1938 Peugeot 402


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French title
Chassis n° 705551

- Older, high quality restoration by André Lecoq
- Genuine Darl'mat roadster
- Ex Seydoux collection
- Eligible for Le Mans Classic

The collaboration between Émile Darl'mat and Georges Paulin gave rise to one of the most elegant French sports cars of its day. Darl'mat ran a specialised Peugeot garage in Paris, offering clients a range of upgrades and enhancements. In 1930, when Peugeot launched the 301, the business employed 160 people. Georges Paulin, on the other hand, was a dental technician with a passion for cars whose original spirit led him into the field of automobile design. For the 301 he developed a type of retractable roof, which appeared on the " Eclipse ". However, it was the 402's little sister, the 302, launched in 1935, that gave Darl'mat a real opportunity to express himself. He used the mechanical elements from the 402 on the 302 chassis and fitted an elegant and aerodynamic body, designed with flair by Georges Paulin. Driven by Charles de Cortanze, Marcel Contet and Jean Pujol, this car ran for 25 hours at Montlhéry at an average speed of 139,282 km/h. Faced with this success, Peugeot agreed to build a limited series, initially presented as the 302 Spéciale Sport, then the 402 Spéciale Sport in 1938. The 302 chassis and the 402 engines left Sochaux for Darl'mat, and then went on to the coachbuilder Marcel Pourtout, who bodied the car in three versions : coupé, cabriolet and roadster. In 1937, Émile Darl'mat entered three cars in the Le Mans 24 Hours. The engines were race-prepared by Peugeot and, fitted with a Cotal four-speed box, they were capable of 170 km/h and finished in seventh, eighth and tenth places, driven by Pujol/Contet, Cortanze/Serre and Porthault/Rigal. In the1938 Le Mans 24 Hours, the Darl'mats were even better prepared. Two of the three retired but the car driven by Cortanze/Conte finished 5th overall and won the 2-litre class.

Thanks to the precious help of Philippe Boulay and the friends of Darl'mat, we know that this 402 DS was delivered new on April 30, 1938 to Toulouse, the title indicates by mistake1937. The car was like often at the time equipped later with a Cotal gearbox. In the 1970s it belonged to a Mr. Corre, Peugeot agent in the Loiret region. It was also exhibited at the 1975 Paris Motor Show on the stand of Pourtout which commemorated its 50 years. It was then owned by S. Clement, a collector of the Sarthe region, who exchanged it for a Bugatti 57 with Nicolas Seydoux, the renowned collector and film director, and a leading figure at Gaumont and Pathé. At that time, the car went through the workshops of André Lecoq who oversaw the entire restoration. The Peugeot Darl'Mat then sold in 1991 to Pierre Croullet, owner of the museum in Sanary, where it remained on display until 1997. It sold that year at an auction held by Hervé Poulain to the current owner. Since then, it has been carefully maintained and the high quality restoration has stood the test of time brilliantly. The car has participated several times at Le Mans Classic, driven respectfully by an experienced driver and friend of the owner. It has some elements fitted that are required for racing, such as an extinguisher, but these can all be easily removed.
The supremely elegant shape of this model reflects the study made of aerodynamics. With its enveloping form, tapered wings and pointed tail, it represented real progress when compared to the traditional coachwork of that time. The car would be completely at home in a concours d'élégance. With the advantage of having tried and tested engineering, here is an interesting opportunity to participate in historic motorsport events such as Le Mans Classic.