Simca Surva

Simca Surva

The Simca Surva, built and driven by Parisian garagiste Henri Otterbein was a traditional monoposto. Initially it was powered by a 500cc Simca 5 engine – the same as the Fiat Topolino – supercharged! Otterbein mounted superchargers produced by the Surva firm on customer cars in his garage, rue de la Tour, 17th district, at the Trocadero so the car was intended to advertise his business.

The chassis was also from a Simca 5 originally, but the side members were boxed. The s/c engine was said to develop between 30 and 35 bhp. The car appeared for the first time at Montlhéry for the Coupe de l’ AGACI on October 27th 1947. Miraculously the SIMCA-Surva complied with the regulations of the new F2 category, with its 500cc s/c engine, and was seen again at Montlhéry and at the international races at Brussels and Aix-les-Bains during 1949. At Brussels it finished in 7th position, 27 laps behind Villoresi’s winning Ferrari!

By 1950 Otterbein decided to try his hand at the new F3 class. The supercharger had to be dismounted and was substituted by a new two ohc head (above), while the rest of the car was left untouched. It is presumable that the new engine did not develop more than 30 bhp.

The transformed car appeared for the first time at the aborted “international F3 race’ at Montlhéry on March 26th, 1950, when only three cars showed up and they did a few exhibition laps only (below). After a fifth at Orléans, he took a tour of Germany; Hockenheim, Nürburgring and Avus, 20th and last being his only result. Oddly, Henri reappears at Silverstone in May '54 but fails to finish and finally takes a fourth in April 1955 at Montlhéry and that appears to be that for Otterbein and his car.

Known results:

Montlhéry 30th April 1950, 7th


Orleans 6th May 1951, 5th

Hockenheim 14th May 1951, DNF in final

Nürburgring 3rd June 1951, 20th

Avus 1st July 1951, 10th in heat, DNF in final


Silverstone 15th May 1954 Daily Express Meeting, DNF


Montlhéry 17th April 1955, 4th

If anyone has any more details or photos, please get in touch.