1953 Deutsch-Bonnet (DB) Barchetta



  • Year of manufacture 
  • Car type 
  • Chassis number 
    HBR 789
  • Lot number 
  • Drive 
  • Condition 
  • Interior colour 
  • Number of seats 
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
  • Gearbox 
  • Drivetrain 
  • Fuel type 


Without registration
US car, to be customs cleared in country of destination

Chassis n° HBR 789

- Authentic and rare competition DB LM 53
- Superb presentation
- Eligible for Le Mans Classic
- Brilliant design

Charles Deutsch and René Bonnet are important names in French motor racing between 1940 and 1960. The former, a brilliant engineer and graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique, joined up with the latter who ran a garage in Champigny-sur-Marne as a Citroën representative. Together they embarked on designing competition cars, first with Citroën engines and later turning to Panhard whose flat twin-cylinder air-cooled engines lent themselves to race preparation. From these beginnings, the different configurations of the DB-Panhard achieved enormous success in class, due largely to the advanced thinking behind the weight and aerodynamics of the car.

We are delighted to present one of these outstanding racing machines. According to the excellent book by Alain Gaillard "DB 1932-1962 - Les automobiles de Charles Deutsch et René Bonnet", this car, chassis number 789, was one of a series of nine barchettes given the name " Le Mans 53 ". Also part of the same series, chassis numbers 784 and 785 finished 17th and 19th overall in the 1953 Le Mans 24 Hour Race, as well as clocking up many other successes during the 1953 and 1954 seasons. Chassis number no.789 is specifically type "Antem modifié 1954" and was delivered new on 27 January 1954 to French Motors Inc. in Los Angeles. The car took part in several SCCA races throughout that year, winning its class in the race at Austin in March 1954, driven by François Crouzet. In September, the same driver finished eighth overall at Torrey Pines.

This car has the extremely attractive body of this rare version, with streamlined headlights, elegantly shaped wings, central raised bump on the bonnet and characteristic round vents. With aerodynamic efficiency, an absolute priority in DB styling, it would be hard imagine anything more elegant or graceful. Moreover, the LM 53 weighed just 400 kg, thanks to an aluminium body built on a central beam structure. The car had unusually good road-holding capabilities, with front wheel drive and carefully designed suspension. With a top speed of 180 km/h, it had a remarkable performance for such a modest engine size.
During the 1990s, this car joined the collection of Jacques Grelley, one of the most well-known DB enthusiasts in the US. In December 1999, he sold it to Thomas Mitter, another eminent enthusiast. Mitter had the car restored by Surrey Motorsports in Michigan, renowned marque specialist in America. This meticulously documented restoration cost over $100,000 and took three years, finishing in 2004. In superb condition today, it is one of the two DB LM 53 cars that have US racing history. Eligible for all the best historic racing events, including Le Mans Classic, this is a genuine competition machine. It is the result of two brilliant engineers who, to compensate for a modest engine size, produced a design that was intelligent, astute and avant-garde. It symbolises a chapter in the history of French motor racing that is crowned in glory.