I originally wrote about the Bernard Carre connection to Cycles Bertin back in February, March and April of 2016. This relationship developed because of a 1973 fire which destroyed the old Bertin factory in the middle of the 1970’s Bike Boom and forced Bertin to contract with volume builders for the lower tiered bikes in the line. It also necessitated Bertin arranging production of the top of the line C 37s with Bernard Carre in the Paris suburb of Montreuil.
When I first learned of the Carre connection, I thought the Carre/Bertin C 37s were only sold in North America. This conclusion was based on the fact that the only samples I had seen had been found in the United States or had been sold on to me here in Canada. However, in 2019, Kevin R., who lives in Northern France, found a beaten up Carre/Bertin C 37 in a yard sale and was able to share photos and details here. Obviously, the model was
distributed in all the usual places that Bertin production was sold but I still believed the C 37 was the sole instance of Carre cooperation with Cycles Bertin.
Wrong again. A contact on Bike Forums’ Classic & Vintage section, Lynn T., let me know that he had found and purchased what he believed to be a Carre/Bertin C 35. At the time, Carre frequently built with 531 so a C 35 with a 531 main frame was not unbelievable but seemed improbable. Once the frameset was in his hands, Lynn sent me a series of photos that proved his acquisition actually was a C 35.
The core of the issue was the 531 main frame and the clearly Vitus decaled left fork which were the signature specification of the C 35. The 531 and Vitus everywhere else clearly proved the bike’s identity. See the following photographs for details:
The differences between the C 37 and the C 35 are the simplifications that let Cycles Bertin hit a lower price point. The standard Prugnat 62/S lugs are there as is the brazed on seatpost bolt clamp. The frameset has fish mouth seatstay ends only but domed and slotted ends on the chainstays and the fork ends. The unbranded fork dropouts are forged but, unlike the C 37, the rear dropouts are stamped steel Campagnolo 1010/1s instead of forged 1010As. The rear brake bridge has no reinforcements but the fork has chrome socks just like a C 37. So, overall, the frameset has small compromises to reduce cost without a significant reduction in function. Given the way these varieties are turning up, I am half expecting to be writing about a Carre/Bertin C 34 in the next little while. If you would like to see detailed photos of the C 35 built up, Lynn has posted a large selection to Flickr here.