Nevertheless, a French industrialist
will try to bring that market back to life in 1967. In those days, Jean Tastevin
is director of the CFMF (French railway company) that chain produces train wagons.
Great amateur of luxury cars that he was, he felt it was a shame not to be able
to get any French prestigious cars anymore. He then decides to make his own automobile:
Monica was born. Why Monica? His wife's first name was Monique!
to have a well managed enterprise he recruited a British man by the name of Chris
Lawrence to conceive a high performance car with four seats. The first Monica
was ready by April 1968. Williams et Pritchard, the British mechanical workshop
built the first prototype. The results does not satisfy Jean Tastevin, he then
turn around and collaborates with a young stylist from Romania, Tony Rascanu to
redesign the Monica. With this implication Monica became the one that we know
Henri Chapron who was a master coachbuilder created a wooden mock-up
which he then sent to a coachbuilder in Torino: Vignale who was assigned to build
the Monica. Unfortunately, Alfredo Vignale dies in the year of 1969 at that point
his enterprise was sold. Jean Tastevin, then decides to order from Airflow Streamlines
(a British company) a fourth prototype. The Monica was presented in Paris at the
"Salon de l'Auto" 1972 official opening.
The one presented in 1972 by Jean
Tastevin is equipped with an engine studied by the British engineer Ted Martin:
it is actually a V8 conceived for the Formula 1 re-bored at 3.5 liters with 240
hp at 6000 rpm. It is though a light and high performance engine, but to sophisticated
and does not compel with the expected reliability.
Like Facel-Vega in 1954,
Jean Tastevin calls upon the Chrysler company to supply his 5.9 liters (360 ci).
It will finally the Chrysler 5.6 liters (340 ci) that will be chosen.
head, valves and pistons modifications, this engine is good for 285 hp at 5000
rpm. With this engine, the 1850 kg of the Monica could reach 240 km/h. In these
it was the highest performance four door car proposed on the market.
again the Monica is presented to the Salon de Paris in 1973. Unfortunately that
year the petroleum industry suffered a big crisis. The price of petroleum went
sky rocketing five times the normal price within one year. Also draconian speed
limitations were established.
It's the end of a dream. While most of the
prestigious makes can hardly sale there products, Jean Tastevin must make his
point. Time wont be enough, he decides to stop the production. Meanwhile 20 of
them had been built.
Monica has a very modern design: Italian front end
(Maserati Indy), also Italian towards the back (Ferrari 365 GT), but British especially
sideways (Aston-Martin DBS). Most importantly, it's a real four door, four seat
sport type on magnificent large aluminum wheels.
The interior is sumptuous.
Opening the doors from the inside has never been so easy: simple touch of a button,
assisted by an automatic no noise system to close them back. The seats are in
genuine Connolly leather, thick carpet covers the complete floor and lower parts
of the doors. The dash is in precious wood with full instrumentation: speedometer,
tachometer, oil temperature and pressure, ammeter, water temperature, fuel gauge
and clock, covered in suede and leather, like the central console with the commands
for electric windows, courtesy lights and lighter. Unlike most of the GT's of
that era, the seats offer a remarkable comfort and the visibility is great for
Production is stopped in 1974, the then high price of gas
and speed limits (invented and created in order to reduce gas consumption and
then later for pollution and security reasons) killed the enthusiasm of a great