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Visit to “La belle époque” workshop

Last Monday, I travelled to “La Belle Epoque” workshop to meet my friend Patrice Coutant.

Patrice is currently in charge of the complete restoration of the engine of our Rochet-Schneider 26-Six.

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This very very rare – unique? – Limousine, ex-Serge Pozzoli collection, had finally remained inactive for too long.

Then last June we faced a real problem, and we took a radical decision: we would have the engine completely rebuilt by a recognised specialist, Patrice Coutant. Patrice is an engine builder who is as comfortable and efficient with an 1896 engine as with a Hispano-Suiza from a Dewoitine 520.

A 450 kg engine

So, for the Rochet-Schneider, the mission was simple: after our big glitch last June, we had to entirely restore the engine. In other words: dismantle everything down to the last nut, clean it, examine it, restore it and eventually replace it. The task proved to be quite difficult as the interior of the engine was more clogged with deposits than expected. 

Moreover, the engine, with its 100 000 km largely exceeded, had never been overhauled (observation made after dismantling).

However, Serge Pozzoli declared in the 1960s (“Le Fanatique de l’Automobile”) that the car could cruise at an average speed of 125 km/h without any problem. The Rochet-Schneider brand has always enjoyed a reputation for extreme quality. The complete dismantling of the engine allowed us to see this for ourselves.

The traces of wear were real and significant, but they were regular, a sign of the uncompromising choice of materials and the precision of the assemblies.

At the moment, all Patrice’s attention is focused on cleaning the engine block parts and of course the oil circuit.

It is a thankless and tedious task but so necessary. It was entrusted to Jerry who started by unclogging the oil passages on the crankshaft after having completely dismantled it. Now it’s the turn of the hoses and grooves.

At the same time, work has progressed on other aspects:

– a new cylinder head gasket room has been made

– the pistons are being manufactured

– the engine block has been re-bored (88.0 > 88.8)

– the overhaul of the magneto is completed, the restoration of the igniter is in progress

– the oil filter per wringer is operational

So now, the tricky question: what is the timetable? Remember that we had to interrupt the sale at Soft Auction.

Patrice plans to run the engine on a bench early November

Then, it will be necessary to fix the engine on the chassis and to proceed to the tests. David will take care of the operation in the workshop of JWA Classic in Belmont de la Loire.

We can therefore envisage our Rochet-Schneider on the road before the end of the year as well as the re-opening of the sale.

Let’s hope so!

In any case, we will keep you regularly informed and will gladly answer your technical or other questions.