This thread will be for all cars I make that are not from the VME Group.
Bertrand is an aircraft manufacturer founded in 1915, which also used to have an automotive division between 1950 and 2002. Similar to Subaru, they used recycled aviation technology in their first cars; similar to the Volkswagen Group, they maintained the rear-engined air-cooled paradigm for as long as possible, and similar to Saab, there have been unsuccessful attempts to revive the division under new management since its liquidation. The 1996 Bertrand A3 was the latest and, as it would turn out, last generation of their popular compact sedan, which didn’t sell as well as it did in previous decades; the lukewarm success of their bread-and-butter model due to factors such as service costs and the lack of rear legroom despite the cab-forward design was a major reason for the insolvency of Bertrand Motors. All variants used a 1.9 or 2.4L 4V SOHC boxer-four engine, with a 4-speed advanced automatic gearbox initially being available as an option in most trims; a 5-speed advanced auto replaced it as the standard transmission in the Marquis in 2000 and became a new option for the others. All trims except the Metropolitan could be ordered in either sedan, 4-door landau (not pictured), or 2-door cabriolet body styles.
The following variants were available (from right to left in the top image, left to right in the bottom one):
- Metropolitan: The base trim, with a standard interior, cassette player, 5-speed manual gearbox or optional automatic, and a 125hp 2.4L motor equipped with dual SU carburators until 1999, or a 1.9L fuel-injected variant of the same engine with the same power output between 2000 and 2002.
- Meridian: The mid-tier trim with a CD player, power steering, anti-lock brakes, 148hp 2.4L multi-point fuel-injected engine and optional automatic gearbox.
- Marquis: The top non-sporty trim. Unlike most top trims of inexpensive cars, which just have most of the normal options as standard, the Marquis boasted a substantially improved fully premium-grade interior with a premium CD player, traction control, gas mono-tube shocks, alloy wheels, and for the '01 and '02 model years, a standard GPS unit. The engine was the same as in the Meridian but was paired with an automatic gearbox as standard; the 5-speed manual could still be ordered as an option.
- Monte Carlo: The entry-level sport trim with gas mono-tube shocks, a semi-active “Trajectynamic” sway-bar, and a sport-tuned 2.4L engine which made 168hp with regular petrol or 171 with premium. To keep the handling as tight as possible, power steering was not standard but could be added at no extra charge, and a 5-speed manual was standard with the optional automatic only available in Gasmea, North America and Japan.
- Monza: The top sport trim with a turbocharged 2.4L engine producing 233hp and rear disc brakes. A 5-speed manual was the only transmission and, like in the Monte Carlo, power steering was a zero-cost option.
- Memory Lane: A retro-themed limited edition model produced only in 2002 to commemorate the end of production of Bertrand cars. Apart from the exterior changes, it combined the amenities of the Marquis with the more powerful engine of the Monte Carlo.
The rear of the A3
The interiors of the base Metropolitan and top Marquis models
The popularity of the A3 in amateur motorsport is one reason for the scarcity of good examples nowadays. On the right is an automatic Metropolitan that was shamefully condemned to die in a demolition derby despite being in pristine condition; on the left is a manual Meridian in very much not pristine condition that was hauled out of a junkyard and given a second career as a low-budget dirt racer.