Salmson (Société des Moteurs Salmson, Billancourt,France)
Competitive years: 1928-1934
Horsepower Range: 64-140
A Salmson straight eight 1100cc twin cam with semi desmodromic valves (mechanically operated) was going to finally defeat the pesky MC0 Amilcar. And it almost did.
After WWI, Salmson or turned from airplane engines to cars by building the English GN Light car under license in France. They also hired a brilliant designer, Emile Petit, who created a very modern DOHC four of 1100cc. A “Grand Prix” variant with a Cozette supercharger was successful in voiturette classes in the late 1920s and the cars continued to win in their class up to 1934. These cars were able to defeat the Amilcars until the advent of the MC0 six.
So Petit went a step further and designed a straight eight twin cam often thought to have desmodromic valves. (It didn’t, see photo). It did have a center cam drive which pre-dated the Jano 8C 2300 though. However, only two were built, and it being the Depression, Salmson gave up racing, and the cars passed into the hands of Armand Girod, who won the 1100cc class at Montlhery in 1934. The great days of the Amilcar and Salmson racing rivalry were coming to a close by 1934. Salmson continued to produce a line of sports cars and sedans until 1957.