OPEN HOUSE TO CONSERVATORY OF VEHICLES OF THE FOUNDATION MARIUS BERLIET, LE MONTELLIER, FRANCE
Then aged 28 years, Marius Berliet, buff mechanics, built his first engine in 1894 and its first car in 1895, then it acquired a factory of 5000 m² at Montplaisir and took his industrial expansion. During the First World War, he made 6000 rounds per day and trucks (40 CBA per day in 1916) and 1058 Renault tanks until 1918. Exclusive manufacturing of heavyweight began in the mid 30s.
The Berliet Company receivership in the Liberation 1944 is returned to the owners in 1949, the year of the death of Marius Berliet. Paul Berliet, his son, who worked in the company, took the reins with the President of the Automobile Marius Berliet, Emile Parfait. 17 trucks per day in 1950, production rose to 140 in 1974.
The range of Berliet trucks, extensive, included road and off-road vehicles, civil and military trucks. All-terrain vehicles were well represented. Four oil exploration trucks T100, the largest in the world at that time, constructed from 1957 to 1959, contributed to the reputation of Berliet, in France and abroad. The GXO 6x6, GPO 6x6 or articulated experimental dumper TX40 4x4, payload 40 t, 4 electric wheels in 1964, constituted an excellent showcase and Berliet became a heavyweight champion.
Key export contracts hands were signed with many countries : Algeria , Morocco , China, Cuba , Poland. An R & D center was established in 1962 and an agreement signed with the Michelin Group in 1967. In 1975, the size of the company, at its peak, was 24 000 people but Berliet was attached to Renault in 1978, Berliet and Saviem became Renault VI. Currently, since 2012, Renault Trucks is a 100% subsidiary of AB Volvo.
Excellent initiative, Paul Berliet created in 1982 Automobile Foundation Marius Berliet with the aim of preserving and promoting the automotive heritage of the Rhône-Alpes region and the history of the heavyweights in general.
End of 2013, the Foundation had a collection of 300 vehicles including nearly 210 restored on 6000 m² and an archive center of 300,000 documents available by researchers. An open door (which actually lasts half a day) is held every year.
Married and with a numerous progeny, Paul Berliet was decorated with several awards, especially the Legion of Honor which he was an Officer since 1975. France-China Committee, that he created in 1975 and chaired until 1983 earned him until his last moments, admiration and respect that the Chinese authorities have always shown him in his capacity as "old friend of China". He died in August 2012.
Photos, royalty free, were taken by J.M. Maclou on May 17, 2014 at the Conservatory of Vehicles Marius Berliet Foundation, Le Montellier, France.