The Riboud was first built in France 1974 though a prototype had been created a few years earlier. The vehicle was based on an idea by Jacques Riboud who at the time was the chairman for a society that built houses A lot of his customers were living in Paris and due to overcrowded roads suffered intense traffic problems which were further increased with strikes by public transport workers. Riboud thought that a small vehicle would be excellent for his customers as its tiny size would mean increased manoeuvrability through the overcrowded streets. As his facilities were able to take care of the body and the motor Riboud set to work on the project and gave everything to his designer and engineer to build a prototype. When the car was completed he called it " le Hanneton ", ( the " Bug " ), Riboud however was disappointed as the vehicle was not what he had hoped but an interesting opportunity came at the start of the 70's when a society called " Marland ", ( which was very well known by its famous buggies) was contacted by Riboud to create another project that was based on the Hanneton. This new project was a success and Riboud, was very pleased with it as this was the type of vehicle he wanted from the start ! Many other prototypes were built and presented to the car press, before the car was finally considered as a micro car ( voiturette sans permis, literally " without driving license car " ). The car, powered by a 47cc Sachs engine, was finally called the " Riboud ".The homologation papers were given by the " service des mines " ( where all cars had to go to be homologated ) at the end of June 1974, with a " type mine " called " M.R.1. " ( Marland-Riboud 1st version ). Marland decided to build these cars in its factories of the Eure ( French department n° 27 ). Some of cars were direct sales whilst some were delivered to Riboud’s houses.
During 1975, a society called Vitrex Industrie ( who specialised at first in building window panes and deviated articles ) bought the Marland factories in the Eure to build, in collaboration with Marland new Riboud cars. The difference between the old and the new model was insignificant though the car had a new body, new wheels, and new accessories, such as the complete hood and electric windscreenwiper. The vehicles were powered by the same 47cc engine that was started from a hand starter very similar to that found on a lawnmower. Vitrex Industrie also imported microcars from Italy ( all cars of " All Cars " ), as Marland( who first imported these cars ) also gave this license to Vitrex Industrie. At the start of 1978, Vitrex Industrie bought the " SECAM " society who built the " Addax ". The Addax kept the same name in the Vitrex range. In 1979, the Gildax arrived which was a 4-wheeled version of the Addax.. The Gildax wasn't very well known, and not many of them were ever sold. By 1980 the third generation of the Riboud had arrived and it included the introduction of a fourth wheel that saw the end of the 3-wheeled Riboud ! The company continued to make 4-wheelers with the introduction of the Garbo in 1980 that was powered by a small 50cc Peugeot engine.
Jean Gwinn Riboud (Jaques Riboud’s daughter) e-mailed me and said she would like to add that her father built the vehicle to avoid the purchase of a second car by his new town clients. This was the answer to a criticism made by urban planners at his time against his desire to mix townhouses in his projects, along with the apartment buildings, considered by them as space over consuming and creating a long way to get to the collective means of transportation. Jean Gwinn has kindly sent a PDF file written by her father explaining this. (See Supporting Documents below).