meaning 'single shell' in French, is a construction technique
that utilises the external skin to support some or most
of the load.
This is as opposed to using an internal frame or chassis
that is then covered with cosmetic body panels.
It is common to see monocoque construction in modern cars
where the structural members around the window and door
frames are strengthened by folding the metal several times,
or building up the layers of carbon
fiber on more exotic models.
In these situations the main concerns are spreading the load evenly,
having no holes for corrosion to start, and reducing the overall
workload. Compared to older techniques, in which a body is bolted
to a frame, monocoque cars are less expensive and stronger.
Monocoque design is so sophisticated that the windscreen and rear
window glass can play an important role in the structural integrity
of automobiles built in this manner.