Peugeot 402 Roadster

Some of the nicest Peugeots of the prewar period are the 302 and 402 models of the late 1930s. They are extremely well engineered and present a wonderful blend of handling and comfort of which only the French seem capable. The jewels in Peugeot’s crown are indisputably the Darl’Mat roadsters of 1936-38.

Emile Darl’Mat was a Parisian Peugeot dealer with a flair for adventure. He proposed a light sporting model of the 302, one easily serviced by Peugeot dealers. Putting the two-liter engine of the 402 into the lighter 302 chassis, he clothed it in streamlined bodywork designed by Georges Paulin.

Paulin, whose profession was dentistry but whose passion was automobiles, had developed and patented a retractable metal roof mechanism. The first such fully-retractable, automatic system, Paulin collaborated with coachbuilder Marcel Pourtout to build it on a Peugeot chassis. Initially Peugeot considered it too complicated, so Paulin and Pourtout purchased some bare chassis and constructed the cars, christened “Eclipse,” on their own. It was sufficiently popular that Peugeot acquired the patents in 1935.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2010 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.

70 bhp, 1,991 cc overhead valve four-cylinder engine, three-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with transverse semi-elliptic leaf spring, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 89.8".

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Simon Clay

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