After building over 1000 vehicles including the successful DB Panhard HBR Charles Deutsch and René Bonnet parted company over a disagreement about the supplier of engines for future models.
René was keen to switch to Renault motors while Charles wanted to stick with Panhards with which they had found much success.
In 1962 Automobiles René Bonnet launched the Djet, with the D allegedly added to help french owners pronounce the name correctly. Fiberglass bodies for the Djet were manufactured by Matra, a company at the time more commonly associated with missile production, which were then glued to a steel chassis.
The car is revolutionary because this is was the first sports car to go into mass production with a engine mounted behind the driver and ahead of the rear wheels the so called mid rear position.
The VS, yes that is a ‘V’ as in roman numeral and not a ‘Z’, denotes that this car is powered by a 90 hp Gordini spec 1108 cc / 67.6 cui 5 bearing 4 cylinder Renault ‘Cléon’ motor which gave the model a top speed of 118 mph.
The model was launched as the René Bonnet Djet in 1962 of which less than 200 were built by 1964 when as a consequence of focusing on racing activities Bonnet got into financial difficulties and was subsequently bought out by Matra.
Matra launched improved versions of the Djet in 1965, like the 1966 example seen here and sold them successively under the Matra Bonnet Djet, Matra Sports Djet and Matra Sports Jet up until 1967 when production ceased with over 1,490 further vehicles completed.
Thanks for joining me on the revolutionary mid engined edition of ‘Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !