1964 René Bonnet Djet CRB1

Photos provided by the vendor


  • Recent extensive restoration 
  • Specification paying tribute to the 1962 René Bonnet Le Mans runner 
  • Brilliant sports car to drive 

The Appeal 

From the end of one boutique French manufacturer emerged another in the early 1960’s. René Bonnet Automobiles launched in 1962 with grand plans of finally taking on the greatest motor races of the world including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

With that goal in mind, the company brought out its most recognisable model, the Djet, a car often thought of as a Matra due to the two brands’ collaboration later on in its life. Taking on the great race in its first year, the brand completed the round-the-clock event in 17th place baring number 46 on its door. 

This particular car, first sold in 1964, was recently restored to pay tribute to this story with a fresh coat of paint and full off-body repair. Presenting in stunning condition having been evidently well kept since its overhaul, the car is also reportedly a dream to drive. 
In a full 6-page review article on the car, Auto Rétro magazine detailed the model’s raw feeling behind the wheel and excellent agility through the corners. With a Renault 5 Alpine engine sitting behind the driver, this is one experience that will put a smile on any French automotive enthusiast.

History and Paperwork 

  • First registered in 1964 
  • Owned by a collector for many years 
  • Full restoration undertaken between 2018 and 2021 
  • Purchased by the current owner in 2021 
  • Reportedly always garaged under a cover 
  • Car featured in the April 2022 edition of Auto Retro magazine 
  • Classic car registration 
  • Images of the restoration process 
  • Repair manual with the car 
  • Government technical inspection valid until 2026 

The Interior 

  • Stunning interior condition 
  • Very focused interior specification 
  • Driving this will feel special 

As one will note from looking through the pictures of this car’s interior, it is in excellent visual condition. Indeed, the imitation leather seats present very well, as does the rubber floor. This is in fact due to the restoration this car went through a few years ago. The entire interior is newly upholstered and presents magnificently. 

The cabin adopts a race car feel thanks to all the exposed aluminium, proving this is well and truly a lightweight driver’s car. Furthermore, the harnesses and roll cage push the point further. Meanwhile, a pedal box optimised for heel-toe as the vendor describes it is sure to make anyone feel like a driving god.  

In front of the driver is the timeless wood rimmed steering wheel and unique instrument cluster design. That, and the delicate gear knob make sure one feels special when in control. That being said, the car’s magazine article review does point out that longer journeys will be a challenge in such a raw and focused model. 

Much like the cabin, the boot features rubber flooring, which presents very nicely. Here, one will find a full-size spare wheel.

The Exterior

  • Tribute paint scheme looks fantastic 
  • Beautiful René Bonnet Djet design 
  • Great condition throughout 

Much like the interior, the exterior is in near-pristine condition. The full restoration undertaken between 2018 and 2021 led to many repairs being made to the chassis and a full respray in this classy blue shade.  

Indeed, the car was repainted to pay tribute to car number 46 in the 1962 Le Mans 24 Hours, a René Bonnet Djet much like this one. Indeed, the colour and roundel match the racer’s specification to a tee.  

Throughout the body, chrome work shines splendidly, especially towards the rear. Furthermore, all the light covers appear clear and the bodywork looks perfectly straight and in place. as one would expect from a recently restored car.  

Some light marks to the wheels are visible but they are easy to miss. In general, the alloys present very well. They are fitted with a full matching set of Falken tyres with good tread. As ever, having four identical tyres is a sign of the great care this car has received by its current owner. 

The Mechanics 

  • 1.4 inline-four engine from a Renault 5 Alpine
  • Great car to drive 
  • A few performance enhancements 

Sitting just behind the driver in this René Bonnet Djet is the 1.4-litre four-pot from a Renault 5 Alpine. Indeed, the original 1000cc motor was replaced at some point in its life making way for a more powerful unit. This has been fitted with several upgrades including a pair of Weber DCOE 40 carburettors and an additional fan to maintain temperatures. 

This mid-mounted engine is connected to a five-speed manual gearbox. As aforementioned, the vendor points out that the pedal box is perfectly tuned for heel-toe downshifts. As a result, driving this boutique racer is a thoroughly satisfying experience. 

Indeed, the Auto Rétro magazine reviewers appeared especially impressed with the car’s nimbleness thanks to an extreme approach to weight reduction. 


This René Bonnet Djet may pay tribute to the boutique manufacturer’s Le Mans heritage, but that does not mean it isn’t ready to push the limits of grip itself. Indeed, it is said to be a very fun and involving car to drive.  

Following a full restoration no more than three years ago, it presents in a fantastic condition both inside and out with very few signs of wear, tear or damage in any sense. Those enthusiastic for French machinery are sure to have a ball with this unique offering. 

Notice to bidders

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only. Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1964
  • Make René Bonnet
  • Model Rene Bonnet Djet CRB1
  • Colour Blue
  • Odometer 2,500 Kilometres
  • Engine size 1400
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Saint Genes du Retz
  • Country France
Bidding history
22 bids
  • thomas.•••• €41,000 24/09/23
  • shogo-w•••• €40,000 24/09/23
  • thomas.•••• €38,500 24/09/23
  • shogo-w•••• €37,500 24/09/23
  • thomas.•••• €36,000 24/09/23
  • shogo-w•••• €35,000 24/09/23
  • shogo-w•••• €32,500 24/09/23
  • shogo-w•••• €30,000 24/09/23
  • thomas.•••• €25,000 24/09/23
  • scott.e•••• €23,500 22/09/23

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