Production of the Acoma Minicomtesse started in Angers, France in 1973. Powered by a 2.5hp 47cc Saxonette engine the engine sits on top of the front wheel and so turns with it. The single seater has a fibreglass body with two types of doors; a “normal” opening door on one side and a “butterfly” (porte papillon) type on the other. At just 135kg the vehicle was extremely light and as a result tipped over easily. Michel Humbert whose sister owned a Minicomtesse in 1973 confirms that it, “ was definitely dangerous for a lightweight driver, and not powerful enough for a heavy one. Indeed we tilted over on the very first day we used the car”. As a result the vehicle has two additional stabiliser wheels either side of the front wheel.
Pierre Rholl (the owner of the vehicle in the bottom photo) comments that there is a little story to explain the addition of a second door and the two little front wheels. It is believed that a lady was driving faster than she should have been and the car tipped over. As it was one of the first cars built with one door the car fell door side over and she was unable to get out of the vehicle alone. Whether the story is a legend or the truth it sounds feasible. Production of the Minicontesse stopped around 1980.
Top: A 1973 Acoma. Minicomtesse. This shot clearly shows the additional wheels added to the front of the vehicle. (My thanks to Michel Humbert for sending in this picture)
Bottom: A 1975 Acoma. Minicomtesse. (My thanks to Pierre Rholl for sending in this picture of his vehicle )