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Baby DB: 1959 Deutsch Bonnet HBR5


This 1959 Deutsch Bonnet HBR5 is one of about 400 ever built and the seller claims that it has been part of a museum collection for most of its life. When they got it, it wasn’t running, but they have since gotten it going again. It still needs some work, but can be found here on eBay with a BIN of $27k.


The interior looks to be in very nice shape and would lead one to believe that the odometer reading of 42k is true. Deutsch Bonnet, or DB for short, specialized in building lightweight sports cars and had some racing success in the 1940’s.


DB based most of their cars on Panhards, but also made use of Citroen components. The HBR5 is powered by an 848 cc Panhard 2 cylinder boxer engine. It isn’t a powerful motor, but this fiberglass bodied car doesn’t weigh much.


From behind, this car could be mistaken for an Aston Martin, especially with the non original tail lights and metallic grey paint. After some work and a good detailing, this rare little car could be a great car to take to events. The asking price seems a little high, but if it doesn’t have any serious issues it could be worth the money. We are still kicking ourselves that we didn’t pick this one up.


  1. Larry Meager

    Hi I’d like to no how I can get a car on here as a barn find if you can help me out plz email me and let me no thank you

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  2. Mark

    Its got a Cal Custom steering wheel and what looks like a horn button on the dash.

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  3. Dolphin Member

    These have a very interesting history—way more interesting that you would think for a car that has a 2-cylinder Panhard engine that displaces only 848 cc. .

    These often did well at Le Mans. How about the 1961 race, when five Deutsch et Bonnets finished in the last 5 places. That doesn’t sound very impressive until you realize that those were places 18 through 22, and that, by finishing, they beat over a dozen Ferraris, Maseratis, Porsches, Astons (3 of which were Zagato-bodied cars), Abarths, Healeys, Triumphs, etc, that did not finish. A D-B HBR4 also won the Index of Performance in 1961 and in other years too.

    Then there is that great body, especially the nose with the covered headlights and the engine bay vent behind the front wheels. I really like the look of these, and the rarity, but as much as I like them, I’m not sure I like this one $27K-worth.

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  4. jean Lecointe

    I do agree with Dolphin about the performances of the DB in Le Mans. The 850cc flat twin Panhard engine was in 1967 the first production engine with more than 100hp per litre.
    That engine was fitted with exclusive technical features such as cranckshaft on roller bearings (Panhard patent), valves springs replaced by torsion bars., The gear box turned at higher speed that the engine allowing a very small casing and reduction of wheigt.
    The engine is located ahead of the front wheels and that leaded to a fascinating road holding.
    I did own a 24BT Panhard and it was one of my best memory of motoring. The DB is very rare even in France, 27K is rather expensive but the car does look good. The aif filter is missing; As the body is made of glassfiber, at least there will not be rust problems.

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  5. paul

    Cool looking car , reminds a little from the back of a TVR.

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  6. Chris A.

    The DB HBR5 is my “I should of bought it” car. One of this body style was available for $750 outside of Rochester NY. It had been raced at Watkins and showed it, but it was all there. Needed electrics and a transmission rebuild. I didn’t buy it because there was no manual, it was French, weird shift pattern, no heater and who knows where you would have sourced parts. But it was just a neat looking car. One of the odd features was something called a Dynamotor which was a combination stater/generator. In 2008 a modified HBR5 set the J/GT Bonneville record at just over 94 mph. The Panhard was destroked to 747cc but made over 75 horse at 10K RPM. I still want one, but not this one.

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  7. scottski

    Vintage racing fascinates me… starting back in the eighties.
    Summit Point Raceway (WV) hosted two events, yearly: SVRA Fall (Sportscar Vintace Racing Association) and Brian Redmond’s (F1 and Prototype master) Jefferson 500.
    That’s when I saw my first Deutch-Bonnet.
    Or, heard it, first.
    They have the most hilarious exhaust note on the gearchange into top gear.
    Not the prettiest girl in the room… but you have to respect those Index Of Performance awards.
    24 hours of Le Mans, 12 hours at Sebring, the Mille Miglia: with a two-cylinder.
    Not too shabby.

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  8. AW240Z

    This one was under intense discussion over at “Bring A Toothbrush”, including some references to the seller, which may be a good reason to pass. Just saying, AW

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    • Dolphin Member

      I’ve found that a lot of the discussion over at ‘toothbrush’ is just a tad too intense. That’s why I spend my time here and not there.

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