Search ads by make

Quiz Archive

About Quiz #404: Stabilia


about quiz_404_stabilia_2-800

Poor Edouard Vrard. He must have been quite a prolific inventor who tried hard for many years to sell his extraordinary cars, but it seems that he had little success. And to make things even sadder, nobody recognized his Stabilia torpedo-sport 12/15 HP of 1920 of last week’s quiz...

So this underslung and – I think – attractive car is not a Voisin (sorry Erwin Vink) and not a Gobron (sorry Mr. Poisson). There is a link, though, between Stabilia and Gobron (Gobron sold their own cars as Stabilias) but that link didn’t exist yet in 1920. Mr. Vrard, who had worked in the automotive industry since 1896, was an inventor with clever ideas who couldn’t find the right people to make his cars successful on the market. Maybe the European market of the 1910s and 1920s was not ready for underslung cars. But the same may be suggested for the American market: the high class American Underslung collapsed in 1913/1914 after only some eight years of low production numbers.

Both the American Underslung and the Stabilia were born in 1905, so it seems that ‘underslung was in the air’. In 1905 the French journal 'Le Chauffeur' wrote about the Stabilia and the article even included some physics formulas to proof the fact that cars with a lower centre of gravity are stabler and can run faster while taking corners (which most people will believe without mathematical evidence). The illustration in the article clearly shows how the Stabilia had been lowered: the chassis was installed upside down (‘inversable’ in French). The author sums up all the main advantages of the underslung system: stable driving, no skidding; the use of large wheels gives less ‘usure’ of the tires and – again - stability; less air resistance leads to higher speeds.

When our quiz car was described in the sales brochure, the number of “points of superiority” was even more extensive: automatic shock absorbers, the irreversible steering system could be regulated while driving, all organs of the car could be easily removed independently without the need to remove parts of the body, a carter enclosing both engine, gearbox and back axle and – last but not least – no exhaust gasses could reach the passengers. The brochure even showed a Spanish Stabilia owner who had been able to climb a steep hill near his home town on a road with forty centimeters of snow, in 1914. Alas, the public didn’t buy Stabilias and it seems that not a single one survives today.

Add comment

Jury Member Location Information

Bart Oosterling NL
Bas de Voogd / Rutger Booy NL team
Bob Swanson USA Sports Cars & Racing Cars
Carleton Hughes USA
Ced Pearce South-Africa Ford & Cord
Chris Paulsen USA Brass Era (pre-1916) cars
David Green NZ
Dick Trenk (deceased 2010) USA US cars
Dominique Barbault F French Cars
Don Edwards USA US Classics
Eduard Hattuma NL
Fons Alkemade NL French automobiles
Frans Vrijaldenhoven NL Dutch Automobile Historian
Fried Stol NL
Hans Compter NZ
Harry Schley Germany
Henk Visscher NL Firsts in Car Industry
Ian Hayhurst Canada pre-1916 autos / early Mopar
Ingo Jost Germany German Cars
James Helms USA
João Pedro Gazineu Brazil
John Barringer UK
John Robins UK
Jon Baker Australia
José A. Gómez Argentina
Josef Kubista CZ
Joseph P. McCormick USA
Kit Foster USA US cars 1920-1960, Stanley Steamers
Kjetil Langsaether Norway
Lars-Göran Lindgren S brass era cars
Luke Chennel USA
Marc Fellman Australia
Mark Dawber NZ
Mike Clark GB Vintage Cars.
Mike Tebbett UK cyclecars
Mike Turner USA
Nicolas Boissier France
Paul Linster L French & Britsh sports cars
Peter Ransom Australia
Richard Armstrong UK
Radu Comsa Romania
Raul Valkila Finland
Reg Harris Australia Citroën and English cars
Robb Stewart USA early racing and sports cars
Robbie Marenzi Argentina
Roger Fields USA
Rutger Booy / Bas de Voogd NL team
Stuart Penketh Thailand
Theo Castricum NL US cars
Tom Chaney USA
Verner Johnson DK