In 1936 Peugeot launched the short wheelbase 302 model, which would be the basis for the next Darl'mat, Pourtout (coachbuilder) and Paulin (designer) project. A dental technician by trade, Paulin was very passionate about creating very aerodynamic and efficient shapes.
This was very useful for Darl'mat as he wanted to create a racing car based on the 302 chassis, powered by the slightly larger two-liter engine from the 402 model. It would be the first time a Peugeot would be seriously raced again since the early teens when the company built some of the most advanced Grand Prix cars of the day. The car has an approximate weight of 2248 pounds.
In November of 1936 the first example was produced, and soon after it was decided that the 'Darl'mat' would be produced in limited numbers for the road in Cabriolet, Roadster and Coupe form. This example is the larger engine 402 model.
A racing car for the road appealed to customers and a hundred road cars on the Peugeot 302 and 402 chassis were produced between 1937 and 1939. Of those 100 cars, 53 were Roadsters. It is estimated that around 30 examples still exist today.
Georges Paulin's design is Peugeot's most elegantly designed two-seat roadster. 104 of these Darl'mat Special Sport Roadsters were built by hand-shaping aluminum sheets and then nailing them to frames made from Ash. Approximately 30 of these cars survive, and this car is a multiple award winner including Best in Class at Pebble Beach.
This car was Pourtout commission number 1639. It would lead a secluded existence in France for much of its life before surfacing at a Peugeot dealership in Nice around 2 decades ago. When discovered, the rare Peugeot had been in static storage for a number of years after having been retired from its service as an occasional rally car. At the time, the car was rather complete and intact, retaining the vast majority of its original components and Pourtout coachwork. The car has a unique feature of having a folding soft top.
The car was eventually purchased by a group of dealers and collectors in an effort to avoid a bidding war. The deal was spearheaded by Christophe Pund and Frankie du Mouton. The car would remain in Europe until Mr. Edward Fallon of Phoenix, Arizona, discovered the Peugeot 42 while attending Retromobile in 2001. It was purchased and shipped to the US, and soon after it was restored in aim of showing at the 2004 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. By August of that year, around 2,500 man-hours had been spent in restoration and was ready for being shown at the Pebble Beach Concours. It was shown in a class devoted to the designs of George Paulin. It was awarded with Best of Class honors, an impressive accomplishment considering the list of cars it defeated including a very rare Darl'mat Coupe.
It was later shown at Meadow Brook, Amelia Island and the Palm Beach International Concours. The elegant alloy bodywork attracts crowds wherever it goes. Though beautiful, the car was designed for road use and is eligible for tours and rallies. The four-cylinder engine and the Cotal gearbox makes it delightful to drive at speed. There is a removable low-raked windshield, pontoon fenders, cut-down doors, a grille shell, twin fuel-fillers and a large dashboard with just two Jaeger gauges to monitor the car's mechanical status.
In 2010, this Porsche 356 Pre-A was offered for sale at Gooding & Company Auction held in Amelia Island, Florida. The car was estimated to sell for $650,000 - $850,000. As bidding came to a close, bidding had reached $600,000, but was not enough to satisfy the car's reserve. It would leave the auction unsold.
The original, base model Peugeot 402 was a large family car produced in Sochaux, France, from 1935 until 1942. It was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in 1935, replacing the Peugeot 401. Darl'mat refers to Emile Darl'mat, a successful Paris-based Peugeot distributor, known for modifying Peugeots to increase their performance. In 1928 he joined coachbuilder Marcel Pourtout to produce a completely custom Peugeot. In 1934 the pair caught the attention of Peugeot management with a Peugeot 601 equipped with a folding steel roof.
One of the most desirable of these joint creations is this 402 Darl'mat Special Sport Roadster. The design intent was to boost Peugeot's image with a lightweight, aerodynamic car with a sporting engine. Styled by Paulin and made with aluminum by Pourtout, Darl'mat's roadster was unlike anything else on the road.
In 1937, three specially prepared Darl'mat 302 Roadsters entered the 24 Hours of Le Mans, placing 7th, 8th and 10th overall. These had no doors and an improved engine with a new cylinder head, higher compression and twin carburetors. This helped Peugeot sell around 105 cars in Coupe, Cabriolet and Roadster form before war came to France.
This stunning car has the 2.0L engine with 70 horsepower and a manual transmission driving the rear wheels. Cable operated drums provided braking. Suspension in the front is independent with transverse, semi-elliptical springs and hydraulic shocks. The rear suspension is similar, but with a live axle.