Beau Automotive Company est. 1948

The Beau Automotive Company was founded in 1948 at a small factory in the French city of Lyon by Charles Beau. Their aim was to create small, inexpensive cars for the post-war recovering country. Their initial budget was small but they had some starting successes with cars like the Beau Lyon in 1949 which earned them enough money to expand and grow the company. By 1955 they had multiple factories in Lyon and a few car models which were mostly big hits. In 1960, Charles Beau decided to gather some money and start a racing team, Beau Motorsport. Beau hired his first racing driver, who was called Alphonse Baptiste. He had prior experience racing in the late 50s and was a decent driver who had taken home some trophies from smaller, less known races in the countryside. The Beau company aswell as Beau Motorsport continued expanding through the years, and is now one of the biggest car companies in France. Nowadays, the CEO of the Beau Automotive Company is Charles Beau’s son, Jean Beau.

(more lore coming along with car posts!)


One of two Lyons at the Beau Museum studio, 2024

A Beau Lyon parked in an Italian street, 1967

Beau Lyon
The 1949 Beau Lyon was the first car made by the Beau Automotive Company, and was said by Charles Beau himself to have helped kickstart the company. It was advertised as cheap and reliable which attracted many people’s attention due to the broken post-war economy. The Lyon came standard with a 1000cc Inline 3 motor pushing 27HP, paired to a 3-speed manual. The interior of the car was put together from old designs out of pre-war 30s cars to reduce costs, and sometimes even the engine parts came from different cars due to a limited budget. It came with no heating or basic features, however it was fuel efficient and mostly reliable which made it a big success. Due to the success of the car and a very cheap production cost, almost 300,000 were produced from 1949 to 1952 (from mostly late 1950 and upwards) and many can be seen driving around France even nowadays with people even organising events such as races and parades with them. The Lyon was a huge success despite the small budget it had, and brought in very much needed income for the company which allowed it to expand. 2 examples of the Lyon are in the Beau museum in the city of Lyon, one factory silver coloured one and a special red coloured version which was made as part of the last 5,000 produced cars.


Hello! Cute little car :slight_smile: Although, as typical for me, I have a small realism nitpick. In a French company I’d suggest paying attention to the so-called “fiscal horsepower” - it made French engines small for a long time. Specifically, 1000 cc is really quite large for a cheap, French car engine. The more or less subcompact (for the time and place) Renault 4 CV used a ~0.75 engine - only. The famous - and, admittedly, extreme - Citroen 2CV used a 374 cc engine at first, later enlarged to… 425 cc. The midsize (again, for the time and place) Simca Aronde used a ~1.2.

But, don’t worry too much, it’s not super important, so do with that knowledge what you like :stuck_out_tongue:
Oh, and I have a Lyon based company too! Fun to see a local competitor :wink: I’d just have to finally make the thread for it when I have time, which might be in around a month… or two…
Good luck with yours :slight_smile:

Thanks for the feedback, I didnt really look into it too much but that is good to know! Looking forward to seeing what you have aswell :slightly_smiling_face:

A Leap at the Beau Museum studio, 2024

A line of Beau Leaps being shipped from the Lyon factory depot to the dealership, 1953

Beau Leap
The 1952 Beau Leap was the second car from the Beau Automotive Company. In 1951 Charles Beau looked at the success of the previous 1949 Beau Lyon and decided that since they had the ability to now and competition was growing, they should improve on it. The company now had a steady flow of money from the success of the Lyon and could step up from the basics of it. The Leap was also built on the Lyon platform, however the original 27HP engine was tuned to push 3 more horsepower up to 30 and efficiency upgrades were made. The 3-speed manual was replaced with a 4-speed manual and the Leap could now push a higher top speed which was ideal for going outside of the city. The old, pre-war interior design was thrown out and replaced by a modern interior which included a small heater and a radio system. Overall, the Leap was considered as an improvement or a 2nd version of the Lyon by engineers, which is why the name “Leap” was decided on. The Leap caught people’s eyes fast in the market due to it being marketed as “A Lyon, but better” in 1951. Seeing the advertising success, Charles Beau ordered the Lyon to be replaced by the Leap as soon as possible. Production of the Lyon ceased in early 1952 and the first Leap rolled off the assembly line in mid 1952. Overall, the Leap was a big hit to the public and about 750,000 were produced from 1952 to 1958 in orange, green, white and blue colours with various examples belonging to the Beau museum nowadays.

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A Beau Fourvière at the Beau museum studio, 2024

A maintained Beau Fourvière driving in France, 2017

Beau Fourvière
Towards the end of 1957, the Beau Leap was starting to fall off in sales due to a rising demand in bigger family cars that could haul plenty of cargo and comfortably seat a whole family. Charles Beau decided that the engineering team should begin designing a new 4-door family car that could appeal to their previous consumers and get them to stick with the brand, however they had no previous experience with larger 4-door vehicles. They decided to look at other family cars that sold generally well at the time, and took notes on customer preferances. They saw that when families went on road trips, they generally loaded their cars up with multiple bags of items to last the trip. They knew that the base engine model they had been working with would need replacement to bring out more power and the rear suspension would have to be strengthened to carry luggage. This car would have a new Inline-4 engine instead of the traditional Inline-3 and custom-made dual carburetors which increased both fuel efficiency and horsepower up to around 50. The rear coil spring suspension would be replaced with a leaf spring suspension to increase carrying capacity and a bench seat would be added in the rear with plenty of legroom between the front and rear rows. They would add a bigger heating system and a better radio aswell as softer seats for long trips. A stylish front and rear would be designed to make the car stand out in the dealer above all. They would call this car the Fourvière after the hill in Lyon which held many famous buildings ontop. The car was approved for production in mid-1958 with the Leap being decomissioned around the same time. The first Fourvière sedans were completed in late 1958 and were popular due to the heavy and pricey marketing campaign launched by Charles Beau himself. Close to one million Fourvière sedans were produced in red, black, blue, orange and brown colours from 1958 to 1965 and was the childhood car of many people today.


That looks like a leap forward compared with the, erm, Leap - especially since it’s moved into the next size class up.