Claveau 9CV
The MPV that had everything. Except customers

With the valuable support of Prof. Massimo Grandi’s depth of knowledge and illustrative talent

Photo credit: Some images are taken from the book Asi Service "Quando le disegnava il vento" by Massimo Grandi

The concepts proposed by Emile Claveau with his 9CV, unveiled in Paris in 1927 but conceived and under development since 1923, were not actually applied until as late as the 1930s. Claveau, who had studied art, loved cars, but he was starting to find them monotonous, both in their lines and in their technical features.

Exploiting the advantages of aerodynamics, Emile Claveau built a true ante litteram MPV. His 9CV was unveiled in 1927

He therefore decided to revolutionize everything, aiming to create more room for occupants, reduce consumption through aerodynamics, and increase safety by opting for a low center of gravity and four-wheel independent suspension. His 9CV, which was preceded by a lovely little Torpedo, the 4CV, combined the engine, gearbox and differential in a single block, which was mounted rearward at the level of the axle shafts.

The main features of Claveau’s design were the steel load-bearing platform and — this was a novelty — the engine, gearbox and differential all combined in a single block

The car also boasted plenty of room inside, as befitting a true ante litteram MPV — this was possible thanks to the use of a shell-shaped steel platform in place of a tube chassis —, as well as a pure aerodynamic shape, profiled and slender like that of a ship.

Perfect accessibility to the engine and an attractive interpretation of the air outlets on the tail, which was pointed, giving the car a teardrop shape

Once again, though, it turned out that the market was not ready for highly innovative ideas, with manufacturers instead preferring to stick with square shapes and large radiators, often decorated with symbols of nobility or prestige. But the time was becoming ripe for genius struggling to find expression. The next decade was indeed to bring more experiences, some even successful. And this was just the start.

In 1923 Emile Claveau presented this little Torpedo 4CV, a preview of the ideas he was later to develop