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René Bonnet

Information about René Bonnet

René Bonnet, an innovative French automaker, co-founded DB (Deutsch-Bonnet) with Charles Deutsch, specializing in lightweight sports and racing cars. However, following a strategic disagreement over engine suppliers — Deutsch favored Panhard while Bonnet preferred Renault — the duo parted ways. This split led Bonnet to establish Automobiles René Bonnet in 1961, marking a new chapter in French automotive history.

The brand was renowned for its pioneering approach to vehicle design, particularly with the introduction of the Djet in 1962, the world’s first mid-engined production road car. Despite its technical achievements, including a sophisticated suspension setup and the use of fiberglass bodywork, the Djet struggled commercially. Production challenges and limited sales volumes stressed the company financially, leading to its acquisition by Matra, a company with interests in both aeronautics and automotive sectors.

By 1964, Matra had absorbed Automobiles René Bonnet, transitioning the innovative Djet into the Matra sports car line-up and continuing production until 1968. René Bonnet’s venture into automotive manufacturing was brief but impactful, setting engineering precedents while struggling to find commercial success. His contributions to motor racing and car design remain influential, despite the brand’s relatively short life.

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