from the basement of a pavilion to Formula 1!

In 1983, Gérard Godfroy designed the Venturi. Photo Gerard Godfroy

There is always a great man or woman behind every brand. At Venturi, two of them, Gérard and Claude, work at Heuliez. Two co-workers who get along and sometimes dream of ditching everything to build their own car.

On the one hand, Gérard Godfroy, designer from Peugeot, where he drew the main lines of the Peugeot 205, on the other hand Claude Poiraud, the technician. The two colleagues were 37 years old and, at the beginning of 1984, the venture was launched as a challenge: they would build a sports car from scratch.

Gérard Godfroy resigned, Claude Poiraud made available the garage of his house.

An unwavering determination

Therefore, Gérard works full time making a model. Claude accompanies him, in the evenings after work, on weekends or even during vacations. “We work in the basement of Claude’s pavilion, without any means.” recalls Gérard Godfroy.

“From time to time I do drawings for a company that specializes in grape presses. So I trade design work with them for polyurethane foam, polyester resin or glass fabric! With the Vaslin Bucher wine presses I made the first Venturi model. But we are determined that nothing will stop us”, he continued.

Gérard Godfroy talks about the beginnings of the brand.  Photo Nicolas Laperruque

Gérard Godfroy talks about the beginnings of the brand. Photo Nicolas Laperruque

Just one project, make a car

“Back then we didn’t know where it would take us. Between me and Claude, it’s our first and then we’ll see.” explained Gérard Godfroy. “But I made a bet: show the finished car at the Paris Motor Show in October 1984. I’m a broke unemployed that person, that no one knows, and I want to stand at the Paris Motor Show.”

After the first 1:5 model, a full-scale model was built between February and October 1984. For Gérard, these were long working days, every day, evenings and weekends.

After several months of hard work, the first Venturi was ready. Direction of Paris.

The first show for MVS

The two men were so tired that they asked their friends to take them to Paris. The car, displayed on the “Godfroy” stand, has Volkswagen Golf GTI mechanics, openings and a complete interior, but is not drivable.

From the first hours, the public won. “People came to ask us where this car came from. When we told them it was French, they didn’t believe us. They thought it was Italian. A nice compliment.”

A car with the name MVS, for Manufacture de Voitures de Sport. The model name is Ventury. The first logo is an oval with the letters MVS.

The Venturi is the only French sports car.  Photo Venturi

The Venturi is the only French sports car. Photo Venturi

An ambitious brand, changing its name

The car is loved but you still need to be able to sell it and do it. A financier, Hervé Boulan, will work there by finding partners and funds. In the meantime, we entrusted the realization of the chassis to Philippe Beloou, engineer at Rondeau.

And at Le Mans, in the workshops of Jean Rondeau, the first rolling Venturi, this time with its own chassis and a Peugeot 505 Turbo engine. This would be the last project of Jean Rondeau who died in a road accident at the end of 1985.

Up to Formula 1!

The following years saw the MVS brand name the model, Venturi. In the meantime, the Y was transformed into an I. Eventually marketed to a V6 PRV, finished by hand with the utmost care and equipped with a better chassis than the Alpines, the Venturi was a small that success.

The versions follow each other, in 210 hp, then 260, or in convertible or Transcup versions. But soon, Venturi would face Ferrari head-on. On the road and on the track.

The company’s logo is now an oval, using the blue, white and red colors of the French flag, with a gyrfalcon in its center. This bird, a raptor, is known as the largest and most impressive of the falcons. How to impress the competition? Not so sure…

The venturi Atlantique, the last model produced in the series.  Photo Venturi

The venturi Atlantique, the last model produced in the series. Photo Venturi

in a hurry

Venturi, who had changed bosses and investors several times since the start of the venture, asked Gérard Godfroy, who remained an independent designer, to create an ultra-sporty version. This will be the 400GT, with 400 horsepower and a big Ferrari F40-style spoiler.

But if on the product side it is a success, on the financial side the brand is still not profitable. That’s when it was decided to start with…with Formula 1!

Formula 1, like Ferrari

In 1992, new leaders announced unexpected news. Venturi entered F1 by purchasing the French team Larrousse F1. For many observers, including Xavier de la Chapelle, who had just left Venturi’s management, this was a very bad idea: “How can a company like Venturi, which still hasn’t made a profit, get out of this by entering F1 ?”

The future would quickly prove him right. After several changes of direction, filing for bankruptcy, the Venturi venture ceased on May 17, 2000.

Venturi went electric and changed its logo.  Photo Venturi

Venturi went electric and changed its logo. Photo Venturi

Venturi, new formula

The commercial court entrusted the case to Gildo Pastor, a wealthy Monegasque. He built a new car, the Fétish. First thermal, finally it will be electric.

In fact, contrary to the entrepreneur’s forecasts, finding an engine supplier turned out to be more complicated than expected. Renault, Peugeot and Alfa-Romeo are down. Shown at all the fairs, the electric Venturi travels around the world without actually being sold.

A new logo appears, simply continuing the red V on a black background. This will apply to all concepts presented globally. Today the Venturi name remains associated with a Formula E team.

According to the latest news, Venturi built a vehicle intended for ice exploration. But no production vehicle has come out since the acquisition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *