name had disappeared from cars completely.
It was an undignified end to a manufacturer that went its own way, was often ahead
of its time and firmly believed in the qualities of the 4-cylinder concept. Métallurgique
was absorbed into the history books claiming a well-built 4-cylinder could be just
as smooth as a 6-cylinder and was more efficient, which was proven correct (in Europe
at least) about 50 years later...