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1937 Mercier Moto Chenille


1937 Mercier Moto Chenille -  - Viewing Room - Haas Moto Museum Blog

Photo by Brent Graves

The 1937 Mercier Moto Chenille, located in the Museum's History Hall, stands out as one of the most bizarre motorcycle prototypes produced as Europe shifted towards World War II. Adrien Mercier of Switzerland, although living in France at the time, designed the machine as a track-driven hill climber with a notable 350cc JAP OHV Sports engine. "Chenille" is the French word for "caterpillar," in reference to the wheels in the front belt. 

There's an array of other solid features, including a three-speed Soyer gearbox, a kick starter that can be operated while sitting on the saddle, a long tubular rear frame, and more. 

Shortly after Mercier's completion, the French Military tested the motorcycle out. The results were actually quite good. The motorcycle reached top speeds of 40 miles per hour, the fuel consumption was close to 40 miles per gallon, and it was able to climb on slopes between a 42 and 45 percent grade.

Although deemed interesting but impractical by the French Military, no orders were ever made for the motorcycle. It remains a rare historical treasure as only a handful were ever produced.