Jean Albert Grégoire
Jean Albert Grégoire was a Humanist and a man of many disciplines. He graduated from Poly-technique, a famous French school, and earned his doctorate in law. Grégoire published many books about automobile history and engineering. He also wrote fiction and mysteries, and was an expert on wines and mushrooms.
Jean Albert Grégoire (1898-1992) and his partner Pierre Fenaille developed a sporty frontwheel- drive automobile known as the “Gephy” (Grégoire-Fenaille). The Gephy introduced a new CV joint patented under the name of “Tracta”. These joints were a real breakthrough as they were very strong, quiet and easy to manufacture. Under the same Tracta name, Grégoire and Fenaille manufactured a new car, on a smaller scale, which had either a four-cylinder or six-cylinder engine. The brakes were inboard, and the independent suspension was de rigueur for the front wheels.
From 1927 to 1931 the four-cylinder Tracta were racing everywhere. In 1929’s grueling Le Mans, a Tracta finished ninth overall and won its class in a race dominated by the big Bentleys. A year later, Jean Albert Grégoire and Fernand Vallon finished eighth overall and first in class after covering just over 1,300 miles. These feats fully demonstrated the reliability of the Tracta CV joints.
He championed the use of independent suspension systems, disc brakes, and aluminum construction in his designs, all of which were considered cutting-edge at the time.
During World War II, Grégoire's innovative spirit led him to develop the "Gregoire Car" in 1942, a car designed for wartime conditions with a focus on resource efficiency. This vehicle featured a compact size, low fuel consumption, and a simple yet functional design.
His emphasis on efficiency, aerodynamics, and lightweight construction anticipated many trends in the industry and continues to inspire designers and engineers to think outside the box.