Jacques Gerin, a pilot in the French military during World War I, later turned his talents to designing two groundbreaking cars. The first was propelled by a propeller, while the second, named the "Aerodyne," featured a mid-engine and numerous unique features. This 1922 design stands as a masterpiece of innovation and advanced engineering, boasting an Aerodynamic, Aluminum, Exoskeletal Space Frame, Mid-engine, and 4-wheel independent suspension.
The body, crafted from pieces of wood laminated between cast aluminum, forms a space frame that eliminates the need for a traditional chassis. Despite never reaching completion in its original form, our skilled craftsmen are currently recreating the body in our shop, adhering to Jacques Gerin's original drawings and patent. You can follow the restoration progress in detail through our blog.
To construct the body, sheets of aluminum are meticulously shaped to follow the contour of the frame. This visionary car was patented in the early twenties, and Ratier (now Ratier Figeac) undertook the manufacturing of the prototype in a suburb of Paris in 1925 and 1926.
The Aerodyne is a mid-engine automobile, featuring a 2-liter overhead valve engine positioned in front of the rear axle. The engine, a marvel of modern engineering for its time, incorporates tronconic valve springs to suppress vibrations, while the greased rockers pivot on ball bearings. Notably, there is no oil in the top of the engine, showcasing Gerin's commitment to innovative design.
The transmission system is equally unique, utilizing chevron gears for precise timing. The dual ignition system, comprising one magneto and one coil/distributor, ensures optimal performance. The four-wheel independent suspension is controlled by horizontal hydraulic shock absorbers operating through articulating arms, providing a smooth and responsive ride.
Hydraulic brakes with four shoes, applying pressure directly to the inside of the front wheel, ensure effective stopping power. Steering is achieved through rack and pinion, with an adjustable steering wheel height for personalized comfort. The transmission system, with rear drive shafts and inboard brakes, uses a small-diameter gear to directly drive the main gear in the wheel. The rear suspension geometry allows for the oscillation of the wheel around the differential output shaft gear, completing the comprehensive innovation embodied in the Gerin Aerodyne.