The inventor of the flying car launched the electric bicycle

Cyclist, mechanic, brilliant inventor In addition to being a self-taught accordion player, Fernand Maratuech developed the flying car and before the war understood the interest in developing an electric bicycle.

Fernand Maratuech died on July 23, 1969 at the age of 72. The inventor of the car-flying machine (read our July 24 issue), he had previously shown his passion for the car thing. And especially for “La nef” invented on the Agen side by Joseph Lacroix, who created the registered trademark “Les automobiles La nef”, whose headquarters were located at 5 rue Palissy in Agen. Other inventors and manufacturers in this blessed era of the development of automotive mechanics began to imagine vehicles. This will be the case, still in Agen, for Larroumet and Lagarde, giving life to “La va bon train” built until 1914 in several dozen copies. But it is indeed a “La nef” which Fernand Maratuech buys, a “La nef” in poor condition, which he pays for five hundred francs, or two months’ wages. He wants to improve his “La nave” and will keep this vehicle for 7 years, the performance of which he will judge by its ability to climb “without stopping” the Fumel coast near Condat. Fernand Maratuech had only forgotten one small thing: he did not have the “permit to drive petroleum vehicles”, which he obtained anyway, issued by “Mr. hundreds of meters.

“I give up running and cycling”

In 1923, from winning bicycle race to bicycle race and after beating the Parisian cycling champions of the day, Fernand Maratuech felt strong enough to participate in the queen’s event in the southwest, “the critérium de La Petite Gironde” which daily bore the name of the great Bordeaux. This stage race was contested from 30 August to 9 September 1923.

Maratuech wears bib 21 in a race that stops in Bordeaux, Saintes, Angoulême, Brive, Montauban, Bayonne and back to the prefecture of Gironde. Fernand Maratuech demonstrates his qualities as a rider on the first stage. But a wildebeest pain put an end to his dreams of victory. Despite this, the story goes, he stops, grabs his bike, throws it into a ditch in a rage and says, “I’m giving up running and cycling”. In 1950, at the age of 56, this hardened bachelor met and married Paulette, 45, who would be an important support in the years that followed. Fernand Maratuech will discover a new hobby: building grandfather clocks. Proof of the insatiable curiosity of this exceptional inventor who wanted to prove once again his ability to innovate.

“The future is electric”

Too old at the time of the declaration of World War II, Fernand Maratuech is not mobilized; But he understands that gasoline is rare and that this discovery will not improve in the decades to follow. Then he set about designing an electric bicycle. Jean-Luc Fournier explains in his book dedicated to Fernand Maratuech, “he fixes a car dynamo on the bike’s luggage carrier and two 12-volt batteries on each side of the rear wheel of the two-wheeled car. It equips the same wheel. with a chainring connected to chain for a cog wheel installed on the shaft of the dynamo. It is again on the side of Fumel and the coast of the city center that he demonstrates the efficiency of the electric bicycle, a hill he climbs without stepping on the pedals. “If I will, I can” was Fernand Maratuech’s motto. And if he comes out of the oblivion of time with his flying car and his busy life, Fernand Maratuech owes it to the Automobile Club du Sud-Ouest, which was the first established in the provinces after the Automobile Club de France in Paris. . “Our role is also to defend motorists and their vehicles” wrote Claude Chambonnaud, president of the car club in 2012. And the president of ACSO asserted the work of this dynamic club “in the second life offered to the flying car, thanks to geno prepared for the cultural heritage fund and its partner Motul. May they all be thanked for making this duty of remembrance possible: duty of remembrance for inventions and for an inventor who deserves to finally appear in full light.

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