Driving a Rosalie today

La Rosalie is a simple and robust car, which however requires regular maintenance. On a daily basis, this does not require very advanced skills or large tools.

Thanks to its ease of driving for a car of its time, it will give you great satisfaction and very rarely leave you on the side of the road. Properly maintained, it will prove to be as reliable as a car from the 60s!

Above all, we advise you to obtain the technical review of the Rosalie, which will be of great help to you in locating the various elements, in particular the lubrication points.

Routine maintenance

It’s quite easy to obtain the items needed to carry out this routine maintenance, which does not require any specific parts apart from the large-diameter drain seals, which are remanufactured by various retailers but alors by our Club.

The greasing of the various assemblies (front and rear axles, suspensions, brakes, etc.) must be carried out regularly but does not require any particular equipment apart from a grease gun with a Técalemit nozzle (very easy to find) and a standard grease cartridge.

Every 2000 kilometres, the engine must be changed with mineral oil (single grade SAE 30, 40 or 50 for an original engine or multigrade mineral 20W50 for a restored engine). The engine does not have an oil filter, so it does not need to be replaced!

The gearbox will need to be changed every 5,000 kilometers with an Extreme Pressure monograde oil (SAE 90 or SAE 140), as will the rear differential. They are very generously sized and will not cause reliability problems.

The ignition is coil and platinized screws. Originally, it was an RB brand igniter but can now be replaced by a more modern SEV Marchal or Ducellier igniter. The ignition coil is a standard 6-volt coil, and wide-base spark plugs are still commonly used in some farm vehicles, so they are readily available.

Tyres conforming to the original ones (Michelin Super Comfort) are still produced by Michelin.


When we talk about restoration, it is no longer a question of keeping the car in working order while it is working properly, but of putting an abandoned car back on the road, or even rebuilding it from of a wreck.

The bodywork

La Rosalie is built from a steel frame on which rests an entirely one-piece steel body. It does not have a wooden body structure like its ancestors. As far as sheet metal is concerned, it is therefore quite similar to a modern car, except for the special bodies (convertibles and faux-cabriolets, as well as coaches manufactured outside the Factory). Here again, an exception with regard to the Million-Guiet bodies which were entirely in aluminium.

Only the frame supporting the soft top is made of wood. It consists of a frame and crosspieces in beech wood reinforced by a steel support itself fixed to the body by large diameter screws. A carpenter or a patient amateur can easily rebuild it if necessary.

On the outside, the various fittings are sometimes absent. Most of them can be found by browsing vintage parts exchanges dedicated to vintage cars, or on online classifieds.

The mechanics

All the parts needed to restore a Rosalie engine are available on the remanufacturing market. Pistons with different dimensions, valves and their springs, celoron gears, seals, bearings and axles… Everything can be bought new with satisfactory quality.

Like almost all engines of this era, Rosalie’s engines are not equipped with connecting rod and crankshaft bearings, but are regulated. Today, there are still a few professionals capable of carrying out this type of operation, which will not need to be done regularly given the quality of modern oils and the care you take with your mechanics!

The interior

As for the interior, and more particularly the upholstery and the various upholstery, there is nothing to worry about! Period fabrics are still produced in an absolutely compliant way because it is the original manufacturer who offers them for sale.

Door handles and window winder cranks are sometimes in poor condition, but there are many reasonably priced remakes for these items.

And driving?

Once behind the wheel, you will find a classic layout of the controls. Unlike older models, the pedals are laid out as they are today, and the gearbox is synchronized on the last two gears.

Starting up is simple, the Solex 30 carburettor has a bi-starter which facilitates cold starting. The on-board instruments (ammeter, oil pressure and fuel level) make it possible to ensure that the machine is running smoothly at all times.

Of course, it will take time to get used to changing gears, which requires you to “take your time” ! Braking is quite good, all four wheels are equipped with large diameter drum brakes which will stop the car effectively.

The road holding is quite good, but you will still have to hold the steering wheel because like any car with box steering, it will sometimes want to follow the roughness of the road. When the car is launched, the steering is not particularly harsh.

The Rosalie is a pre-war car, it has no place in today’s car traffic. Prefer small roads or slow urban axes (less than 90 km / h), you will feel comfortable and you will not be honked by heavy goods vehicles on the hills! But you will undoubtedly get sympathy from the people you meet and for whom this car evokes childhood memories.

How fast does a Rosalie go?

On a good road, an 8 or 10 HP can travel at 70 km/h without getting tired.

The relatively large displacement of the engines provides the power needed to climb hills without the risk of ending up at a standstill.