DB (car)
DB was a French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 maker between 1938 and 1961, based in Champigny-sur-Marne
Champigny-sur-Marne is a commune in the southeastern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.-Name:Champigny-sur-Marne was originally called simply Champigny...

 near Paris. The firm was founded by Charles Deutsch
Charles Deutsch
Charles Deutsch was a French aerodynamics engineer and automobile maker, founder of the brand "DB" with René Bonnet, and later of the "CD".-Career:...

 and René Bonnet
René Bonnet
René Bonnet was a French driver and automobile constructor.He started building race cars in 1936 with Charles Deutsch and in 1946 they founded Deutsch et Bonnet in Champigny-sur-Marne, using Citroën and Panhard mechanics. They separated in 1961 and René Bonnet founded the firm Automobiles René...

. Immediately before the war the partners concentrated on making light-weight racing cars, but a few years after the war, starting with the presentation of a Panhard
Panhard Dyna X
The Panhard Dyna X was a lightweight compact saloon car designed by the visionary engineer Jean Albert Grégoire and first exhibited as the AFG Dyna at the Paris Motor Show in 1946....

 based cabriolet at the 1950 Paris Motor Show, the company began to produce small road-going sports cars. By 1952 the company no longer had its own stand at the Paris motorshow, but one of their cars appeared as a star attraction on the large Panhard
Panhard is currently a French manufacturer of light tactical and military vehicles. Its current incarnation was formed by the acquisition of Panhard by Auverland in 2005. Panhard had been under Citroën ownership, then PSA , for 40 years...

 stand, reflecting the level of cooperation between the two businesses.

Light-weight engineering

The business produced light sports car
Sports car
A sports car is a small, usually two seat, two door automobile designed for high speed driving and maneuverability....

s, originally in steel but subsequently with fiberglass
Glass-reinforced plastic
Fiberglass , is a fiber reinforced polymer made of a plastic matrix reinforced by fine fibers of glass. It is also known as GFK ....

 bodies mainly powered by Panhard
Panhard is currently a French manufacturer of light tactical and military vehicles. Its current incarnation was formed by the acquisition of Panhard by Auverland in 2005. Panhard had been under Citroën ownership, then PSA , for 40 years...

 flat-twin engines, most commonly of 610, 744, or 851 cc. Deutsch was a "theoretical engineer who had a natural instinct for aerodynamics," while Bonnet was a more "pragmatic mechanical engineer".

The fiberglass bodies covered a tubular central beam chassis made from steel, with front wheel drive and four wheel independent suspension directly lifted from the Panhard donors. Until 1952 all DBs had been for competition purposes only.

Racing origins

Deutsch and Bonnet had been promised a works drive in the 1936 French GP for sports cars, but when this failed to materialize they set about building their own racer. The 1938 DB1 was a special, built using the remains of a Citroën Traction Avant
Citroën Traction Avant
The Citroën Traction Avant is an automobile which was produced by the French manufacturer Citroën from 1934 to 1957. About 760,000 units were produced.-Impact on the world:...

 11CV. A series of numbered successors followed, with a DB4 in 1945 and a 2-liter DB5. Their two specials both placed in the first postwar race in France, in Paris in 1945. An open-wheeled DB7 appeared in 1947, after which the Automobiles Deutsch & Bonnet was officially formed. Their early cars were all built using Citroën parts, but supply was troublesome and DB soon moved on to using Panhard technology.

DB was very active in competition especially in Le Mans 24 Hours.

Road cars

The steel-bodied 1952 "Mille Miles" (celebrating class victories at the Mille Miglia
Mille Miglia
The Mille Miglia was an open-road endurance race which took place in Italy twenty-four times from 1927 to 1957 ....

) was a mini-GT with a 65 hp Panhard two-cylinder; it was quickly followed by the Chausson-designed DB Coach in fibreglass. The HBR model (1954–1959) was the partners' most successful project to date, with several hundred of the little cars produced between 1954 and 1959. This was followed by the LeMans (1958–1964). About 660 of the Mille Miles/Coach/HBR were built, and approximately 200 Le Mans. Later versions could be equipped with engines of 1 and 1.3 litres, and superchargers were also available. No two cars may have been alike, as they were built according to customer specifications from a wide range of options.

More racing success

Deutsch's very efficient and influential aerodynamic designs allowed DB race cars to reach impressive top speeds despite the small Panhard flat-twin
A flat-twin is a two cylinder internal combustion engine with the cylinders arranged on opposite sides of the crankshaft. It is part of the class of flat engines, sub-type "boxer", and shares most characteristics of those engines.-Motorcycle use:...

 engine. Deutsch and Bonnet disagreed whether they should build cars of front-wheel drive or mid-engined design. DB's received class victories at Le Mans (three times), Sebring
12 Hours of Sebring
The 12 Hours of Sebring is an annual motorsport endurance race for sports cars held at Sebring International Raceway, a former Army Air Force base in Sebring, Florida...

 (twice), and Mille Miglia (four times). DB even managed an outright win in the handicapped
Handicapping, in sport and games, is the practice of assigning advantage through scoring compensation or other advantage given to different contestants to equalize the chances of winning. The word also applies to the various methods by which the advantage is calculated...

 1954 Tourist Trophy
RAC Tourist Trophy
The International Tourist Trophy is an award given by the Royal Automobile Club and awarded semi-annually to the winners of a selected motor racing event each year in the United Kingdom. It was first awarded in 1905 and continues to be awarded to this day, making it the longest lasting trophy in...

 sports car race.

Disagreement and the end of the partnership

Charles Deutsch, wanting to stick to Panhard engines, left DB in 1961 to found his own firm (CD). Bonnet founded Automobiles René Bonnet
Automobiles René Bonnet
Automobiles René Bonnet was a French automobile maker.The firm was the continuation of Deutsch et Bonnet by René Bonnet when Charles Deutsch, the "D" in DB, founded his own firm CD...

, producing cars powered by Renault
Renault S.A. is a French automaker producing cars, vans, and in the past, autorail vehicles, trucks, tractors, vans and also buses/coaches. Its alliance with Nissan makes it the world's third largest automaker...

 engines: this business was later to become part of Matra
Mécanique Aviation Traction or Matra was a French company covering a wide range of activities mainly related to automobile, bicycles, aeronautics and weaponry. In 1994, it became a subsidiary of the Lagardère Group and now operates under that name.Matra was owned by the Floirat family...

Automobiles. Deutsch ended up an engineering consultant.

External links

  • http://sports.racer.net/chassis/db/index.htm
  • http://www.velocetoday.com/archives/90
  • http://vea.qc.ca/vea/marques1/db.htm
  • Deutsch Bonnet at Citroenet
  • http://dbrb.free.fr
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