The Frenchman Jean Travestin had a dream. He wanted to create his own brand of automobile and called this – probably after his wife Monique – ‘Monica’. The sporty sedan should line up in the successful line of French automobile history and become a worthy predecessors of the Facel Vega. Seven prototypes and 10 production vehicles originated out of this great idea. But only a handful of these exclusive vehicle got preserved.
As early as 1968, a first prototype was created, which had been delivered to Chris Lawrence in England in 1967. But Trastevin didn´t like the result. The next job went to designer Henri Chapron and the new sheet metal dress was made at Vignale. However, Alfredo Vignale died in 1969 and the bodywork factory was closed. Tastevin commissioned the British design company Airflow Streamless. Finally a there designed model could be shown on the Paris Automobile Show in 1972. The vehicle was much more pleasing than the first prototype, but equipped with a 3.5 litre V8 which the Ted Martin developed over three years, it was much to weak.
New prototypes were built in 1973, using a Chrysler 5.6 l V-8 engine. This powerful 285 HP strong engine brought the 1850 kg Monica to a top speed of about 240 km/h and made it the fastest four-door car on the market. So, the Monica had another premiere at the Paris Motor Show and Geneva in 1973.
The Monica shown here, is probably one of the 7 prototypes and is equipped with a 5.6 l engine. The power of the engine is transmitted with a 3-speed automatic transmission to the rear axle.
The sleek full steel body shows design attributes of Maseratis or Ferraris with folding headlights, while the tail shape is a strongly reminiscent of a Jaguar.
The Interior is luxurious. The Walnut wood dash is framed by Alcantara leather. The large Chair-like bucket seats, Connolly leather, can easily accommodate and ensure a pleasant journey. In the rear there´s only little head room for larger passengers due to the low roofline, but much legroom. The driving experience is exhilarating, because the Monica glides over the road and floats virtually through over road irregularities, due to the balanced chassis tuning.
Understatement was the marketing branding on the Monica. Only on the steering wheel and the wheel trims you can see the curved brand logo of Monica. The lettering in the instruments is very filigree. The Monica should be priced approximately 14,000 pounds, which already exceeded the cost of a Ferrari Daytona or a Rolls Royce. This price and also the then dominant oil crisis should seal the fate of the Monica. After probably about 10 production vehicles and 7 prototypes, the production had to be stopped in February 1975. Today only 5 Monica vehicles are preserved and became one of the rarerest classic cars in the world.
|Technical data: Monica 560 prototype|
|Engine:||Chrysler 560 V-8 engine|
|Bore x stroke:||K.a..|
|Compression ratio:||8.5: 1|
|Mixture formation:||ASD type|
|Performance:||285 HP at 4500 RPM|
|Maximum speed:||about 240 km/h|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h:||K.A..|
|Suspension front:||k. A.|
|Body:||Mesh tube frame with steel body|
|Track width front:||k. A.|
|Track width rear:||k. A.|
|Year of construction:||1968-1975|