1954 Deutsch et Bonnet HBR Pilots: L. Cornet, M. Gignoux Team: Ecurie Jeudy-Bonnet Race: 16th GC (S 0.7 class) at Le Mans in 1954 Bizarre - BZ451 (resin)
The HBR was without a doubt Deutsch et Bonnet most successful model. DB produced a few hundred of the HBR series from 1954 to 1959. In the beginning the fiberglass bodies came from Chausson. But after the first 100 or so cars DB acquired the tooling and started to make the bodies in-house. The cars were absurdly spartan, with only the bare minimum features. The idea was to have a feather-weight car, with just enough accessories to meet race regulations. And marginally comfortable so that the pilot could drive the car to the race venue. Except for the very first models, all HBR came equipped with a modified Panhard engine. It was a small 745 cm³ flat-2, but for a car that weighed 584 kg, it was enough.
Since it was quite affordable, the HBR was a commercial success among France’s privateer pilots. It was a common sight at La Sarthe, specially in barquette trim. The barquette (spyder) body was even lighter than the coupe, and every kilogram (gram?) counted. In the 1954 24 Heures du Mans there were five HBR, all in barquette form. Of these, one managed a 10th place overall. And HBR #56 here (chassis #797) managed a 16th place, and was the last car to classify that year.
So, another “mini might”. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to drive a car like this for 24 hours straight. The high-pitched wail of the 0.7 liter engine in a car with absolutely no amenities must have been hellish. This HBR #56 is my second DB but definitively the most striking. And being from Bizarre (who else?), a very nice model – quirky cool.