The early years of motoring in Spain and Majorca were times of great uncertainty for the new industry of the first quarter of the twentieth century. One motor company reflected both the enthusiasm for this new mode of transport and the difficulties that came with it.
The story goes that a technician from Renault turned up in Majorca. His name was Albert Ouvrard. He made contact with two businessmen - Antonio Ribas, whose interests were mainly in shipping, and Rafael de Lacy, who represented the Belgian Minerva car brand on the island. In 1920 they formed a company, the name of which combined the first letters of their surnames - Lacy, Ouvrard, Ribas y compañia. The company was Loryc, Majorca's first motor manufacturer. In November of the following year, a car with the registration PM-507 took to the roads. It was the first Loryc model to be registered. Then came a sports model that was nicknamed the sardine. It was powerful, it took part in races and it pushed Loryc into the top five by brand sales in Spain.
But no sooner had success been gained than it was snatched away. The elimination of tariffs on finished cars and a quadrupling of them for components caused the company's demise. It had been going for only three years when the factory doors were closed in 1923. At the time, the vehicles were being sold for as little as 5,000 pesetas; the cost of the Citröen engine alone had shot up to 4,500 pesetas.
In 2014, a German enthusiast, businessman and inventor, Charly Bosch, signalled his intention to revive the Loryc, which is what he has done. There are now eight cars - Loryc Electric, as from the outset Charly decided to run them with electric power. "We must take care of the island and the environment," he stresses.
His idea is to rent the vehicles to tourists and residents who wish to get around the island in a sustainable fashion. "The price is 250 euros per person per day, although there is also a half-day offer of 100 euros per person."
Each car has an aluminium chassis. Charly preferred this to more modern materials because it is easier to hammer out any bangs that the cars might take. Making the cars has required over 1,000 working hours per vehicle, and they have 20 HP that enables them to exceed 100kph; they can do around 200 kilometres before needing to be recharged.
There is no power assistance, but Charly explains that steering is very manageable. The seats are comfortable, and each car comes without a hood. "This is so you can more enjoy the concept of the vehicle."
The Loryc cars are to be presented at an event between 8 and 10 March (which seems to coincide with the Classic Car Rally) that will involve a route through the Tramuntana Mountains. One of the drivers will be Germany's Jutta Kleinschmidt, the first and only woman to have won the Paris-Dakar Rally.
Go to www.lorycelectric.com for more information.
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