Monica was supposed to be a French rival for Britains Jaguar, however the marque never really got off the ground. The company was founded by Jean Tastevin, a French industrialist whose wife's name was Monica. Disappointingly, today we remember Monica as the last attempt (after Facel Vega) to create a luxury brand in France. Its only French rival was the Citroën SM Opéra
, the sedan which was built by Chapron.
Although intended to be built in France, design, development and prototype building was entrusted to Chris Lawrence at C.J. Lawrence Consultants of Hammersmith, London, England. The 4-door, 4-seat sedan featured a De Dion rear suspension. Final styling and trimming was by David Coward, -ex James Young (coachbuilders) and Motor magazine. The earliest prototype Monicas were powered by a Ted Martin designed 3.4 litre V8 engine but later prototypes and the production model were equipped with a Chrysler 5.6 litre (340 in³) V8 engine. Advertised transmission options were the Chrysler Torqueflite system or a ZF 5-speed manual gear box.
The styling and prototype body mouldings were produced by Bob Curl in Hastings. Several show cars were repainted after the Motor Show by John Drew, from the Bristol area, after the owner had seen his work for Bristol Cars at the show. The Monica 560
was presented at the Salon de Paris 1972
and production began in 1973
at a facility located in Balbigny, Loire. Only 8 production cars (as well as 22 prototypes) were completed before the factory closed in 1974, a victim of the 1973
oil crisis. A plan by Panther Westwinds
to resume production in England was announced in March 1975
but never implemented.
Also see: Lost Marques - Monica (USA Edition)