clears throat, taps mic
The country has been ravaged. The economy is crappy. They didn’t win the war. They… didn’t really lose either. But either way, most of the infrastructures were destroyed, and they were going to need to get back to work. As soon as possible.
And that’s where enters that one factory that had been building trucks and tanks in the middle of Alsace… one time for the French. And then for the Germans. And then the French again. and the Germans again… Yeah, Alsace wasn’t really the place to be during the war. It was like being a dwarf in a lane at the post office behind a 6ft4 guy that had Taco Bell at lunch. Not good, I’ll tell you hwhat.
Either way. This factory was now back to the French. And the French were going to make use of the miraculously intact infrastructures.
Introducing FAAL (Fabrique d’Automobiles d’Alsace-Lorraine)
They’re not that big, so far. But they have tools. and dudes. And the will to put France back on wheels.
So they gathered a team of engineers and salesmen, and determined what the country needed at that time.
Well. The country needed to get back to work.
The country didn’t have much money.
But it’s alright, because they didn’t need much. Just the basic idea of transportation.
And most importantly: the faster you can launch it, the better.
And those were the guidelines of their very first project: the Plebia.
ᵀᵃᵏᵉ ᵃ ᶜᶫᵒˢᵉʳ ᶫᵒᵒᵏ ᵃᵗ ᵗʰᵃᵗ ˢᶰᵒᵘᵗ﹗
The Plebia. The car that was meant to move the masses. Built on a full steel 2060mm wheelbase ladder chassis with solid axle leaf spring suspension all around, it was first thought of as an utilitarian vehicle, and only then they engineered a people mover out of it.
The first version to be planned was the fourgonnette. Bench seat in the front. Vague springs on it. A wheel. A speedometer. Three pedals. And a fully enclosed 1925L cargo area. There you go.
However, engine development was one of FAAL’s priorities and that’s why the Plebia’s engine has been developed with highly futuristic tech like…
a four speed gearbox
a 1050cc three cylinder engine with overhead valves!
c r o s s f l o w head!
audience chokes on their own tongues
The engine, internally called the 123P (for 1.2 max displacement, 3 cylinders, Pushrod) and the four speed gearbox were the one and only powerplant for every single version of the Plebia, developing 31hp at 4100RPM and keeping the Plebia right there at 4CV.*
(the 1946-spec 123P engine, in all its glory.)
*fiscal horsepower. For non French people here, it’s basically the car tax calculation basis, which also plays a role in insurance prices. The lower, the cheaper. Up until 1978 it was calculated by engine displacement only. From 1978 to 1998, they added gearing in the calculations. From 1998 onwards, engine power and emissions, regardless of displacement. But more on that as the topic goes on.
(Notice the single mirror held in place by whatever piece of metal they could find, and the suicide doors who are only that way because it was way easier to put the hinges on the other side. Classic post-war european engineering.)
And once that was designed, the engineers stayed there, wondering what versions of the car they could build on the cheap after that…
One of them took a shot of Schnapps, and said “LET’S CUT THE ROOF!”
And cut the roof they did.
And fired the guy for alcoholism on the job they did, but that’s another story.
So the second version of the Plebia to be planned was the plateau. A pickup truck. Cut the roof of the fourgonnette. Change two hinges for the tailgate. Boom. You now allow farmers to load stuff without bothering to open doors!
But then there was the serious, complicated business. Making a people mover.
Able to seat 5. And generally be at least better looking than an utilitarian.
Exit the front bench seat. That one moves in the back. And for the front passengers, two separate seats. Yep. that’ll do.
As for the body, drop the back, add two doors, a trunk, some nice sideways badging and make the whole thing slope beautifully at the back… Yep. That surely will make people forget about the bonkers ride height due to the ladder chassis on leaf springs.
The description doesn’t sound appealing, doesn’t it?
But it worked. The Plebia 4P (for 4 portes, or 4 doors for non-fancy people) was… at least success enough to get the company going and raise awareness of FAAL’s existence.
The Plebia 4P! Now with twice as many hinges on the B pillar!
(Hmmmm what a nice carrosserie. You would almost not notice that it’s basically a light truck underneath, right?)
And that was it. FAAL was launched.
The cars were… well, to be fair, by today’s standards, glorified bicycles. But for post-war France, ooh boy. This was more than enough.
With oddly good planning for French people, the factory was ready to start production by the first half of 1948, where the first cars rolled off the chains.
The rest is history.
Hi guys, hope I caught your attention! The official competition had me really hyped and, after years of binge playing that game, finishing a campaign in the KEE engine, switching to UE4 and everything, I finally discover that forum… and what is that? People putting effort in their companies, adding lore, making as and everything? Sign me in!
Anyway. Hope you enjoyed the read. As you can see I have a very unproffessionnal writing style, and a bit wanky because English ain’t my native language, but eh. That’s the point!