1953 DP Panhard Coupe
Lot 115
1953 DB Panhard Coupe Chassis no. 853 782
€55,000 - 75,000
US$ 74,000 - 100,000
Lot Details
1953 DB Panhard Coupe
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Frua

Chassis no. 853 782
La DB Panhard créée par Charles Deutsch et René Bonnet, apparut fin 1952 sous deux formes : un coupé et un cabriolet. Les versions compétition accumulèrent les victoires de catégorie dans les plus importantes épreuves d’endurance entre 1953 et 1962.

Le châssis n° 853782 est un rare exemple de coupé carrossé par Frua en Italie. Le premier propriétaire connu est Marcel de Joncour qui l’immatricula « 354 AR 29 » le 16 mai 1953. Un an plus tard, la voiture passa aux mains d’André Giraud dans le Calvados sous le numéro « 528 BV 14 » à compter du 28 juillet 1954. Le 29 novembre 1960, la voiture fut vendue dans la région du Rhône et immatriculée « 2018 BC 69 ». Moins d’un an après, elle fut vendue à Henri Van der Vegt le 13 juillet 1961. En 1970, elle fut achetée par Gérard Malun, un mécanicien de Lyon dont l’oncle, Georges Michaud, avait eu plusieurs DB. Il conserva la voiture pendant 28 ans avant de la vendre à un collectionneur de Bordeaux en 1998. La voiture portait encore un ancien autocollant « Ecurie Noire » quand elle fut acquise par le propriétaire actuel. D’autres recherches concernant cette connexion sont en cours au moment de mettre ce catalogue sous presse.

Superbement originale, la DB resta en collection jusqu’en 2007 lorsque, toujours à l’état de « sortie de grange », elle fut restaurée en prévision d’une participation au Mans Classic 2008. La carrosserie fut décapée jusqu’à la tôle et le châssis et le plancher totalement rénovés. Un arceau-cage FIA fut monté et tous les organes mécaniques furent démontés et refaits. Lors de la préparation de la caisse, des traces de la teinte d’origine furent trouvées en plusieurs endroits et elles servirent à refaire une peinture fidèle à la couleur initiale quand elle fut repeinte en « vert houx ». Les écussons « Écurie Noire » furent copiés et remis en place. Un dossier photographique complet montrant tous les stades de la restauration accompagne la voiture.
La restauration fut terminée à temps pour Le Mans Classic 2008 et la DB qui courut en catégorie 2 reçut un accueil enthousiaste de la part des organisateurs et du public.
Dans un état de présentation remarquable et sortant tout juste de sa restauration et de sa performance au Mans, cette voiture est une occasion unique d’acquérir un très rare exemplaire de ces étonnants coupés DB carrossés par Frua. La voiture est accompagnée d’un dossier historique très complet, de ses papiers FIA à jour, de son ancienne carte grise et d’un ensemble de pièces de rechanges y compris un moteur Panhard 750 cm3 et une boîte de vitesses, deux compresseurs et diverses pièces d’origine déposées lors de la restauration. Prêt à rouler, ce coupé sport des premières années 1950 sera accueilli avec intérêt dans les plus belles manifestations mondiales, depuis les rallyes touristiques jusqu’au prestigieux Le Mans Classic.



In partnership with Charles Deutsch, René Bonnet first tried his hand at motor manufacturing in 1939 with a Citroën-based special, though further serious progress was curtailed until 1945. The duo formed Automobiles DB in 1949, turning to Panhard for engines and suspension components that would form the basis of a highly successful series of Le Mans class-winning sports prototypes from the mid-1950s onwards. In 1961 the partnership split, Deutsch continuing with Panhard-based cars while Bonnet turned to Renault.
Available in coupé form (as offered here) the DB-Panhard was known as the Mille Miglia and in open two-seater configuration as the Le Mans.

Introduced at the Paris Salon in 1952, these popular little sports cars boasted a box-section chassis, front-wheel drive, independent suspension all-round and aluminium bodies (later glassfibre). Engines ranged from a 601cc 30bhp unit to an 850cc supercharged version producing 55bhp. Well suited for general road use and also highly competitive on the racetrack, the DB-Panhard certainly made its mark. In 1952 alone DB-Panhard won 24 sports car races and set ten new world records for its class. American successes included class wins at Bridgehampton, Elkhart Lake and Sebring. DB-Panhard also enjoyed considerable good fortune at the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance classic from the early 1950s to the early 1960s, winning the coveted ‘Index of Performance’ on no fewer than seven occasions between 1953 and 1962.
Chassis number ‘853 782’ is a rare example of the Carrozzeria Frua-bodied Coupé. The first recorded owner is Marcel de Joncour who registered it ‘354 AR 29’ on 16th May 1953. A year later the car passed to an André Giraud of Gapes in the Calvados region and was re-registered ‘528 BV 14’ on 28th July 1954. On 29th November 1960 the car was sold in the Rhône area and registered ‘2018 BC 69’, and, less than a year later, was purchased by Henri Van Der Vegt on 13th July 1961. In 1970 it was purchased by Gerard Malun, a mechanic from Lyon whose uncle George Michaud ran a number of DBs. He kept the car for 28 years before selling it to a collector from the Bordeaux region in 1998. The car carried an old sticker of the ‘Écurie Noire’ when purchased by the current owner and further research into this was being carried out as the catalogue went to print.

Wonderfully original, the DB remained within the collection until 2007 when it was removed, still in untouched ‘barn find’ condition, and restored in preparation for the 2008 Le Mans Classic. The body was stripped to bare metal and the chassis and floor completely renovated. An FIA-specification roll cage was fitted and all of the mechanicals stripped and rebuilt. On stripping the body, traces of the original colour were found in numerous places and used to achieve a faithful match when the car was returned to its original Holly Green livery. The original Écurie Noire badges were copied and reapplied, and a detailed photographic account of every stage of the restoration accompanies the car. The restoration was completed just in time for the 2008 Le Mans Classic and the DB competed in Category 2, receiving an enthusiastic response from the crowd and the organisers.
Beautifully presented throughout and fresh from its restoration and shakedown at Le Mans, this car represents a unique opportunity to acquire a very rare example of the stunning Frua-bodied DB coupé. The car is accompanied by an extensive history file, current FIA Papers, old French Carte Grise and a substantial quantity of spare parts to include a spare 750cc Panhard engine and gearbox, two superchargers and assorted original fittings removed from the car during restoration.

‘On the button’ and ready to go, this highly eligible early 1950s sports coupé will be a welcome entry to a wide variety of events worldwide, ranging from rallies and tours to the prestigious Le Mans Classic.

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