1938 Peugeot 402 Darl’Mat Special Sport
Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | March 3, 2021
Here’s a car I’ve wanted to feature for years. For a while, about a decade ago, these were popping up for sale right and left. And then the trail went cold. Spoiler alert: the current owner of this car bought it in 2012, which aligns with my timeline.
Let’s start with the 402, which was Peugeot’s large family car produced between 1935 and 1942. About 75,000 were built. Most were factory sedans, but there were plenty of aftermarket coachbuilt versions as well.
Some of those were cars built for Parisian Peugeot dealer Emile Darl’Mat. Darl’Mat obtained permission from Peugeot to commission a run of sports cars to celebrate Peugeot’s history at Le Mans. Marcel Pourtout’s company was brought in to body the cars, which were initially based on the smaller 302 chassis. Production shifted to the 402 before too long, which offered a larger, 2.0-liter inline-four rated at 55 horsepower. All of them were streamlined French masterpieces.
This car is one of 53 Darl’Mat roadsters built, and an additional 20 coupes and 32 convertibles were also made. Only about 30 survive. Darl’Mat’s vision of a sporty Peugeot really took off when his namesake cars ended up running well at Le Mans in 1937 and 1938.