The “Motorcar Experience” area
In this huge 17,000 m² hall, lit by 800 lamp posts identical to those on the Alexandre III bridge in Paris, 243 cars that have marked their era tell the story of the motorcar from 1878 through to the present today. The motorcars are organized into chronological periods :
- The “Forerunners” The period from 1878 to 1918 features Panhard, Peugeot, De Dion and Benz models. This was when the Panhard design defined what would be the essentials of the modern motorcar for decades to come with (from front to back): an engine, clutch, gearbox and rear-wheel transmission.
- The “Classics” cover a second phase (1918-1938) which was symbolised by the merging of two important carmakers: Mercedes and Benz. This merge marked the beginning of the "super car" era, when automobiles took on incredible power and size. Mass production of front-wheel drives by Citroën in 1934 was the great technical innovation of the era. Finally, Peugeot made an important advance when it opened the Sochaux factories.
- The “Moderns” from 1945 onwards are marked by the appearance of light, inexpensive cars. Carmakers abandoned plans for costly vehicles catering to the middle-class market to concentrate on developing cars which consumed less fuel. This advance was made possible in large part by applying the ideas of Taylorism.