The Midget and the Tower

On the back of this postcard it says Toulouse – Hotel de Roquetes, Tour du Tournoer. Nowadays the hotel is called the Hotel Dahus. The building was built in the late fifteenth century and the tower added in 1532. Sometime in the mid twentieth century this motley collection of motor cars parked outside and was caught by a postcard photographer as he took aim at the tower.

After the Citroën Traction Avant and DS, if you were to think of some quintessentially French cars you would surely have the Renault R8, Citroen Ami 6, Renault 4 and Citroën 2CV. All caught here, the R4 (or is it a 10?) a little worse for wear and all cars I love.

On the tower is an inscription in Latin which the driver of the MG Midget (Austin Healey Sprite?) probably invoked. Esto Michi Domine Turris Fortitudinis a Facie Inimici, which roughly translates Lord be a tower of strength to me as I park here amongst the Enemy.

6 thoughts on “The Midget and the Tower

  1. Sharing your observations: R8 and R4, 2CV and Ami 6, and MG Midget (chrome between headlight and rear lamp; MG-type grille). Renault 10 replaced the (basically unchanged) R8. Featured an extended bonnet and boot, with rectangular lights. But now for the next level question: what’s that car partly hiding the 2CV?

    1. Well, the rear light looks BMC to me but it’s not an 1100 because those have thick rear pillars. I thought maybe a Wolseley Hornet or Riley Elf but they do not have rear quarter lights. It doesn’t look like a hatchback but has a very small boot. Tell me! On staring at that corner of the postcard I see there is a white car behind the 2CV. I’ll post an enlarged image below. That is your new challenge!
      mystery car

  2. BMC ADO16-ish, indeed. But even no 1300 Traveller with its thin rear pillars. I’d spotted the rear quarter light as well, being an important giveaway. It’s part of an early Autobianchi Primula in 3-door hatchback version. In its time the Primula was rather usual in France, but now very rare, anywhere. Should have become famous because of its front-wheel-drive and transverse engine. ‘Secret’ try-out prototype of the Fiat 128!
    Thank you for your next proposed challenge. Needs staring at and thinking about…

    1. Another car I had not heard of. Well done! It’s an education 🙂
      Two door with boot –

      Autobianchi Primula two door with boot

      Three door hatchback –

      Autobianchi Primula

  3. I was wrong, partly, Bob. These photos clearly show the many differences between the two versions (Mk II / boot, vs Mk I / hatchback). The Primula in France is (was…) the Mk II boot type. By the way, there were four and five door Primulas, and a sporty coupe, too!
    The mystery car’s trapezoid-formed front grille reminds me of the one on the Citroën Dyane. The height of the headlight seems correct. The strange (shadow?) hassle above it is the confusing part.

    1. I was thinking Renault Caravelle. Some had the word Caravelle on their noses but others had the same badge as used on the Dauphine. I was thinking it could be one of those?
      Renault Caravelle

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