Narval vintage microcar
General info on the brand
Bernard Lagier unveiled the first Narval at the 3rd Racing Car Salon in January 1972. A total of only 30 Narval chassis would be assembled. The Narval brand did not survive the crisis of 1973 and operations were discontinued in 1974.
The Narvals were made at the Crozier family's factory in Cambrai, which specialized in the production of aviation components. The name 'Narval' comes from the popular weekly magazine 'Spirou', which was also read by the four Crozier brothers (Jacques, Henri, Pierre and Gérard). Spirou featured a comic with the adventures of 'Tif and Tondu', a duo with a beautiful sports car. The hood of this car had the letters 'narval' on it. When the Crozier brothers were looking for a name for their own cars, it was quickly found. The logo with the bat was an idea of racing driver Bernard Lagier, inspired by the logo of his sports club (bat club).
For the production, Crozier collaborated with two other companies: Matra (Mécanique Aviation Traction) made all the general mechanics and cast parts (such as wheel suspension, engine suspension, ...), the rear hubs, the racks, .... In return Crozier made the containers in which Matra transported its R530 missiles. Assembly took place at Corbeil in Gâtinais.
There are a total of 3 models: the Narval JCI, JC2 and JC3. 12 copies of the first model - the JC1 - were ordered by the racing driver school of former German racing driver Hubert Hahne. 15 copies of the second model - the JC2 - entered Formula Renault. The pilots were Jean-Pierre-Cassegrain, Gérard Di Bartoloméo, Bernard Lagier, François Tiano, Henri Castaigne, Jean-Pierre Griffat, Michel Houllier, Philippe de Hening, Roland Le Gourierrerec and Yves Forestier. Only one of the JC3 was ordered by Christian Ethuin as a showpiece in his Formula 3. Two additional copies were ordered by Gérard Crozier but never finished.
The idea of building a single-seater came about when Gérard Crozier ran into motorsport legend Paul-Claude Wackerman during one of Jacques' single-seater races. Wackerman had met Gérard before and told Gérard that he would go to England the following Monday to order from March 12 chassis for the school he planned to set up with ex-racing driver Hubert Hahne. One thing led to another, and Wackerman would ultimately order the chassis not from March but from the Crozier brothers. Max Mosley, owner of March and later also chairman of the FIA, would never have known about this lost order ...
In this context it is important to know that Gérard Crozier had gained the necessary technical experience at the company MRD where he assembled the Brabham BT35 Formula 3 chassis. Engineer Ron Tauranac then gave him permission to copy the BT35 chassis in exchange for his work. He did ask Crozier to change the name and nose of the car. The basis of the copy was a chassis of the BT29 Formula Atlantic with all accompanying parts. Interestingly diverse is that during this period Gérard Crozier met both Ron Denis (future owner of Mac Laren) and Gordon Murray (future engineer Formula 1). The Narval JC1 was thus a copy of a Brabham Formula 3 chassis with a wheelbase reduced to 217 cm. The first 12 examples for Hubert Hahne were equipped with a BMW 2-liter 4-cylinder engine and Hewland gearbox.
The letters JC are a tribute to Jacques Crozier, the brother who died on the Zolder circuit in 1969 during a test drive. Jacques was an ex-racing driver who was a driving instructor on the track at the time. In his pursuit of the perfect line, he still went to great lengths and that fatal day he drove down the track in the opposite direction to study the trajectory more closely. But crash barriers are not designed for impact from any other direction, and when Jacques missed the turn, the blow was fatal ...
Brother Gérard Crozier remained active as a car builder for a long time. He would build a replica of the Lancia Stratos in the 1990s and was contacted by Henri Chemin with the request to make a sports chassis from a prototype for the Coupe Simca Shell 2L (JRD). This project would never be realized for economic reasons.
Crozier turned 69 in 2017 and now runs a bike shop in le Touquet. He still builds single-seater race cars for children. I can only assume that this is one of those !
The car we sell
Narval Micro car (type JC 713.350 / chassis no.25
Manufacturer: Crozier S.A., Cambrai France)
This car is in original condition and unrestored. It exhibits a unique patina, but does require a lot of work to be made 'roadworthy'.