Fontan Mistral

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bikemonkey

I live for the CABE
Jun 25, 2016
1,272
67
North Carolina , Albemarle, NC, United States
Here is one you don't see everyday :cool:

This particular model, which bears his name, does little to honor the incredible racing Frenchman, Victor Fontan. His circa 1920's career was based only in France where he was sponsored by the Elvish Bicycle Company...how cool is that?

There was a TDF race day that he would gladly have ridden this bike...read the wiki...not long but fascinating. Teaser...he was one of the only three people in history that were sanctioned to wear the Tour de France yellow jersey on the same day!

1570701626908.png

1570701654885.png



1570701676650.png
 
Last edited:

juvela

I live for the CABE
Aug 2, 2014
1,263
Playa del Rey, United States
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Thanks very much for posting. ;)

Have your researches turned up any ideas for the identity of the maker of this example?

Graphics on seat tube transfer are reminiscent of those of Roold.

Do not wish to assert an i.d., it may be one avenue for you to explore...

Cannot be much earlier than about 1971, nor much later than ~1973.

There should be a date marking on the backside of the cycle's Simplex Prestige rear mech:

Simplex_Prestige_Derailleur_Date.jpg


There may also be a date marking on the bicycle's SAMIR Saminox wheel rims.

If saddle a member of the Tron et Berthet family of products there may be a marking on the underside of the cantle plate.

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Last edited:

juvela

I live for the CABE
Aug 2, 2014
1,263
Playa del Rey, United States
-----

Following a wee dram o' exploration was able to confirm that subject bicycle indeed and Elvish product.

Victor Fontan had ridden for the Elvish sponsored professional team 1928-30 and the company retained right to manufacture cycles with his name. Ofttimes they bore both the Elvish and Fontan names on the same machine.

This Elvish bike, dated by its owner as 1972, bears close similarities to our subject example. Frame done with same BOCAMA lug pattern and fork crown. Exhibits same seat stay treatment. Wears same "made in france" transfer. Note close similarity of head transfer to the Fontan one of the subject bike. Fittings similar as well: same Gourgaud headset, same NERVAR chainset, same Lyotard Nr. 36R pedals. Rear mech appears later than '72; if cycle really '72 then it must be a later replacement.

1972 Elvish a)  .jpg


1972 Elvish b)  .jpg


1972 Elvish c)  .jpg


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The Elvish cycle company was founded by a Monsieur Grosnier who raced from 1913 to 1930. Grosnier and Fontan were both natives of Pau, a town in the far south of France near the Spanish border.

http://www.map-france.com/Pau-64000/road-map-Pau.html

Here are two images of Fontan from the 1928-30 period when he competed for the Elvish team:

https://forum.tontonvelo.com/download/file.php?i.d.=114252&sid=0733050db030d14e72b0f6e26d84377f

https://forum.tontonvelo.com/download/file.php?i.d.=114253&sid=0733050db030d14e72b0f6e26d84377f

The company reportedly closed in the 1980's; have not thus far been able to find a specific year. Latest examples of Elvish cycles found appear to date from mid-to-late 1970's.

---

Here is a berceau circa 1950 marked as both Elvish and Fontan -

Elvish - Fontan berceau a)  .jpg


Elvish - Fontan berceau b)  .jpg


Elvish - Fontan berceau c) .jpg


Elvish -Fontan berceau d)  .jpg


Elvish -Fontan berceau e)  .jpg


Elvish - Fontan berceau f) .jpg


Elvish - Fontan berceau  g) .jpg


Elvish - Fontan berceau h) .jpg


Elvish - Fontan berceau  i)  .jpg


Thanks for reading! ;)

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bikemonkey

I live for the CABE
Jun 25, 2016
1,272
67
North Carolina , Albemarle, NC, United States
-----

Following a wee dram o' exploration was able to confirm that subject bicycle indeed and Elvish product.

Victor Fontan had ridden for the Elvish sponsored professional team 1928-30 and the company retained right to manufacture cycles with his name. Ofttimes they bore both the Elvish and Fontan names on the same machine.

This Elvish bike, dated by its owner as 1972, bears close similarities to our subject example. Frame done with same BOCAMA lug pattern and fork crown. Exhibits same seat stay treatment. Wears same "made in france" transfer. Note close similarity of head transfer to the Fontan one of the subject bike. Fittings similar as well: same Gourgaud headset, same NERVAR chainset, same Lyotard Nr. 36R pedals. Rear mech appears later than '72; if cycle really '72 then it must be a later replacement.

1972 Elvish a)  .jpg


1972 Elvish b)  .jpg


1972 Elvish c)  .jpg


---
The Elvish cycle company was founded by a Monsieur Grosnier who raced from 1913 to 1930. Grosnier and Fontan were both natives of Pau, a town in the far south of France near the Spanish border.

http://www.map-france.com/Pau-64000/road-map-Pau.html

Here are two images of Fontan from the 1928-30 period when he competed for the Elvish team:

https://forum.tontonvelo.com/download/file.php?i.d.=114252&sid=0733050db030d14e72b0f6e26d84377f

https://forum.tontonvelo.com/download/file.php?i.d.=114253&sid=0733050db030d14e72b0f6e26d84377f

The company reportedly closed in the 1980's; have not thus far been able to find a specific year. Latest examples of Elvish cycles found appear to date from mid-to-late 1970's.

---

Here is a berceau circa 1950 marked as both Elvish and Fontan -

Elvish - Fontan berceau a)  .jpg


Elvish - Fontan berceau b)  .jpg


Elvish - Fontan berceau c) .jpg


Elvish -Fontan berceau d)  .jpg


Elvish -Fontan berceau e)  .jpg


Elvish - Fontan berceau f) .jpg


Elvish - Fontan berceau  g) .jpg


Elvish - Fontan berceau h) .jpg


Elvish - Fontan berceau  i)  .jpg


Thanks for reading! ;)

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I missed your reply - thank you for you time and effort in posting all of the info!. It is not mine but a CL bike and is still listed. I also went down the rabbit hole on Elvish, being a Tolkien fan (who isn't) and they did some crazy bikes...lug work just so ornate.

BTW - I always enjoy your responses...you are a huge asset to the CABE!
 
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juvela

I live for the CABE
Aug 2, 2014
1,263
Playa del Rey, United States
-----

Good to read information of interest.

As a student of Elvish/Fontan you might like to see this article.

It explains that the Elvish marque has its origins in Britain as an offshoot of BSA.

Or perhaps you have run into it already...


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