Where else would a Jet be more comfortable than up there, way up in the air? So René Bonnet created, based on his Djet, the AeroDjet. And took it to Le Mans in 1963.
I’ve told about the road cars, both in the initial Bonnet and the superseding Matra form, before. Same ingredients: steel chassis, Renault engine and a fiberglass body. The AéroDjet however, has a slightly different body. And that engine wasn’t a simple Renault 8 Major 1108cc engine the initial Djet came with: René Bonnet had the engine tuned by none other than Le Sorcier. Amédée Gordini.
It’s easy to see what René did to the body of the Aérodjet: it simply came with special more aerodynamic long-tailed bodywork and bigger fenders to accommodate wider wheels. The picture above shows differences between the road and the rally (179, Henri Pescarolo!!!) as well: the rally car is a Djet V, the 5th iteration of the, by then Matra, Djet. And that one got a somewhat lengthier body as well.
René took 5 cars to Le Mans in 1963, 4 of ‘m AéroDjets. One of those, the #39 driven by Jean-Pierre Manzon, was involved in the accident I mentioned last Sunday: it was one of the cars blocking the road for Christian “Bino” Heins.
This #41 however would keep running for 24 hours. But yet wouldn’t finish as there’s some rule you’ll have to cover at least 70% of the distance the winner had traveled. And 211 lap simply wasn’t enough compared to the winning Ferrari P250. The #53, driven by Jean-Pierre Beltoise and Claude Bobrowski, would actually finish 11th.
This #41 however was driven by none others than Bruno Basini and Robert Bouharde. Who? No idea actually, other than “they were French” I know nothing on those two. A year later the body would get more aerodynamic aids covering the rear wheels for instance, one of those cars is in the Le Mans 24hrs Museum.
The model itself is a Bizarre in scale 1/43. It was a car I was able to get from Diecast Select’s clearance sale. I was just in time, in the nick of time, to get it as I know one of you wanted it badly as well (sorry TFritch). Diecast Select wouldn’t ship to Europe but luckily my Springfield Distribution Centre could handle shipping. Thanks Philipilihp!
DUIZEND MAAL DANK!
I’ve shown a Bizarre before by the way and dear lord how I love these. Details are excellent and their lineup of cars is really my cup of tea. THERE WILL BE MORE! If these just would be somewhat cheaper...
And that’s it for today. These ‘60's cars do make me a little sad as the current generation of Le Mans cars doesn’t really have “simple & cheap” solutions like these little slightly adjusted road legal 4-bangers anymore. Then again it’s still the best race of the year and it’s only one more week of humbug before it all starts again.