Obscure French fancies on Tour
This year’s Tour Auto placed a special emphasis on defunct French garagiste marques among the familiar 911s and GT40S.
Making its Tour Auto debut, this unique Dhoest-bodied low-drag DB HBR was originally piloted by Georges Trouis and Louis Hedy to 20th overall and 14th in the index of performance at the fateful 1955 Le Mans 24 Hours race.
It was sold the following year and until the early Nineties was kept in the south of France, used sparingly in local events. ‘I have no idea why someone would take a car with such history and drill holes in the body to fit a makeshift roof,’ said current owner Michel Blanchard. ‘Mechanically, it was looked after very well but it was up to me to take the roof off and repair the holes in the bodywork so it looks just like it did 62 years ago.
‘The long-distance route of the Tour Auto is much harder than the Le Mans Classic,’ Blanchard continued. ‘We were unsure if the 750cc twin-cylinder engine would cope with frosty morning starts and steep mountain passes so a spare was kept in the service van. But it performed faultlessly – until a distracted civilian crashed into us.’
‘It’s been 30 years since seeing the last of my cars leaving the factory and my son buying me one as a gift,’ said Francois Benais, car designer and the ‘B’ in BSH. ‘But the urge to race again led me to buy this 1971 example and restore it.’
Bearing a strong resemblance to the Lola T70, Benais and Max Saint-hilaire’s kits used Renault 8 drivetrains and running gear, aimed at those who couldn’t afford a full production sports car. With a reputation for excellent handling, 50 DSHS were sold between 1969 and 1971 and were mainly driven at hillclimbs and rallies.
‘The highlights for me were the narrow tarmac tracks and mountain passes in the Pyrenees, where the handling of the 600kg car comes into its own.’
Porsche 911 RS
Racing for the first time in 39 years, this unliveried Porsche is actually one of the most successful of the 54 1974 Carrera RS 3.0s made. It won ten of the 30 races it entered in the German ADAC championship from 1976 to 1978, with nine secondplaces and six thirds before passing into private ownership. Current owner Carlos Beltran Andreu shared the driving with Derek Bell.