Paul Arzens

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SNCF BB 9200 (1957), 1986 in Pau
SNCF A1AA1A 68000 (1963), 2015 in Montluçon
CC 72000 (1967), 2009 in Lison
SNCF X 4200 panorama car (1959), 2006 in Ambert

Paul Arzens ( 1903 - 1990 ) was a French designer . He became known for the locomotives and trains he designed. For decades it was the preferred designer and color designer of the French state railway SNCF . In addition to his design work, Paul Arzens painted in the classical style and created sculptures.


Rail vehicles

His design office in Paris' Rue de Vaugirard began to influence the large series of locomotives BB 9200 , BB 16000 and BB 25200 from 1957 . Arzens designed the X 4200 observation railcar with a panoramic view and the bodies of the BB 67000 and A1AA1A 68000 series .

The design of the CC 40100 called “ Nez cassés ” (“broken noses”) , in which he was inspired by the sight of a sprinter on the starting block, became the model for a whole generation of locomotives: CC 72000 , CC 6500 , CC 21000 to BB 15000 and finally BB 7200 and BB 22200 as well as (but without the dynamic multi-colored SNCF paintwork) the Dutch series 1600 and 1700 built in France , the Portuguese series 2600 and the Moroccan series E1300 . With the Korail series 8000 , the design also came to the South Korean Railways Korail .

In addition to SNCF, the Parisian public transport company RATP , for which he designed several metro stations , became his customer.


At the time of the emerging streamlined vehicles , his two futuristic automobile studies also caused a stir . First he created “La Baleine” (The Whale) in 1938, an approximately seven-meter-long convertible on the chassis of a Buick from 1928 with 3500 cm³ displacement and 68  hp from six cylinders . This allowed the vehicle to reach a speed of around 160 km / h, whereas the Buick with the original body only reached 110 km / h.

The concept vehicleL'uf électrique ” (The Electric Egg) followed in 1942 , a construction made of aluminum and Plexiglas . At first it was operated electrically with five 12 volt batteries with 250 Ah each  , after the Second World War with a 125 cm³ single cylinder engine. The car could be used in city traffic with a speed of up to 80 km / h.

In 1951, Arzens manufactured a small car called the “Carrosse”, but it remained a prototype . Here a rear engine with a displacement of 125 cm³ provided the drive. The maximum speed was given as 72 km / h.

Paul Arzens drove the first two cars until his death. The two cars are shown today in the Mulhouse Automobile Museum ( Cité de l'Automobile ):


  • George Nick Georgano (Editor-in-Chief): The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile. Volume 1: A – F. Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, Chicago 2001, ISBN 1-57958-293-1 . (English)

Web links

Commons : Paul Arzens  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  2. ^ Georgano: The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile.