1958 DB HBR 5. Blue version

The HBR 5 model (1954–1959) was Deutsch and Bonnet’s (DB) most successful project to date, with several hundred of the cars produced until 1959. Another small series of lowered and lightened cars called “Super Rallye” occurred in 1960 and 1961. Around 660 of the Mille Miles, Coach, and HBR 4/5s were built in total. Other sources (a count by the DB-Panhard clubs of France, Germany, Switzerland, and the US) account for 950 DB coupés, of which nearly all would be HBRs and their Frua-designed predecessors.

The HBR was first introduced as the “DB Coach” at the 1954 Paris Salon, with production beginning in January 1955. An earlier prototype with a body made of Duralinox (an aluminium-magnesium alloy) had been shown at the 1953 Paris Salon, but productionising the car took some time. The early Chausson designs received retractable headlamps and often the front portion of the roof is plexiglass. This plexiglass sunroof, with a removable inner cover, continued to be available throughout the HBR’s life.

Chausson built the fibreglass body; this was considered an experience-gaining effort and DB was charged a very modest per-unit price. The first hundred interim cars were built by Chausson, after which, experiment over, they sold the tooling to Deutsch and Bonnet themselves. They in turn turned the equipment over to another bodybuilding company which proceeded to sell the finished bodies to DB, meaning DB got into the car manufacturing business at a minimal cost. The first Coach/HBR had a 50 CV (37 kW) version of the 848 cc Panhard Dyna engine, with twin Solex carburettors. Early models, show cars in particular, also often exhibited luxurious equipment with much chrome and two-tone paintjobs.

Deutsch-Bonnet (DB in acronym), is a brand of French sports cars created in 1937 by Charles Deutsch and René Bonnet and disappeared in 1962.

The D.B Coupés, in racing or customer versions, were intensively involved in rallying and on international circuits: 24 Hours of Le Mans, 12 Hours of Sebring, 12 Hours of Reims, TdF Automobile (notably with Prince Rainier of Monaco at the wheel, who made the brand famous).

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