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Rare Micro Car: 1952 Mochet CM 125 Grand Luxe

When I hear “grand luxe”, I translate it roughly as “large, luxury, top shelf”. But Frenchman Georges Mochet – who inherited his father Charles’ cyclecar business – thought differently about these things. He had evolved the business away from pedal power toward engine-assist with the introduction of his Model K in 1947. His new car was meant to appeal to buyers weary of the poverty of pedaling now that fuel was more available. But as France recovered economically and competition among carmakers increased, Mochet knew he had to expand his offerings. Consequently, 1952 brought a flush of new models: the CM (Charles Mochet) 125 Luxe, the CM 125 Commerciale, and the pièce de résistance, the CM 125 Grand Luxe – notable for its 8’4″ length, versus the 7’10” of the Luxe. The “grand” features didn’t end at its dimensions, either: enclosed headlights in the latest “ponton” style, abundant window glass (rare – most of these simply had a soft top), and disc wheels were a step above the Luxe. Here on Facebook Marketplace is a rare 1952 Mochet CM 125 Grand Luxe with an asking price of $8865, located in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Gunter Kramer found this obscure microcar for us – thanks!

Of course, Mochet used rear-mounted motorcycle engines to power his creations: with a small motor, the car was exempt from license requirements. This one is a single-cylinder, two-stroke 125 cc produced by Ydral. Output should be in the 3 hp area, and the transmission is a three-speed – another step up from the Luxe’s single-speed gearbox. Braking is via cable to all four wheels. The car’s underside shows off the chain-drive gearbox. Hopefully, the car is complete because if anything is missing, you can be sure parts will be difficult to source.

The interior reveals that only part of the steering wheel is intact, its center emblem is missing as are the switches, and it has an aftermarket gauge. The interior should look more like this. Oh, and if you have to ask “will I fit” – the answer is likely a resounding “no”. For reference, here’s a guy driving a Grand Luxe.

The snout is adorned with an aluminum grille and corner bumperettes. That dark indent at the top of the photo is the fuel filler. Mochet ceased production in 1958 after making about 3000 cars all told. A number of Mochets have sold in recent years, most particularly from the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum. Top-end values for a fully restored Grand Luxe hover around $20k. Fortunately, this little guy won’t take up much space, and painting it will be a far cry from the same job on a ’63 Lincoln. But then I wonder: how to use it after it’s completed? Any ideas?


  1. Avatar photo justpaul

    And here I thought I was just doodling silly cars back in the second grade.

    I had no idea I was a bonafide designer.

    Like 13
  2. Avatar photo Chris Cornetto

    Bring up Copart and see if there are any Busas or Gixxers and bring this to life. Other aside from Leno’s crew it likely will take up that small space in the corner and disappear as sedimentary junk deposits cover it.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo jwaltb

      Dumbest idea so far today!

      Like 0
  3. Avatar photo John

    As an owner of several Mochets, allow me to clarify some things. The CM125 Luxe was introduced in 1949, not 1952 as mentioned, and always had a 3-speed gearbox (not single speed). The car for sale here is not a 1952 model, or a Grand Luxe. All Grand Luxe cars were split-windscreen roadsters, available with optional (extremely minimalistic) doors. This is a CM125Y Berline, either a 1955 or early 1956. The back panel of this car was cut off (it is not supposed to open), and a crude homemade piece has been fitted. The rear hoop for the soft top has also been cut out. The engine cradle has been chopped up to fit the current lawnmower engine, and the Ydral engine it comes with is an L45, which is NOT the correct motor for this car (should have an AJ55, which was rated at almost 6 horsepower). The Ydral-powered cars received a reverse gear, which the earlier Zürcher-powered cars did not have, as well as the addition of front brakes (all contracting band). Many very hard-to-find bits are missing, if someone is wanting a ‘correct’ car. Also worth noting that this car was purchased for $710 via an online estate auction in June of last year.

    Like 30
    • Avatar photo Michelle Rand Staff

      Awesome, thanks for the clarifications.

      Like 10
    • Avatar photo Chris Cornetto

      Nice, information, as I have never heard of this. Thanks. Since this is obviously hacked the sport bike engine might make this interesting.

      Like 4
      • Avatar photo jwaltb


        Like 1
    • Avatar photo Richard

      Thank you John. A wealth of information. I was going to ask about the price, which I thought should be around $1500, but the you told me all I needed to know about the condition AND the price. Is there a parts source? Usually these unusual marques have a passionate following somewhere in the world.

      Like 4
      • Avatar photo John

        There is not a go-to parts source for Mochets, unfortunately. Any Mochet-specific items are not reproduced, so have to be fabricated or sourced from a parts car. Things like lights and switches were parts bin items, but even so, many of them are very difficult to find in France, which is the only place you’re likely to have any luck finding them. Regarding the drivetrain, some basic Ydral engine parts can obtained from the Ydral club in France, but many components are not available, so would have to be sourced secondhand (or NOS, if you get lucky). There are definitely some Mochet enthusiasts (myself included), but sadly it is quite a small group, due to the obscurity of the cars.

        Like 3
  4. Avatar photo Driveinstile Member

    First off, Michelle, thank you for this write up. Ive never ever heard of or seen one of these Mochets before, and John, for all the extra information. This is one of the bigest things I enjoy the most about Barnfinds. It doesnt matter how much you think you know about cars….. You always seem to find out that there are so many other cars out there you never knew about. I like cars that are different. This really looks like it would be a lot of fun to fix up and enjoy. Unfortunately after hearing from John it seems someone really butchered this poor little car up. But hopefully someone can do something with it.

    Like 5
  5. Avatar photo Chris Cornetto

    Nice, information, as I have never heard of this. Thanks. Since this is obviously hacked the sport bike engine might make this interesting.

    Like 2
  6. Avatar photo Lance

    Makes a Crosley look like a luxury ride.

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo Rallye Member

      Or a muscle car.

      Like 4
  7. Avatar photo Ward William

    Bumper car on steroids.

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Al

    More like a bumper car after starvation diet.

    Like 1
  9. Avatar photo MGSteve

    Has Jeff Lane seen this????

    Like 0
  10. Avatar photo Threepedal

    Well at least nobody cut up the dash to install a nonstock sound system

    Like 1
  11. Avatar photo Kelly Breen

    It is a French take on the King Midget.
    I like it!
    But cycle cars / micro cars should be inexpensive. The collectibility of the car works against it.
    It probably is worth $8500.00 but the fact that it costs that much means I would never buy one.
    Yep – I’m a cheapskate.

    Like 0

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