This Huret derailleur is often referred to as the Huret Aluvac as it has the word ‘Aluvac’ cast into the back of the main arm. The real name, with which André Huret blessed it, is the Huret Dural Competition. I suspect that Aluvac refers to some kind of vacuum casting of aluminium used in its manufacture.
Despite being manufactured in wartime France, it is a handsome item with spectacular build quality. It is light, it feels reassuringly strong, the castings are precise, the nuts and bolts are beautifully machined, the movement is smooth and free of play and even the paint seems to be inclined to stay attached to the metal. Would it be inappropriate to suggest that it feels more German than French?
The Huret Dural Competition is a simple direct pull device, with the outer cable stop just below the bottom end of the spring and the cable clamp bolt on the pulley cage plate. It is also a single pulley design with all that implies in terms of total uselessness. However in addition to the build quality it has a certain style and cleverness. I particularly like the flowing curves.
I believe that there are at least 4 different variants of the Huret Dural Competition:
The first and third variants (both of which had no 'detension' system) appear to have a main arm with a shiny silver plated finish. The second and fourth variants (both of which have a 'detension' system) seem to have a main arm with a thick blue/grey coating that may be paint or some kind of deliberately oxidised layer.
The first and second variants seem to have steel parts that are largely plated with a silver coloured layer. The later two variants have steel parts that largely have a black oxide finish.
Being able to 'detension' your derailleur at the point of making a gear change was a French obsession in the 1940s and 1950s. Derailleurs were often supplied with double right-hand gear levers - one to operate the derailleur, the other to detension it. With hindsight, we now recognise all this as being an irrational cult, at least as irrelevant as the human appendix. It is possible that the second variant of the Huret Dural Competition is the earliest example, the patient zero, of this particular brain worm.
I think that this is an example of the second variant of the Huret Dural Competition, discussed above. Some key features may be:
This derailleur should probably have a small clamp on bracket on the adjustment screw to act as a high gear stop. You can see one of these on my Huret Dural Competition (4th style).
Finally this derailleur came to me with an additional steel tabbed washer fitted at the dropout bolt. I am unclear what this washer is for, but again, I have often seen this, particularly on 'detension' variants, and am unclear what it is about.