By Writing Mail of the Pays de Retz
can you see us describing the moment of your wonderful discovery?
It was no more than 7 a.m. this Friday, February 18. The park was barely open and the February morning mists were still present. The night in my van was as short as it was cold and my cappuccino was the liveliest thing around me at that moment. The first exhibitors arrived and took possession of their site. I had set up my stand the day before, as I do twice a year for this big motorcycle fair in the Milan suburbs, the Mostra Scambio Di Novegro. So I took the time to stroll, returned by the trucks which arrived more and more numerous. It’s a “treasure hunt” that awakens a childlike excitement in me. Would I be lucky? Will I find one of these beautiful motorcycles that will make me happy and proud in my store?
And there is the meeting?
Yes. A trailer loaded with three motorcycles is there, near a stand. I recognize one of them at first glance. It’s a Test Champion in an exceptional state of preservation. I know this motorcycle, because it is the emblematic model which was also integrated into theMachecoul Gitane factory, where I live and where I have my store. Fifty years later, it is rare, but it is still highly appreciated by connoisseurs. I quickly deal with the case with the seller and return to my stand with the feeling that it’s my chance day… I can already imagine my satisfaction when I present it in my workshop, when one of the former workers of the Gitane factory de Machecoul will see it and stop to share his memories with me.
What does this motorcycle represent for Machecoul?
If this motorcycle made Machecoul famous in the 70s, it has now completely disappeared from the city and even its memory seems erased. However, I am certain that it remained in the memory of those who knew it and I know that it is still an object of desire for many connoisseurs of this period. Maybe I’ll wake up some people nostalgic for those years when the Gitane factory was a local industrial flagship?
A Gitane – Testi collaboration that lasted eight years
As France prepares to celebrate the centenary of the “moped”, the Milan show opens at the end of 1969. This show is an opportunity to present the latest addition to the Italian brand Testi, the Champion. It was also during this show that Mr. Bougit, commercial director of the Micmo brand, signs an exclusive distribution contract between Gitane and the company Testias well as an agreement with the Minarelli engine manufacturer. French youth will soon have only one dream: to own a Gitane – Testi.
As for Italian manufacturers, the objective is to penetrate the French market, which is certainly open, but still subject to high import taxes.
Also, the constituent parts will arrive at Machecoul, the tax on spare parts being lower than on complete mopeds.
At Machecoul, the cycle parts will be delivered in crates equipped with their wheels, tank and saddle. The machines will thus be motorized and assembled and the tank decorations installed in Machecoul, thus providing work for many Loire-Atlantique employees.
It was with the Testi Champion that the agreement between Gitane and the Italian company took shape over the period 1970-1978. This model will bode well for this collaboration, as it will remain the flagship model of Machecoul’s production. It will be marketed in June
Source: book My Father’s Gypsiesmotorcycle, bicycle, cyclo of Sylvie and Franck Méneret.
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