1923 Chenard et Walcker Sport Pilots: A. Lagache, R. Léonard Team: André Lagache Race: 1st overall (S 3.0 class) at Le Mans in 1923 Ixo - LM 1923 (diecast)
Chenard-Walcker (or Chenard et Walcker) was founded by railway engineer and bicycle maker Ernest Chenard and mining engineer Henri Walcker. In 1898 they opened a factory in Asnières-sur-Seine, just outside of Paris. In 1900 they produced their first “true” automobile, the Chenard et Walcker Type A. The business started growing, mainly by supplying cars as taxis. Taxis were in great demand especially for Paris, and by 1910 they became the ninth largest car maker in France, producing over 1500 cars. In 1922 company engineer Henri Toutée designed the 3 Liter Sport. The Sport was a “speedster tourer” with an inline-4 3 liter engine with overhead-camshaft that produced around 70 hp. That car became the very first winner of the 24 Heures du Mans.
Driven by René Leonard and André Lagache, both Chenard et Walcker engineers, they completed the race with an average speed of 92.064 km/h and covered a distance of 2,209.536 km. Just to put things into perspective, the winning Toyota TS050 Hybrid of 2018 covered 5,286.360 km at an average speed of 251.100 km/h. Accordingly, 95 years of race car development does make a LOT of difference. I was happy to find out that the car still exists to this day! It was totally restored and is proudly displayed at the ACO Museum, in La Sarthe.
According to a certain ex-Porsche collector, this is a “clunker”, which I can’t exactly deny. However, very possibly it’s the most important clunker in my Le Mans collection. It is the first winner, what else matters? A true must buy. In scale Ixo did a nice job, maybe not in the same league of their more recent models but “good enough”. Basically as good as their other pre-WWII models. Without a doubt it was a must buy model that I took too long to get.