Charles Deutsch and René Bonnet began racing specials in 1939 and quickly proved to be amongst the best builders in France with Panhard based GT and sports cars.
Their 500 was based around a modified Dyna Panhard flat twin engine which was mounted ahead of the front driven wheels. The engine's 10:1 compression developed 35 HP at 7,000 rpm. The chassis was box section with Panhard dual transverse springs for the front suspension and, at the rear, a pair of telescopic dampers acting on a solid axle. One of the faster drivers was Élie Bayol who went on to race in Formula 2 and 1 with OSCA and Gordini.
The DB was hampered by a relative lack of power in 500cc specification, compared with the JAP and Norton engines favoured by the English however, in the right hands and on the right circuit, it could be competitive
Élie Bayol set a number of records at Montlhéry in October 1950 for the 500cc and 750cc classes but these were short lived, while awaiting ratification, the Kieft team raised the bar only a month later. A German, Helmut Glöckler, fitted a more powerful BMW flat twin and enjoyed some success with a third overall in the 1951 West German championship, including an outright win at Hockenheim in May.
|At Rouen in 1952, driven by René. This is probably the French Grand Prix in July 1952 where Rene finished second to John Cooper.|
The Monomill Story
For 1954, the company came up with the novel idea of the Monomill series. Well ahead of its time, this one-make junior series involved cars leased to the drivers, and allocated by ballot at each event. The cars were based heavily on the Formula III machine, but with a larger, unsleeved (850cc) Panhard engine and identifiable by the larger nose with a single, full-width intake.
|The partnership came to an end in the early 1960s, Deutsch wishing to continue the association with Panhard while Bonnet believed that Renault power was the future. Rene Bonnet was later responsible for the Djet sports car, which eventually became Matra.|