The Vaillante Marathon saw its debut in the 1957 season. It has, since then, become an on-and-off staple in the Vaillante brand family, with its newest incarnation being the Vaillante Marathon 2000.
Design History Edit
The very first Marathon does not appear in a Michel Vaillant comic, but in the 47th TinTin magazine in France, 1957. Information about this car is sparse at best, but it is driven during the Challenge of the Remparts story by Mr. Mansart. That story identifies it as the first Marathon, but the Marathon GT is shown three TinTin editions before this car. For the sake of simplicity, this car will be placed in the 1957 timeslot.
The Marathon GT was characterized by its gull wing doors, which were encased in a single-piece glass canopy with a slight bubble motif and tail fins, not unlike the Lincoln Futura. Its headlamps hid behind a roster, which results in a look both elegant and aggressive. A good shot of the back can be seen as Michel and Henry drive towards the Roquebrune villa.
1965 - Not really a Marathon Edit
Album #50, Challenge on the Remparts, mentions that this car is a Marathon. However, near the end of album #10, The 8th Pilot, this same car is actually introduced as a Vaillante Le Mans GT; one of its pilots is Nicolas Olensky. That the same car is meant is obvious because the car is driven by Olensky in Challenge on the Remparts as well. While the original album takes precedent and this car is, thus, not a Marathon but a Le Mans GT, the car is included here for reference purposes.
The Marathon Coupé GT is introduced in the album The Samurai's Honor. While other cars are being introduced together with their respective driver, this one is driven by a mystery driver. It has a reported top speed of just over 210km/h, generated by a six cylinder engine. Michel Vaillant apparently caused his father to slip on his bike with a car like this, a story that is being told to this day.
The final model in the line is the Marathon 2000. It is seen in the Vaillante design studios and later on the road in the album Operation Mirage. It would be the first and last time this Marathon would be shown to the public.