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.
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