1963 RenÚ-Bonnet Aerodjet LM6250.000-350.000 EUR - Estimate

RenÚ Bonnet Aerodjet LM6

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Competition car
French title
Chassis n░7013 *

- J-G Roger collection
- Participated and completed the 1963 Le Mans 24 Hours
- Straightforward, continuous history (3 owners from new)
- Restored retaining all original elements
- N░41 in the1963 Le Mans 24 Hours

Reference Number 513045

as of 1/17/2018

Dealer
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Lot 101

Artcurial - RÚtromobile  Contact  Location
Salon RÚtromobile Hall 1  Phone  +33 1 42 99 20 56  City  Porte de Versailles
75015 Porte de Versailles  Fax  +33 1 42 99 16 39  State  Paris
France  Mobile    Country  France France
Overview
Car 1963 RenÚ-Bonnet Aerodjet LM6
VIN 7013 
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Known History

RenÚ Bonnet and Charles Deutsch, the creators of DB Automobiles, parted ways at the end of 1961. This separation led to the birth of two new marques that competed against each other at Le Mans

While Deutsch remained faithful to Panhard, Bonnet made an agreement with Renault to power the compact sporty coupÚs unveiled for the 24 Hour race at Le Mans in 1962. Designed by Jacques Hubert, this tiny car given the name Djet, was innovative for its mid-positioned Renault engine and magnesium wheels. The Djet had been designed purely to compete in the GT class. Hence, the lightweight chassis (18 kg) had a tubular aero frame embedded in a fibreglass coque, with a bonnet that opened up sideways for ease of use. Renault Gordini supplied the engines that were derived from the new five-bearing block in the Renault 8.

With a design based around the highly profiled windscreen of the Alfa Romeo SS, the Djet was an aesthetic triumph that appealed to individuals wanting a daily driver. This persuaded Bonnet and his son Claude to develop a more civilised version. They abandoned the tubular chassis in favour of a central beam and the 13-inch wheels gave way to the 15-inch R8 versions. However, Bonnet, a regular driver for France who was mad about racing continued to enter the tubular versions built by Chappe and fitted in his premises in Champigny, in the main international races, with mixed results due to the unreliability of the new Renault block.

Benefitting from experience gained at Le Mans in 1962, the 1963 version of the Djet was extensively modified. A 3 :10 model was tested in the wind tunnel at Breguet, and demonstrated that the car, with its truncated stern, wasn't aerodynamic enough. An elongated tail topped by a small spoiler was fitted and this brought a gain in Cx (about 0.21), and greater stability which produced a higher top speed (210 km/h in the 996 cc twin-cam 95 bhp Gordini engine). It was Claude Bonnet who came up with its rather charming name Aerodjet, in reference to the car's aerodynamic form.

 

Les 24 Heures du Mans 1963 - Victory in the Index of Energy

At the start of 1963, Bonnet, who had high hopes for his fledgling marque, signed a new, young driver by the name of Jean-Pierre Beltoise, who soon demonstrated that he was by far the quickest driver for the Capricorn team.

Keen to move on from the failure of 1962, when he was beaten in the Index of Energy (a complex calculation involving fuel consumption, weight and speed) by the CD Panhard of his old associate Charles Deutsch, the Bonnet team started out with four Aerodjets and the spyder which had been re-bodied that year with a roof. They were equipped with various sized Gordini engines but still suffered from having a four-speed Renault gearbox (Estafette case) while their new competitor Alpine was using a 5-speed Hewland box, from a track that was still on the narrow side, and from a tubular chassis that lacked rigidity.

During the 1963 Le Mans 24 Hours, the Bonnet team was decimated by a series of major accidents during the race. Two of the Aerodjets were destroyed, numbers 51 and 52. Only race number 53 (#7014), driven by Beltoise and Bobrowski remained in the running. The event had also started badly for this car, as during testing, its tiny 705cc twin-cam engine (55 RG), designed to win the Index, had broken. For the race, it was replaced with a 1108cc with twin carburettors producing about 85 bhp. This was very similar (54 RG) to that used in the future R8 Gordini that boasted a top speed of 200 km/h.

In the race, the team lost more than 20 minutes through an electrical fault and a minor off. However, due to the many retirements (37) in this 31st edition, as well as Beltoise's energetic and rather spectacular driving, which the officials tried to stop on the grounds of dangerous driving, the Aerojet no. 53 succeeded in crossing the finishing line of the 24 Hours race. It was classified in 11th place (out of 12), having covered 3628.9 km at an average speed of 151 km/h. Having used just 12.48 litres per 100, it won the Index of Energy, just ahead of the victorious Ferrari.

The Aerodjet presented here, chassis 7013, was race number 41, recorded on the ACO weight sheet as weighing 612 kg. During the race, RenÚ Bouharde and Bruno Basini drove this car, which was equipped with a 1108 cc pushrod engine. After problems with the regulator, the belt for the water pump broke which led to the cylinder head gasket blowing. It took a long time to repair and the car failed to cover the minimum distance to be classified. It did, however, cross the finish line.

At the end of the season, the car was sold directly by the team to an enthusiast from Paris, Mr Pierre Madet. He kept the car for fifteen years before selling it to Roger Bocquet, the Le Mans 24 Hours clerk of the course. He, in turn, sold the car to the present owner in December 1989. Photos taken at this time show that the car was still in original condition, painted orange, and still with the engine it had for Le Mans. It was sent to the company Provost du Mans to be restored. The Aerodjet was meticulously dismantled, and the tubular chassis stripped. The original and undamaged fibreglass nose it had at Le Mans, was stripped and repainted in the original colours. The 1108cc engine has been conserved and will be passed on to the new owner, and just the aluminium sump was refitted to the 1300cc Gordini engine that remains in the car today. The five original magnesium wheels will be given to the buyer, and the current wheels are replicas. The owner took part in Le Mans Classic as well as other rallies and events in 2008.

The Aerodjet, race number 41 in the 1963 Le Mans 24 Hour Race, on offer here, is undeniably the most original of the three surviving examples, having retained its 17kg tubular chassis, its individual interior which has been restored, and the original ultra-lightweight body. Since leaving RenÚ Bonnet's workshop, it has had just three owners. The highly aerodynamic design of the Aerodjet is a tribute to speed.

 

* The car is an unregistered competition car but comes with a French title indicating chassis n░ AER53623.