For the 1912 Dieppe ACF Grand Prix, the Peugeot L76 appeared, the fruit of the imagination of 4 men hired by Robert Peugeot, the head of the great French car manufacturer.
The 3 drivers Jules Goux, Georges Boillot and Paolo Zuccarelli, assisted by the Swiss engineer Ernest Henry, have carte blanche to design a new car in total secrecy. They will arouse criticism and irony from the engineers of the house, who are carefully kept away from the project, and who will baptize the quartet "Les CHARLATANS".
The project works well and quickly and the result is a success, even beyond their expectations.
We are in the days when most racing car engines are monstrous, boasting an insane displacement of up to 20,000cc. The French challenge will be to propose a light engine with 4 cylinders, 2 overhead camshafts and 16 valves, with a displacement of 7,598 cm3 that develops 148 HP at 2200 rpm. The chassis, which is also very light, as well as the 4-speed gearbox, will be designed with particular care. All this, very fast, could easily exceed 190 km/h. A revolution in a sense. With the L76, the French industry finally returns to success.
The options favored by Peugeot, namely lightness, handling, speed and reliability, will be learned and adopted very quickly and then reproduced by all the other manufacturers. Europe and the United States are conquered and the French model will experience exponential growth.
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