1947 L'Oiseau Bleu by Roger Baillon
Photography © Rémi Dargegen
Article by Vasileios Papaidis
28 January 2015
A global exclusiveness for a rare, unique prototype (unbelievable but true). It could be fairly characterized as the barnfind of the century,the lost collection from R,Baillon. “L’Oiseau Bleu”, remember this name. The less people know it, the better. Many texts have been written since the discovery (by Artcurial) of the unique collection of classical masterpieces in France, however, I’ve decided to write about something more original for my own tastes.
When first heard the name Roger Baillon, my interest was attracted by the one and only car. The most unique, the most interesting to satisfy my craze…. “The Blue Car”
Influenced by the great designers of these times like Saoutchik or even Figoni & Falaschi,yet with its own character that I had to search through all my files to find out what it is about…..
The person behind this history is Roger Baillon who comes from Niort in Central -West France.
In 1944 Roger Baillon started his transport company with a vehicle equipped with the “Systeme Gazogene” which placed it by himself.
The “Systeme Gazogene was the alternative solution for fuel in the gas “bulletin” imposed in France of Occupation.
Together with the transport activity, he took advantage of his trips in Normandy and bought many cars exploited during war.
His aim was to maintain their chassis and produce new body to rent it out to companies in the provinces whose objective was the reconstruction of France.
As a result his fortune was created and by working as a coach builder.
On 23 October 1947 on Paris Motorshow the exotic “L’Oiseau Bleu” first appeared as the first car created by R.Baillon,unfortunately remained at the stage of the prototype. The mechanical parts used for the creation of “L’Oiseau Bleu” were from Simca 8. Parts of the car like the chassis, the engine, the transmission system, the gear box, some interior materials and some dashboard insruments were borrowed by the above-mentioned Simca. The steel body was designed and made by R. Baillon on a wooden frame of excellent construction quality which sets off Baillon’s coachbuild knowledge. Of course there is a special reason for writing this article. This unique car is not included in the car list of the Baillon collection which will be sold at auction by Artcurial on 6th February in Paris (during Retromobile 2015) maybe because no one is aware of it…
Or almost no one….
We would like to see this masterpiece back in life again. As it used to be…..
P.S. I would like to thank the photographer Remi Dargegen for the photographic material he gave me and for his general contribution to a global exclusiveness. We share the same passion. You can see Remi Dargegen’s great work at his site here
The “L’Ouseau Bleu had been Baillon’s personal car for a long time.
For the time being we respect it as something unique.
Celine, the granddaughter of Roger Baillon, decided to revive the name of his family. She has just restored the Blue Bird, the car built by her grandfather, from a Simca 8 cabriolet. This unique vehicle is exposed to Rétromobile, Jewel MC Box.
I am very pleased to have contributed to this discovery and I do not regret telling the Artcurial company & the photographer Rémi Dargegen how importand is to keep this special car alive! Vasileios Papaidis
Celine, the granddaughter of Roger Baillon on the recently restored
Here is the video from Artcurial about the barnfind of the century
...the lost R.Baillon collection!