The history of the Dollar brand,

Louis Delachanal (1857-1920) joined Ets Foucher, a precision mechanics and locksmith company founded in 1850. A few years later, he married Juliette, the daughter of his employer, hence the appearance on the leaflets of the surname Foucher and Delachanal when the Omnium cycles were created in 1890, installed at 3 rue Taylor in Paris. Louis Delachanal is the technical director. Along with this new activity, the company is also the supplier to the Ministry of Posts and Telegraphs of letter boxes installed in the four corners of France. For collectors, a few years ago one could still discover in the bend of a village these solid cast iron boxes become collector's Delachanal / Charenton.

At the turn of the century, the company was prosperous and moved into new premises at 5 avenue de la liberté in Charenton. On the eve of the great war, only the name of Delachanal now appears on the prospectuses. The title is "Manufacture Française des cycles Omnium". In addition to the supply of bicycles, we also read those of carrier tricycles and Omnium elbow machines. The locksmith business also continues with the manufacture of padlocks, tumbler locks and trunk locks ... etc ...


When Louis Delachanal died on November 14, 1920, one of these two daughters, Jeanne, took over the management of the business. Married to a Mr. Firino, they created shortly after the SAVAVA (helped by wealthy investors), which in April 1927 became the "Société anonyme des Ets Delachanal". Here begins the adventure of what was one of the great brands of the 20s and 30s.

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The motorcycle project is in the works and at the October 1923 show the first motorcycle appears, a 125 cm3 ... named DOLLAR! The fashion is English-speaking, the help of our friends from across the Atlantic during the past conflict, the good press and the reputation for robustness of Harleys and Indians who remained on the continent are no stranger to it. Moreover, many French brands will adopt this strategy: Stylson, Rhonyx, New Map, Carlton ...

This 125cm3, compared to the painful 2-stroke engines of the competition, is equipped with a robust and powerful 4-stroke Moser, of Swiss construction; this is produced under license in Pontarlier.

For the 1924 show, in addition to the 125 offered in two versions "tourism" and "sport", appears a 175 still with a Moser engine!

In the absence of a show in 25, the catalog of 26 expands with no less than 14 models, all with Moser, ranging from 125 to 250 type ESC Grand Sport, Also offered a tandem motorcycle in 250cm3 and 300cm3 type FMT, and a 250cc tricycle with a payload of 150kg.

Another aspect that the leaders have integrated well is advertising. They underline in their brochures or catalogs the races in which the runners, Clech, Druz, Lambert, Lacombe, to name only the most famous, gleaned many successes on Dollar. The brand even publishes a newspaper called "La moto Dollar" periodical organ of the SAVAVA Delachanal establishments. This will be the subject of three issues in 1926, and seems to stop in 1927 ...

In 1927, the range of 26 was renewed, the only new feature was a 350cm3 Moser type HS and HSC Super Sport Confort engine. This will be tested in Moto Revue. Another item in the catalog is a Dollar side. Indeed at this time when the car is still not very accessible to the greatest number, it is an economical means of transport. In 1925, 25,273 Side-cars circulated in France against 117,389 Motorcycles, or almost 22% of the fleet, and in the Seine department this figure reached 41% !!!

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At the end of the year at the October show, a big change will take place: on its stand the Dollar brand offers models equipped with the new "Chair" motor with camshaft in the lead. These are the emanation of Maurice Chaise, engine manufacturer, former production manager at Gnome et Rhône. Dollar as a precursor, will be the first manufacturer to go into series production of this type of revolutionary engine for the time.

The following year there will be around thirty brands to follow suit by offering this type of architecture.

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In the meantime, in spring 28, the brand is setting up the bridge in its new factory at 19 quai de la Marne in Joinville. Equipped with modern tools, it must meet the growing demand for sales of motorcycles. We therefore find the 350 and 500 ACT Chair type K and L in catalog 28, as well as a 175cm3 two-stroke type I chair engine. There remains the 175 DSC and 250 ESC powered by Moser.

At the 1928 show of the Moser engine range, only the 175 DSC remained. Two models made their appearance, the type N 250 cm3 and O 350 cm3 with lateral JAP engine, and the types K and L with inter-tube tank are doubled by those with saddle tank, the types KSS and LSS.

In January 1929 on a price leaflet was born of the type P. It is about the new overturned 250 soon followed by the 350 which will subsequently be the great success of the brand. 1929 is also the appearance of the famous "frame-beam" in forged steel which will soon equip all motorcycles. It is also the arrival of Géo Ham the famous designer who will work on the catalog side and other advertisements for Dollar.

