Deutch Bonnet

DB Rouen 1952.jpg (19227 bytes)

Deutsch Bonnet

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.

René Bonnet

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.

Two DBs line up for the demonstration run at Montlhéry on 26th March 1950 Photo courtesy Alessandro Silva 

Known results:

Montlhéry 30th April 1950, Pierre "Pagnibon" Boncompagni, DNF

Rouen les Essarts 30th July 1950, Élie Bayol, 4th, Michel Aunaud, 5th

Nürburgring 20th August 1950 Grand Prix, Helmut Glöckler, 5th

San Sebastian 3rd September 1950, Francis Liagre DNF, Michel Aunaud, DNF

Montlhéry October 1950 DB Panhard Record Run Class I (up to 500cc), 50 km 139.396 kph, 50 miles 140.32 kph, 100 km 140.56 kph, 100 miles 141.06 kph, 200 km 141.18 kph

Pau 26th March 1951, René Bonnet, 6th

Montlhéry 8th April 1951 Coupe D'Or, Fernand Chaussat, 1st

Luxembourg 3rd May 1951 Grand Prix, Francis Liagre, 7th in heat, Michel Aunaud, 6th in heat

Orleans 6th May 1951, René Bonnet, 2nd, Robert Charrier, 3rd, Francis Liagre, 4th

Hockenheim 14th May 1951, Michel Aunaud, 2nd in heat, 13th in final, René Bonnet, DNF in heat, Helmut Glöckler, 1st in heat, 1st in final

Nürburgring 3rd June 1951, Helmut Glöckler, 6th, Paul Audibert, 9th, François Antonelli, 10th, Francis Liagre, 12th

Brands Hatch 24th June 1951 International Trophy, Francis Liagre, 4th in heat

Draguignan 25th June 1951, Pierre "Pagnibon" Boncompagni, 2nd in heat, Domenico Antonelli, 1st in heat, 4th in final

Avus 1st July 1951, Helmut Glöckler, 1st in heat, 9th in final

Rouen 8th July1951, Fernand Chaussat, 2nd, Francis Liagre, 3rd, Robert Charriere, 6th, Lecerf, 7th René Bonnet, DNF

Nürburgring 29th July 1951 Grand Prix, Marc Acema, 14th, Francis Liagre, 19th, Helmut Glöckler, DNF

Freiburg 5th August 1951, Helmut Glöckler, 13th

Grenzlandring 9th September 1951, Helmut Glöckler, 13th

Essen 23rd September 1951, Helmut Glöckler, 3rd

Sachsenring 29th September 1951, Helmut Glöckler, 3rd


Montlhéry 27th April 1952, Fernand Chaussat, 1st, Robert Charriere, 5th

Brussels 11th May 1952, Francis Liagre 3rd in heat, 5th in final, Raymond van Hauw DNF in heat, 6th in final

Draguignan 18th May 1952, Élie Bayol , 2nd

Luxembourg Grand Prix 22nd May 1952, Jean Dabere, 9th in heat

Orleans 8th June 1952, Pons, 4th, Paul Audibert, 5th, Robert Charrier, 6th

Amiens 15th June1952, Francis Liagre, 5th in heat, 5th in final, Robert Charrier, 6th in heat, 7th in final

Montauban 22nd June 1952, Lecerf, 2nd

Rouen 6th July 1952 French Grand Prix, René Bonnet, 2nd, Raymond Van Hauw, 3rd, Francis Liagre, 4th, Fernand Chaussat, 6th

Namur 20th July 1952, Raymond van Hauw, 4th in consolation heat

Zandvoort 17th August 1952 Dutch Grand Prix, Raymond Van Hauw, DNF

Chieti 31st August 1952,  Paul Audibert, 3rd

Grenzlandring 31st August 1952, Raymond Van Hauw, DNF

Montlhéry 28th September 1952, Guigou, 3rd


Circuit de Salon de Provence 5th September 1953, Guigou, 4th

Montlhéry 20th September 1953, Guigou, 2nd, Girault, 3rd


Montlhéry 17th April 1954, Andre Héchard, 1st

Nürburgring 23rd May 1954, Paul Audibert, DNF

Charleroi 13th June 1954, Jean Swennen, 5th in race 1, 4th in race 2, 4th= on aggregate, Raymond Van Hauw, 1st in race 2, 2nd on aggregate

Louviere 27th June 1954, Dujourie, 5th

Braine Le Comte 27th June 1954, Raymond Van Hauw, 1st in race 1, 1st in race 1, 1st on aggregate

Montlhéry 19th September 1954, Andre Hechard, 4th

Martigues October 1954, Guigou, 1st


Montlhéry 17th April 1955, André Hechard, 2nd

Mons 22nd May 1955 Grand Prix de St. Ghislain, Chapelle, 3rd in heat

An interesting experiment as reported by Jabby Crombac for Autosport November 1951

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.

At a star-studded debut at Montlhéry, 25th April 1954, with guest drives by Pierre Levegh, Harry Schell and Alfonso de Portago, the final was won by a young Jo Schlesser. A successful season with around 30 entrants was won by Paul Armangac.

1955 looked promising with chassis sold to the new Montlhéry racing school, and the series planned to expand, visiting the French territories in Africa. But with only two races run, all racing in France was halted by the Le Mans disaster. Lasting 12 months, this hit the DB company very hard financially, and the chassis had to be sold off to pay off debts.

In action at Brands Hatch, driven by Francis Liagre. This is probably June 1951 where he finished a creditable fourth in his Heat for the International Trophy

Dyna racing.jpg (201986 bytes)


Click to go to the Amicale DB website

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.