- Timerange of production: 1.898-1.914
- Type of engine: Dedion Bouton
Spectacular three-wheeler: La Nef whit Dedion Bouton engine. It has old restoration. Working.
In 1898, In his small workshop in the rue Palissy, Joseph Lacroix created the prototype of a tricycle which he called “The Nef”. It was powered by a single engine De Dion Bouton single cylinder, very fashionable at the time.
Although its design evoked the prow of a ship (hence its name), is a notable influence on their lines of horse-drawn carriages.
The main feature of “La Nef” chassis was formed by two curved beams, joined at one end bullet-shaped reinforcing binding to mix steel to resist mechanical steering, exhaust manifold and a good part of the union with the transmission brake. The front wheel was located away from the driver, and lay between remembering forks of a bicycle wheel. The direction was controlled with a long metal bar whose form earned him the nickname “cow’s tail”.
Were mainly rural doctors who showed interest in this type of vehicle.
In 1902, with a rising market, José Lacroix was associated with a financial and client, Colonel Laville. Together they founded in Agen the “Société des Automobiles Lacroix Laville” with headquarters located in Peletan place, moving the former workshops of the rue Lacroix Rayssac. A dozen workers with the intention of producing a thirty year vehicles were hired.
In “Lacroix Laville” were willing to accommodate the wishes of buyers offering them the option of choosing different engines for their vehicles as well as the choice of the body, being able to choose between a Phaeton type 2 places or Tonneau 4 squares.
Although they continued to sell until 1914, it is estimated that between 1902 and 1909 Laville Lacroix produced about 200 tricycles “La Nef”.
Undoubtedly, it is a spectacular and exclusive museum piece today.