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SNAPSHOT 95: 1927 Georges Irat Model A

The Georges Irat car is commonly recalled as a sporty open two-seater version of the Citroen Light 15 that was on the market in the immediate pre-WW2 days, with all-round independent suspension making use of rubber. The French marque goes back much further, to 1921, when Georges Irat, who then was in charge of the Majola light car company of Chatou, Seine et Oise, decided to market a 2-litre car under his own name. The engine of the Model A Georges Irat was the work of Maurice Gaultier, an ex-Delage designer, and it had four cylinders, push-rod overhead valves, and three main bearings, and the whole car was beautifully finished and notably well-laid out. Under the bonnet especially was sculpturally clear of clutter. The carburettor was a single updraft Solex. Performance, too, was well above average, and sales were steady if modest – between 150 and 200 cars per annum from its launch in 1921.

The four-speed gearbox had a central change and the later examples of this Model A featured left hand drive. Braking of Perrot layout was enhanced by Dewandre vacuum servo. Fuel supply was by vacuum tank. The dashboards were well-equipped with quality gauges and instruments, and had an engine-turned finish.

A couple of George Irats competed in the Le Mans 24-hours race in 1923, one finishing in a respectable 15th place.

A 3-litre ‘six’ joined the Model A in 1928, but sales were disappointing, and even more so was an attempt to launch a straight-eight engined model with options of 4·3- or 5·1-litre imported American Lycoming engines. Various other ventures of the 1930s met with little success, as did Irat’s post-war endeavours with diesel engines for buses and tractors, a jeep-like utility and an advanced 1100cc flat four engined car. The business finally closed in 1953.

The Georges Irat that we feature is a 1927 Model A with cabriolet coachwork by Pourtout, restored from a cherished original example to the highest standards. It is part of a private collection in Utah.


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