An incredibly rare 1938 Peugeot 402 Darl’mat Légère Special Sport will be offered in a forthcoming timed online format auction from 3-10 March with an estimate of £ 310,000 – 490,000.
The amazing and in some ways futuristic French racing machine was penned by the remarkably talented, Georges Paulin and built by the French coachbuilder Marcel Pourtout for Émile Darl’Mat, whose Paris-based company was one of the world’s largest Peugeot agencies.
Whilst aerodynamics and economy are the first thing we tend to think of nowadays, it was a slightly different story in the 1930s when automobile engineers and stylists were just beginning to realise the value of such important commodities. Paulin was the gifted visionary of an exclusive series of streamlined roadsters, coupés and cabriolets which were built by the French coachbuilder Marcel Pourtout for Émile Darl’Mat.
Prior to the 402 being made, the Peugeot 302 chassis was used and paired with the larger (2.0-litre, later 2.1-litre) four-cylinder overhead-valve engine of the 402. Introduced at the Paris Motor Show in 1936, the 302 lasted for only 18 months, though it’s short wheelbase chassis would live on in the 402 Légère.
Paulin became the leading French stylist of the time… Everything he touched was designed with aerodynamics in mind. He was very conscious of fuel efficiencies and the aerodynamic efficiencies that could be created by the lines of the car. You could go faster, which meant you could put a smaller engine in the car…
Peugeot 402 Darl’mat – Gallery
The car is one of approximately 30 survivors and one of the very few that remains in its original condition. Manufactured on 2nd June 1938 but not registered to its first owner, a Mr Lefranc of Sury-le-Comtal, until 28th August 1940, the car was sold by the Peugeot dealership in Nîmes for a total of 25,500 FF.
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Fast forward to the 1970s and the Darl’Mat is owned by Mr Lucien Mette, who found himself with a car lacking the manufacturer’s plate and without a Carte Grise, the latter having been lost. The car was finished in two-tone paintwork at that time.
An active July 93′ saw the Peugeot 402 Darl’mat taking part in the Grand Prix of Péronne (in Picardy) and also in the Rallye des Châteaux. Then, in 2001, a Lille-based businessman, acquired the Peugeot in exchange for a Bugatti Type 57 Stelvio Convertible.
A truly rare classic car of extreme integrity and provenance…