1938 Peugeot 402 Darl’mat ‘Special Sport’: A Classic Masterpiece Rediscovered

The most desirable Peugeot is this 402 Darl’mat Roadster also known as the ‘Spécial Sport.’ It was envisioned by Emile Darl’mat who had close contact with the Peugeot factory. The project was intended to boost Peugeot’s image by offering a lightweight body, unique areodynamic styling and sporting engine. At the time, the Darl’mat’s roadster was unlike anything else on the road and was occasionally raced in period.



The car’s fabulous shape was drawn by Georges Paulin and fabricated from sheet aluminum by Marcel Pourtout. These two had collaborated on a number of aerodynamic cars including the a Peugeot 301 that debuted at the World’s Fair in Chicago and the Eclipse retracting roof system.



When the factory agreed to let Darl’mat create his own sports car, he chose Paulin and Pourtout to work on the design. Darl’mat also worked directly with Peugeot’s Director of Mechanical Studies, Alfred Geauque to create chassis and engine. This included a competition-tuned four-cylinder engine and Cotal gearboxes that were modified for the design.



Initially in 1936, Darl’mat’s car was built on the Pegeuot 302 sedan chassis with a two liter engine. By 1938 Peugeot had introduced a 402 Legere chassis which became the foundation for the later cars. These had a shortened and widened chassis but retained the same 2-litre engine.



In 1937, three specially-prepared 302 Roadsters raced the 24 Hours of Le Mans placing 7th, 8th and 10th overall. These had no doors and an improved engine with a new cylinder head, higher compression and twin carburetors. This helped them win the 2-liter class ahead of the Adlers.



This helped Peugeot sell around 100 cars in Coupe, Cabriolet and Roadster form. The production roughly breaks down to 53 roadsters, 20 coupes and 32 cabriolets.


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