1950 Monopole Tank X84 Panhard #52 Pilots: J. de Montrémy, J. Hémard Team: Ets. Monopole Race: 22nd overall (second in S750 class) at Le Mans in 1950 Bizarre - BZ045 (resin)
Établissements Monopole started out in Poissy, France, in 1920. The company produced automobile engine parts, like pistons, piston rings and valves. Through the years, the ownership changed and the company expanded, and in 1944 Jean de Montrémy assumed the company’s helm. An avid motorsport fan and later a pilot, de Montrémy believed that competition was a good way to promote the company. With focus on small-displacement classes in endurance racing he founded the Écurie Monopole team. de Montrémy designed their first racing Monopole himself, using the chassis and engine of a Simca 8. The car debuted at Reims in 1947, finishing in seventh overall. With time, the involvement in racing became a family affair. de Montrémy and his brothers-in-law Jean and Pierre Hémard were frequently at the wheel of the Monoples. In 1949 they debuted at Le Mans, and de Montrémy, piloting a Monopole Sport, won its class.
In 1950, Panhard intensified their racing efforts, offering parts and technical support to racing teams. With that, Monopole established a partnership and Panhard became their engine supplier. From that partnership came the X84. The X84 was a two-seater spider, with a Monopole body and Panhard chassis and engine. Though a regular spider/barquette, Frenchmen also called this body style “tank”, after the 1937 Bugatti 57G. The engine was a 610 cm³ 2-cylinder boxer engine, called X84 Dyna 100, connected to a Panhard gearbox. Conversely, Panhard used the X84 body on some of their own cars. For the 1950 24 Heures du Mans, Monopole lined up two Tank X84, cars #52 and #53. Piloting car #52 were Jean de Montrémy and his brother-in-law Jean Hémard. The duo managed a third place finish in the S 750 class. Moreover, the Monopole team won the Index of Performance and the 16th Biennial Cup.
Like what happened to many pre-WWII manufacturers, Monopole as a car brand disappeared. Today, their oddball cars are only a reminder of an era when 610 cm³ was enough for racing. Nonetheless, in scale the X84 looks great. Since the real deal is definitively simple in terms of lines and features, Bizarre didn’t have much trouble. The little “tank” looks very nice, and I’m astonished to see how really small it is. Nonetheless, I don’t think it will sing to many collectors. Being such an oddball, I guess this one is only for the Le Mans geeks, like me.
BTW, this particular model has another story about it… In a few days I’ll tell the tale 😣 (read it HERE).