Lotus 19 – A History

by Kevin Whittle. 2017 review by Peter McFadyen This is a new companion volume to the Lotus 35 history...

Brian Redman – Daring Drivers, Deadly Tracks

by Brian Redman with Jim Mullen.  Foreword by Mario Andretti.  Published by Evro Publishing 2016 review by Peter McFadyen...

Aspects of Motoring History # 13

Published July 2017. 108 pages, colour cover, over 60 black & white illustrations and charts, softbound, and 8 pages of full colour. Contents: Obituary:...

Aspects of Motoring History #12

Published July 2016. 113 pages, colour cover, over 70 black & white illustrations and charts, softbound, and 5 pages of full colour. Contents: The...

SNAPSHOT 102: SARA

At first glance, this unusual old sports car has the appearance of a one-off special. Its lines and especially radiator are unhappy. Vestigial side-screens make a protective gesture for the crew, doubtless very necessary in view of the deeply cut-away body sides. The ‘radiator’ in fact was merely a dummy grille. But this car was indeed an example of a production model, of which one or two did find their way to the UK. The French firm, Societé des Automobiles à Refroidissement par Air, modestly opted not to use their full name for the cars they made – they were marketed as SARAs. 4-cylinder cars of 1100cc and with push-rod ohv were sold between 1923 and 1927, when a six-cylinder model of 1806cc capacity was introduced. The fours were left-hand drive, but – oddly – the few photographs known of the ‘sixes’ show RHD.

Generally conventional for their day apart from well-thought-out air cooling to the cylinders, which featured a turbo blower and elaborate ducting, SARAs were consistent performers, demonstrating their reliability in the Le Mans 24-hour race throughout their production span. The make’s best result there was a fifth place in 1927 (Mirandet & Lecureul).

Our photograph shows a late six-cylinder SARA, registered (Northampton CBC) in 1930 – the year that production of SARA cars ceased. It was posed outside what perhaps were the modest premises of the British agents, below a billiard hall – a poster (cropped off here) advertised the third place won by an MG in the JCC 1000 Miles Race.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.