The Berliet Foundation will celebrate its 40th anniversary at Rétromobile !

The Berliet Foundation will celebrate its 40th anniversary by spotlighting Lyon's automotive industry at RETROMOBILE. A rare Rochet-Schneider 18400 series of 1921, 6 cylinders, with Delahaye firefighting equipment serves as a reminder that Edouard Rochet and Théodore Schneider were pioneers of the automobile.


Edouard Rochet (1867-1945), a cycle manufacturer from Lyon, and Théodore Schneider (1862-1950), a motor sports enthusiast, joined forces in Lyon in 1889 and succumbed to the lure of automobile construction in 1894, the year in which they produced their first car with a single-cylinder engine, belt drive, reversible handlebar steering and wooden cart wheels. In 1895, two new versions were produced, one with bicycle wheels and “balloon” tyres, the second one weighing no more than 650 kg.

The model presented here, 197 of which were produced between 1920 and 1926, belongs to the 18,400 series approved by the Service des Mines on 2 October 1919. Acquired by the Chocolaterie Menier in 1921, it has 40,830 km on the clock. For nearly 60 years, it provided fire-fighting services to the factory and the town of Noisiel, which had essentially shared destinies.

In 2004, this vehicle was given to the Berliet Foundation by Nestlé-France S.A.S, "on the one hand because of its brand, and on the other because of the parallelism between the two industrial and human adventures of the Berliet and Menier companies".

Created by Edouard Rochet and Théodore Schneider in Lyon, Rochet-Schneider achieved remarkable feats in the late 19th century:

  • 1896: climbed the Galibier Pass (2,645 m.)
  • 1898: drove from Lyon to Constantinople without an incident, won many racing honours.
  • 1900: inauguration of a 10,000 sqm factory, at the time, the showpiece of the “Lyon automotive school”.

Solidity, reliability, "haute-couture" manufacture and finishing: such are the values of the brand whose car production ceased in 1931 and that of heavy commercial vehicles twenty years later.

Technical characteristics of the Rochet-Schneider ”autopompe”:

  • 6-cylinder 100 x 130 in-line monobloc engine of 6,250 cm3 with side valves.
  • Gearbox: 4 forward + 1 reverse.
  • Drum brakes on the rear wheels controlled by rods.
  • Transmission by cardan shafts.
  • Sheet metal disc wheels, twinned at the rear.

Delahaye firefighting equipment consisting of a small water tank, a suction and delivery pump unit powered by a Delahaye 4-cylinder 80 x 130 in-line engine with side valves of 2400 cm3 capacity and accessories (canvas hoses, double ladder, etc.) / Bodywork without doors / Crew of 6 people

© Archives Fondation Berliet - Lyon/France