Partnered by Charles Deutsch, Rene Bonnet formed Automobiles DB in 1949, building a highly successful series of Panhard-based, Le Mans class-winning sports prototypes. In 1961 they split, Deutsch continuing with Panhard-based cars while Bonnet turned to Renault, creating the stylish Djet, one of the first ever mid-engined road cars, though most examples ended up on the racetrack.
The Djet’s 1,100cc Renault engine produced 70bhp (95bhp in Gordini tune), while beneath the typically slippery glassfibre coachwork there was a tubular spaceframe chassis, all round independent suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. A French motoring milestone, the Djet continued after Matra acquired Rene Bonnet in 1964.
Bonham’s Sale of #1148
Jean-Pierre Beltoise’s racing career began in Rene Bonnet cars and he acquired this example from a French industrialist in 1981. Finished in British Racing Green with matching leather interior, the car was restored by Rene’s nephew Georges Bonnet in the early 1980s and is presented in excellent condition. The odometer shows 74913 km, very likely to be original considering the condition.
At their Les Grandes Marques a Monaco in 2005, Bonhams sold the 24-hours Race-Winning 670B. The top bid was 15 000 EU (19 000 USD).
A desirable Gordini-tuned model, this Matra-Bonnet Djet comes with documentation tracing its ownership back to 1984 when it belonged to Bernard Berthomiers of Tarascon, France. In May 1989 the car passed to Valter Musso of Cuneo, Italy and appears to have been next owned (from May 1992) by Defendente Marniga of Edolo, Italy. The chassis is described as un-restored, salt-free and in very good condition, while the bodywork, engine and transmission are all said to be excellent, and the interior nicely patinated. In addition to the aforementioned paperwork, the car comes with magazine articles and other technical/historical information; CSAI identity papers; German registration document and TüV; and sundry invoices including one for servicing carried out by RWS Motorsport in May 2014.