The Societe d'Electricite et d'Automobiles, Mors was
one of the earliest car manufacturers to take part in racing (1897). Its creator, Emile and Louis Mors, both engineers were strong believers in the technical and promotional benefits of automobile
racing. Much of racing at the turn of the century was a battle between Panhard and
Mors. The first race cars had straight or inline cylinders and the Mors was one of the
first using a V concept.
In 1902 a change in rules stipulated a maximum weight of 1000 kilos in a vain attempt to reduce speeds. What it did reduce was almost any semblance of bodywork and ever lighter chassis. The 60 HP Grand Prix car was powered by a 9.2 liter V4-cylinder
engine, using magneto ignition and side valves it rated power of 60 bhp was reached at 950
rpm. The double chain drive chassis was made of wood with steel reinforcing plates. Rear brakes were applied by a hand lever, while a separate foot pedal operated a transmission brake. Contemporary reports stated the brakes were quite effective-until they became clogged with dirt and the oil drooling off the engine, at which point engine braking became the primary means of retardation. Even this was considered fairly conservative when matched against Panhard's behemoth.
The Mors' secret weapon was the use of dampers or shock absorbers, two in the front and four in the rear for better handling and a mechanically efficient direct drive top gear to redress Panhard’s horse power advantage.
This 60 hp type Z was one of six Mors entries for the 1902 Paris-Vienna race that also included that year’s Gordon-Bennett Trophy event. The first day of the three-day event, leading all 136 competitors, Henri Fournier famously roared past the organizers’ high-speed press train at over 70 mph trailing a huge plume of road dust. Despite such a brave start, all but one of the Mors entries came to grief. Trouble with the new gearbox eliminated Fournier after he had averaged 71 mph from Paris to Provins. This lone survivor was the car driven by Baron de Caters which placed 9th after 615 grueling miles racing over the arrow straight Routes Nationales of France, unpaved, potholed Alpine passes and the scorching, undulating roads of central Europe.
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The days of brute force were coming to an end and with that the great rivalry between Mors and Panhard would soon be over. Charles-Henri Brasier their gifted designer left to join Georges Richard while their leading driver, Henri Fournier, transferred his allegiance to the new Hotchkiss company, which then added insult to injury by enticing Brasier's colleague, Terrasse, to join them as designer; there he promptly created a racing Hotchkiss that was more Mors than the genuine article. Mors did not even bother with the 1905 Gordon Bennett, raced not at all in 1906 and made only token appearances in 1907 and 1908, culminating in a failure-strewn attempt on the 1908 Grand Prix which even the presence of Camille Jenatzy could not rescue. Mors' major racing
efforts ended in 1908 and a planned comeback was ruined by World War I. The firm was eventually taken over by Citroen.