Rovin, initially established as a motorcycle business in 1921, was a French automaker started by the racing driver and motorcycle constructor, Raoul Pegulu. In 1946 Pegulu decided to try is hand at the newly popular business of building micro cars. Prior to the 1940s a few micro cars could be found buzzing around the roads of Europe, but it wasn’t until after World War II that the mini mobile became trendy. During this time, micro cars were most often referred to as cycle cars. The name cycle car derived from the fact that many small cars of the time were built around the frame of a motorcycle. It is probably safe to assume that this is why the motorcyclist ventured into the auto making business.
Raoul developed the car, but in 1946 production became the responsibility of his brother, Robert, who continued to run the business after Raoul’s death in 1949. The car eventually saw 4 generations of changes, but the Rovin Type D4 was the company’s most popular vehicle, produced between 1950 and 1953. Rovin continued to make cars until 1959 officially, but by 1953 production had slowed to just 110 vehicles for the year. It is not clear how many, if any, were produced after this time.
Our customer purchased her 1953 Rovin D-4 convertible from the Micro Car Museum located in the southern city of Madison, GA. The car is known for being “uncompromisingly well-built and delightfully styled” according to the museum. Powered by a 4-stroke, water cooled, 462cc, two cylinder engine, it puts out a spectacular 13 horsepower that tops out at 50mph.
After purchasing this tiny gem, our customer decided that a little refreshing was in order. We are not too sure how it all went down, but she had another shop disassemble and paint the car, yet did not enlist them when it came time for reassembly. It doesn’t matter because we are tickled that the car ended up here. Our task was to tidy up the mechanics, get her running, slap on the exterior trim, and make a nice top frame for the convertible.
On a side note, it seems that our customer could have a little micro car obsession. She also also owns a Messerschmidt (a three wheel cockpit automobile) better known as a bubble car rather than a micro car, obviously because of its rather round features. If you find that you maybe leaning toward a micro car obsession, The Micro Car Museum is actually hosting an auction in February. You, too, could own your very own little car.
Anyhow, we couldn’t help but take this little baby for a spin once we got her running. Our tech looks a little awkward in the passenger seat, but at least he’s having fun