René Berté was born in 1920, a garagiste from Lamorlaye, in the Department de la Somme in Northern France, was an eclectic builder of specials. Seven cars are ascribed to him, all built in the period 1946-1960. In truth the seventh – on which work had started in 1960 - was completed only in 1994! Berté's better known creations were a number of 500cc F3 racers built in the early 1950s, chassis 3 and 4. Of the earlier cars, chassis 1 used rear suspension, steering and brake drums from a Bugatti T44. Berté designed a attractive aluminium body. A 6-cylinder 2L GM engine was used. This car was finished during 1946 but was never raced that season. An 1100cc engine of unknown origin and not powerful enough, but cheaper to maintain, was mounted for 1947 and used in the minor races and at the Bol d’Or before returning to the initial 2L engine for 1948.

Chassis 3, above 1952, F3. Tubular chassis, engine AJS two ohc at the rear, soon substituted by a Norton and then by a second Norton with two camshafts.

Chassis 4 1949/1952, F3. SIMCA 5 chassis with NSU engine at the rear. Berté took part in some of the F3 races in France with a team of four cars, chassis 3 and 4, the Freiss-BMW and the racer built by the Antem brothers. After 1955, in the rarefied calendar after the Le Mans accident, Berté took part in a "pirate" series organized by van Hove (a Belgian) which took place in French velodromes and in the Colonies. He was helped by a Briton called William Dogett, who often drove one of his cars. Chassis 5 and 6 were racers for the 1100 class used in hillclimbs.


Our thanks to Alessandro Silva for the history and photo.