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Nothing is too good in these good years. At the show of the same year, the range was once again enlarged with the types 250 P2, 350 R2, and R3 and the 500 Chaise always tumbled types S and S2. To the 350 type O equipped with the lateral JAP is added the U and V type with tumbled JAP. The famous Majestic which had caused a sensation at the previous show are now in the bosom of Dollar after the license has been bought back from its creator Mr Georges ROY.

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At Dollar it is also the establishment of credit in 10 times without charge!

The year 1930 will be marked by several events. Indeed it seems that the IMO (Metallurgical and Industrial Omnium), creation of Mr. Bajard who has just bought the Maurice Chaise business, has absorbed the DOLLAR brand because of its debt to its appointed engine manufacturer.

But let's stay at the 1930 salon where the beauties of Joinville shine. Motorization side we can see a 500 equipped with a four-cylinder V-cooled turbine. It will never be marketed but it is a good publicity stunt. New models are added; They are of type Y and X, respectively equipped with 350 and 500 MAG tumbled. Except for their engines, they are the same motorcycles as the U and V types with JAP engines. Then the 350 R4 richly chromed with transparent enamel paint, blue, red, green, beige, havana, marbled, Vaucanson dashboard with lighting, watch, OS or Jaeger counter, it is worth "an arm" we would say today. And if it was necessary to make the addition more difficult, you had the cardan transmission and rear suspension as an option! It must be said that the list of options is long at DOLLAR and you can customize your frame as you wish.

As previously written, the takeover by the IMO is effective in this year 31 and soon the production will move to 34 rue Auguste Lançon, Paris. The beautiful Joinville factory is over! The range is still bloated and now comes with two BMAs. The owner of the name goes to the DOLLAR brand, before Motobécane… These BMAs, according to the regulations, to be able to be driven without a license must weigh no more than 30kg and not exceed 30Km / h. This is also the year when the frame becomes fully die-cast, front / rear right down to the crutch itself, and DOLLAR fishtail mufflers.

In the absence of the autumn salon 31, (the famous crisis of 29 crossed the Atlantic) at the 1932 salon big publicity stunt for DOLLAR with the presentation of the 750 V, the brand's legendary model, which will be produced about ten copies. It is also the 350 R2 French army type, name due to the fact that the brand has just obtained the approval of the army for the supply of motorcycles. Another novelty, rather a prototype never produced, the 125 B1 with cardan shaft passing through the lower tube of the frame and the new 250 type P4 which has just finished with Rasser 1st Ex Aequo of the Tour de France.

Let us see the year 1933: appearance of the 500 S4, double rear brake drum, dashboard with watch and counter, the top of the range after the disappearance of the JAP and MAG engine types from the catalog. It is also the so-called "sport" models, in fact a beautiful (or more) cast aluminum exhaust elbows with raised exhaust giving a sporty look… the engine being strictly standard on all displacements!

No major upheavals for 1934, except, in a difficult international economic situation, an increase in prices (which will crescendo until the eve of the conflict) on a number of models.

At DOLLAR, things changed little in 1935 with the new 250 P35 ... In fact, we went back to the first tubular frame of the 250 P type 28! Radical change in August of that same year. Moto Revue publishes an article about what will be the all-new 350 R 35 (which will become R 36). Two or three prototypes come, for the development to cover about 20,000 km each. Nothing in common with the old Chair blocks. New and magnificent inclined cylinder engine which will also be available in 500cc. This will give in 350cc the standard and Normandy versions (a little nod to the same liner which has just been launched) and for the standard 500cc and Pulman, reference to the Luxury train.

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1936 ... Year of paid holidays (Thanks to our grandparents) ... from the popular front ... and at DOLLAR the new 250 P36 with motor Chair incilne in the frame (still the old and good tumble). The 250 P35 in single and double exhaust and also in a sport version with raised pipes, and of course the always magnificent R36 and S536.

From 1937 to 1939, apart from the addition of a big sister to the 250 P36, I named the 350 R9 the range will consist of the 250 P35, 250 P36, 350 R9, 350 R36, and 500 S536


At the 1956 show with the purchase of the surname DOLLAR, the FOLLIS brand will present the 350 Chair block of the R36 in a FOLLIS cycle part, a prototype that will never be marketed, and in their catalog a DOLLAR type C103 and a 125 TYPE cyclo ... YDRAL engine.

1997, the Amicale Dollar was created under the chairmanship of Mr JM MADRANGES. Real enthusiasts who have allowed DOLLAR to exist during all these years. They also offer remanufacturing on their site

2007, The One Dollar to Bonneville project allows people to talk about the Indian again.

2018, the DOLLAR Motorcycle idea was born. The project revolving around the Dollar brand provides for the creation of a new motorcycle ...

the story continues ...