DB HBR5

1956 D.B. HBR5

Offered by Gooding & Company | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 20, 2018

Photo – Gooding & Company

Charles Deutsch and Rene Bonnet teamed up for the first time in 1938, applying both of their surnames to automobiles. In 1947, they would shorten it to just “D.B.” and would continue building cars through 1961 when Bonnet ventured out on his own, until his new company was scooped up into Matra.

The HBR5, of which we’ve already featured a highly customized example that has different body work than this car, was a sports and racing car built between 1955 and 1961. In total, 450 were built and this one is powered by a 65 horsepower, 848cc flat-twin. That’s a decent amount of power from such a tiny engine.

But with a lightweight fiberglass body, these were stout cars in their class on the track. For example, this car, while owned by famed designer Brooks Stevens, competed in the 1957 12 Hours of Sebring, failing to finish with drivers Guy Storr and Hal Ullrich. D.B. cars don’t come up for sale often (I’ve featured nearly every one of them in the past five years and we’re now standing at “four”). This one should bring between $100,000-$130,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $47,300.

1945 Deutsch-Bonnet Race Car

1945 Deutsch-Bonnet Type DB Sport

Offered by Osenat | Fontainebleau, France | June 23, 2013

1945 Deutsch-Bonnet Type DB Sport 2

Deutsch-Bonnet (which would later become known simply as “D.B.”) began building racing cars in the late-1930s, just prior to war breaking out. They picked up right where they left off immediately after the conclusion of World War II.

This car competed in the first race held in France after the war and it was one of only two cars entered that had actually been built after the war (both were Type DBs) – and they had front-wheel drive and four-wheel independent suspension. This car uses a 2.0-liter straight-four engine.

I’ll attempt to break down this car’s complete racing record:

  • 1945 Coupe de Paris – 6th (with René Bonnet)
  • 1946 Grand Prix of Nice – DNF (with Bonnet)
  • 1946 Grand Prix of Marseille – 3rd (with Bonnet)
  • 1946 Coupe de la Ville de Saint Etienne – 2nd (with Bonnet)
  • 1946 120km Cup – 2nd (with Bonnet)
  • 1946 Belgian Grand Prix – DNF (with Bonnet)
  • 1946 Grand Prix de Bourgogne – DNF (with Bonnet)
  • 1946 Cup of Nantes – DNF (with Bonnet)
  • 1947 Coupe de Paris – DNF (with Bonnet)
  • 1948 Coupe de Pairs – 5th (with Bonnet)
  • 1948 12 Hours of Paris – 14th (with Bonnet)
  • 1949 Grand Prix d’Aix-les-Bains – 3rd (with René Abbo)
  • 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans – 24th, DNF (with Bonnet and Charles Deutsch)
  • 1949 Grand Prix de l’ACF du Comminges – DNF (with René Simone)
  • 1949 Côte de Bellevue – 2nd (with Simone)
  • 1949 Coupes du Salon – 7th (with Simone)
  • 1950 Coupe de Marseille – 2nd (with Simone)
  • 1950 Coupes de Vitesse – 5th in class (with Simone)
  • 1950 Mille Miglia – DNF (with Simone and Bruno Marchio)
  • 1950 24 Hours of Le Mans – 50th, DNF (with Simone and Michel Arnaud)
  • 1950 Grand Prix de Rouen – 2nd (with Simone)
  • 1950 German Grand Prix (at Nurburgring) – 8th in Class (with Simone)
  • 1950 Grand Prix of Cadours – 1st (with Simone)

It competed here and there from 1951 through 1958, but it had quite the important race history up to then. It spent the next 25 years being driven around Nice on the French Riviera. In 1974 it was purchased by the current owner who dug into the history of the car to find out what he had. Yes, he had scored big.

The chassis (chassis no. 5) is original and it is stated that so is 80% of the bodywork. The car has competed in a number of historic races including five appearances in the Le Mans Classic. It is eligible for almost every historic event and is road legal. This is one of the first race cars (actually the second) built in France (and maybe Europe) after the conclusion of the Second World War. No estimate is given so that should be a sign that it could be rather pricey. Click here for more info and for a ton of old photos. And here for the rest of Osenat’s auction lineup.

Update: Not sold.

Osenat, June 17, 2012, Sale Highlights

Osenat’s recent sale had a number of unique – at least to those of us not in France – cars that sold. Unfortunately, the D.B. Le Mans we featured, didn’t. However, the other D.B. in the sale did. It’s a 1960 D.B. Type HBR 5 and it brought $28,000.

Top sale went to this 1960 Maserati 3500 GT Spider Vignale – in all it’s wondrous Photoshopped glory. It sold for $303,000 – about three times more than the next highest-selling car.

Other interesting sales included a 1926 Hispano-Suiza T49 (below) for $38,000 and a 1951 Talbot-Lago T26 Record for $76,500 (second below).

This 1954 Panhard Dyna Junior convertible really popped in this shade of gold. I can’t tell if it’s attractive or hideous, but it certainly grabbed my attention. It was one of two Dyna Juniors that sold. This one for $19,000 and one in blue for $20,000.

And finally, one car I found quite pretty was this 1962 Simca Plein Ciel – which was the hardtop coupe version of the Simca Aronde. It sold for a touch under $23,000. For complete results, click here.

D.B. Le Mans

1961 D.B. Le Mans

Offered by Osenat | Fontainebleau, France | June 17, 2012

Known as Deutsch-Bonnet until 1947, D.B. was a French manufacturer founded by Charles Deutsch and René Bonnet, who left the firm in the early 1961 to start his own company. D.B. started in 1938 building Citroen-based racing specials and turned to road cars in 1952.

The Le Mans model was introduced in 1958 and lasted until the company closed up shop in 1961. All their road-going models were Panhard-based using Panhard flat-twin engines. The Le Mans had an 850cc version making about 60 horsepower.

The Le Mans name was not wishful thinking – D.B.s won their class at the 24 Hours three separate times. These were legitimate sports cars. Approximately 200 Le Mans models were built and they might not be the most powerful European sports car of the 1960s, but they are certainly rare. For more information (in French), click here. And fore the rest of Osenat’s auction lineup (including another rare D.B.), click here.

Update: Not sold.