Although relatively unknown in the United States, the French sports car firm of Deutsch-Bonnet had an illustrious history with multiple class wins and Index of Efficiency victories at LeMans in the fifties.
To celebrate this, the company introduced a new roadster in 1959 named for the hallowed French racing circuit. By the company’s dissolution in 1962, a total of 232 LeMans Roadsters had been built. Unfortunately, one ended up in Akron, Ohio.
What happens when a streamlined, lightweight French sports car with a highly efficient 850cc two cylinder engine appears in the epicenter of rust and home of NASCAR tires and Devo? It gets a full steel frame, an aluminum tub and a big American V8! The savvy builder went out of his way to source a Pontiac V8; the car did say LeMans after all.
I bought the car at a garage sale from the person responsible for this remarkable creation. When I asked him what he did with all the original unobtanium DB parts, he said he chopped them to bits and put them on the curb for the trash man over a period of months. Obviously he followed the strategy of another local legend, Jeffrey Dahmer.
The car is as terrifying to drive as it is to look at but it still can smoke the vintage Firestone slicks at will. The nice folks in the DB Club in France just smile when they see me at Retromobile and pretend they don’t know English.
1954 Devin Panhard. Based on running gear from the French Panhard Junior with a tube frame and fiberglass body by Devin. Who knows how long it’s been sitting, but the frame is rusted in half, the rear of the body was grafted on from something else, and the nose is from a different car that now resides in france. 1
of 6 known to exist of approximately 11 factory built cars. One day it will get restored, I have the engine and transmission from a 1958 Panhard Dyna as well as the hubs and wheels from the same to replace the rotted away parts. For now it’s fun to look at
One of two cars custom made in Switzerland, it's a 1987 2CV with a fiberglass Citroën
Traction Avant front and a station wagon (shooting break) rear. The most often asked questions? 'Are those picnic chairs?" and secondly, while pointing to the wheels, "how many lug nuts does it have?" The answers and are yes and 12!