Lot n° 6
25000 - 35000
1960 DB LE MANS LUXE
Nice original condition
Important file of invoices
Provisional French registration
Charles Deutsch, engineer of the Ponts et Chaussées and René Bonnet,
passionate about mechanics, met in 1932 when the family workshop of the
family workshop was put up for sale. Very quickly the project was born to
ingenious cars intended for competition, all based on the
competition, all based on Citroën mechanics. Thus, in
1938, the two friends succeeded in presenting a car at the 12
Hours of Paris. However, the war put their projects on hold
and it is only in 1945 that Deutsch and Bonnet take back their tools
to pursue their dreams of racing cars. Thus, in
1947, the foundation of the "Automobiles DB" is acted accompanying
in 1949 of the first participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans of the duet
with a Citroën engine "tank". It is finally towards Panhard
that the ingenious enthusiasts turned to Panhard to draw the mechanical
of their future cars.
In 1959, the "Le Mans" cabriolet was presented at the Paris Motor Show. Equipped with a plastic body, it shares many mechanical elements with the PL17 from Panhard following agreements signed between the two manufacturers. Under the bonnet of the "Le Mans" is the 850cc twin-cylinder engine which develops 50 horsepower and will be called "tigre". This innovative and powerful engine will be developed and tested in large part on the Le Mans circuit, notably under the hood of the Panhard-Monopole team cars from 1954.
It is thus thanks to this engine and its lightness (less than one ton when loaded) that the DB Le Mans enters the category of the sports convertibles. With a top speed of 170 km/h, the car is nevertheless elegant, almost Italian in form with taut, aggressive lines and a name on the rear wings recalling the numerous victories of the brand in the Le Mans race in the mid-1950s.
Very rare on our roads, this convertible was only produced in 200 examples until 1962 when the two partners at the origin of the DB firm separated.
The example presented here, built in Champigny-sur-Marne, is a luxury model that never left Switzerland. It bears the chassis number 5023, which indicates that the car was delivered between December 1960 and February 1961. It was only registered in 1964, in Geneva, under the administrative "code" of approval X, which induces an isolated approval by assimilating the model to a Panhard PL17 tigre from which it takes the mechanics. This discrepancy is explained by the fact that it benefits from top-of-the-range finishes and that it had to be sold after having been the show car of a professional in French-speaking Switzerland, Geneva having been a breeding ground for DB Le Mans since no less than ten were sold new there, 5049 having for example come out of the barn with a certificate of registration from the first owner, in 2019 5023's dashboard still bears the snaps of a tonneau cover, cigarette lighter and radio (replaced by a dummy); it has both the soft top and hard top.
The car is initially charcoal black with a black hood and black interior. It was acquired in the 1970s from the first owner, a Dutchman, Mr. Héringa, who sold it to the garage owner Roger Epars, one of the last professionals in Geneva to maintain Panhard cars for enthusiasts. Mr Epars dismantled the engine and the BV and had it repainted in metallic black. The car is sitting in the garage next to a sister car (DBLM5259) that its owner sold in 1986 to the current owner of 5023 (who sold it back to 5023).
At the death of Mr Epars in the early 1990's, it was sold in the same condition as its sister... Disparate: A Swiss saddler rebuilds the hood and the interior as it was originally. After the mechanics were rebuilt, the owner goes out a lot with it: it has been seen at Epoqu'auto, at the monthly Saga3D (Geneva) outings. The mechanics have been revised in 2019 by a recognized Panhard specialist. 5023 receives on this occasion a red interior, new, brightening up a little its austerity. The seller imports it to France where he also has ties. Subject to a brake hose, it passed the CT in France on 14 June 2021. It is currently provisionally registered under "WW" plates and should receive its CGC registration shortly.
The work done is part of a regular maintenance by the seller:
- New hood (1995, with wooden roll bar against windshield, new) and interior (2019)
- Exhaust line first in stainless steel (1995: made by the late Yves Demeusy) then recently by an apprentice who assembled standard parts in accordance with the new specifications.
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