This dainty French beauty is the last surviving D.B. Barquette of the three cars entered by the small firm from Champigny in the 1957 Le Mans 24 Hours. Powered by an equally-minute 750cc two-cylinder air-cooled Panhard engine, the car was a redesign of a 1956 model that had performed excellently the year before at Le Mans. The car you see here, chassis 916, was leading the race until the team’s signaller fell asleep holding the “Faster” sign in his hands, causing chassis 916 and its sister car to leave the track, costing them the race.
Following a bodywork overhaul, chassis 916 had a fibreglass roof riveted to its body. Still unpainted, the car was entered in the Grand Touring category, placing third in the Rouen Grand Prix, and then finally finding victory in the Caen Grand Prix with Jean-Claude Vidilles behind the wheel. Following this success, the car was finished and underwent an insurance-related chassis number change from 916 to 924.
Chassis 916/924 continued to race in its berlinette configuration, entering the 6th Tour de France Automobile, and the Tour de Corse. At the start of 1958, Gérard Laureau drove the little car to victory in the GT category at the Grand Prix de Pau, while Jean-François Jaeger won the Coupes de vitesse at Montlhéry. Its final outing was less fortunate, at the Planchois hill-climb near Saint-Etienne the car left the road, resulting in a fatal crash. D.B. co-founder René Bonnet sold the car on the spot, and after changing hands a few times the car was eventually put into storage for three decades until it was sold again in 2001.
Its previous owner, Honoré Durand, an avid D.B. enthusiast, then fully restored the tiny racer, finally entering the car in Le Mans Classic before Covid struck. Now the car’s next owner has the amazing opportunity to take part in this Le Mans veteran, so be sure to check out Aguttes' Summer Sale on June 26th!