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Thread: Rene Bonnet/Matra - D'Jet/Jet

  1. #1
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    Rene Bonnet/Matra - D'Jet/Jet

    This little glassfibre bodied car was one of the first roadgoing midengined sportscars. It was the product of Rene Bonnet, who until the beginning of the 60'ies had been joined up with Charles Deutz in the Panhard company. (The "B" in "DB" cars stands for Bonnet)
    Matra, who at that time had started a profitable business in plastics and glassfibres, delivered the glassfibre-body to Bonnet, who however was far better at building cars than doing business, which sadly ruined his company early on in the sixties - at which time he owed a good deal of money to Matra; who reacted by taking over the company, thereby saving one of France's pearls - the newly developed D'Jet.
    When Matra took over in 1963, only 150 D'Jets had been built. Matra embarked on a project to make the Djet suitable for larger scale production, whereby it changed its name slightly from D'Jet to just "Jet". (The apostrophed D' was used to ensure that also the French speaking world would pronounce it like the newly developed aeroplane propulsion system)

    The D'Jet was initially powered by a Gordini-tuned 1108 ccm Renault engine mounted just ahead of the rear wheels. This gave the small,light and very aerodynamic (Cv ~ 0.25) car a top speed of 165 km/h. (D'Jet II with its slightly higher tuned engine did 190 km/h)

    The car was produced until 1968 (called "D'Jet 5" "D'Jet 5S" and eventually Matra "Jet6" ) , where Matra replaced it with the M530.

    A total number of 1681 cars were built - making it a very rare (but pleasant) sight nowadays.

    Story found on
    http://www.matrasport.dk/Cars/DJet/Gallery1/index.html

    and courtesy of Matra et Alpine

    Shown are some examples, one at the Christies auction during Interclassics earlier this year and two of them participating in the 2005 Tour Auto
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    Last edited by henk4; 10-30-2005 at 10:38 AM.
    "I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting, but it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously." Douglas Adams

  2. #2
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    The first cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, had one of Jets. Yuri saw it when visiting Renault factory in Fleune (sorry if wrote the city name wrong - it was written on russian) backk in 1965. That time Renault was preparing a big contract with Moskvitch (AZLK), so they just presented Yuri one Matra Jet 5 in 1965. But, you know, the communism and such things... Then the USSR government agreed "to be more carefull with cosmonaut presents from capitalistic countries" (lol), so Yuri seldom drove this car. And in the beginning of 1990s it was sold by his family to Kaunas.
    Meanwhile, that article also read that the Jet5 was produced just in 1964-1965 and only 1500 cars were built. But maybe it's the info just about first generation Jets, without Jet II. Correct me, if I'm wrong.
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  3. #3
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    Very interesting, thanks faksta.
    If you have any more info on Gagarin's ownership, the car and especially where and in what conditino it is now I'd greatly appreciate it.
    CHeers
    "A woman without curves is like a road without bends, you might get to your destination quicker but the ride is boring as hell'

  4. #4
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    Oh, yes, of course. Now I'm looking at another article which states that it was the 5S model... If someone could tell us looking at the above photo what type is this - Jet 5 or Jet 5S, it could be very useful=)

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    Yes, that's it. Some more info and photos.
    The excerpts from russian magazine 'Oldtimer'. As stated here, it was really the Jet 5S model, sky-blue colored. Yuri drove it just a couple times through Moscow streets. In early 1990s Lithuanian collector Kjastutis Indzjulis (this name can be also writtes with mistakes - sorry if what) saw the article in some russian newspaper. The article read that one of Moscow auto clubs was searching for a sport car previously belonged to Gagarin. So Kjastutis arrived to Moscow and went to Gagarin's wife, Valentina. But it was rather hard to buy this car from Yuri's wife, because she was afraid the car could become a property of imprudent owner, and who knows what could happen? But Kjastutis didn't sell the car, moreover, he fully restored it. By the way, the car could be stolen for 5 times, but, thank God, it didn't happen=)

    These are some pics - photo from the 'Oldtimer' and the color picture of the car already belonging to Kjastutis.

    Matra_et_Alpine, hope there will be some interesting info for you.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by faksta View Post
    Oh, yes, of course. Now I'm looking at another article which states that it was the 5S model... If someone could tell us looking at the above photo what type is this - Jet 5 or Jet 5S, it could be very useful=)
    Not sure if you can tell from the outside. THe main difference being the Gordini prepped engine. But, I'll ask friends in the Matra club who have D'jets
    For some info see http://www.club-djet.com/histoire/1964.html and associated pages.Production numbers of each type at http://www.club-djet.com/prod.htm
    "A woman without curves is like a road without bends, you might get to your destination quicker but the ride is boring as hell'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matra et Alpine View Post
    Not sure if you can tell from the outside. THe main difference being the Gordini prepped engine. But, I'll ask friends in the Matra club who have D'jets
    For some info see http://www.club-djet.com/histoire/1964.html and associated pages.Production numbers of each type at http://www.club-djet.com/prod.htm
    Yes, I know that the difference is in engine, but, you know... "this one have more yellow headlamps than that and they are 5mm wider" - you know sort of things

  8. #8
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    I attended a Djet meeting in France this summer. Here are some pictures.
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    René Bonnet Djet
    Simca 1200 S Coupé

  9. #9
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    is yours the red one with the Abarth mirrors? What about the rear end? Does it look shorter than normal or not?
    "I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting, but it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously." Douglas Adams

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    is yours the red one with the Abarth mirrors? What about the rear end? Does it look shorter than normal or not?
    Unfortunately I didn´t have my car there (it´s not ready for the road yet).

    The shorter rear end is the original look when it still was René Bonnet. On René Bonnets the hatch also opens backwards to give better accessability to the engine.

    And some more pictures from the meeting.
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    René Bonnet Djet
    Simca 1200 S Coupé

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartB View Post

    The shorter rear end is the original look when it still was René Bonnet. On René Bonnets the hatch also opens backwards to give better accessability to the engine.
    I checked my (more recent) pictures and now I notice the difference, the RB bonnet extends into the rear panel, while the Matra stops well before the end of the body...Thanks for this, always nice to learn new features.

    Edit: Here is a Rene Bonnet at the 2005 Tour Auto on the Charade track, near Clermont Ferrand
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    Last edited by henk4; 11-17-2008 at 02:32 PM.
    "I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting, but it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously." Douglas Adams

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartB View Post
    Unfortunately I didn´t have my car there (it´s not ready for the road yet).
    I am sure that once you're on the road, every single Swede will say something along the lines of "what a nice Saab Sonnet".

    Lovely car, give us a shot once it's done, tack i förskott

    -Hĺkan

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr.choppers View Post
    I am sure that once you're on the road, every single Swede will say something along the lines of "what a nice Saab Sonnet".

    Lovely car, give us a shot once it's done, tack i förskott

    -Hĺkan
    I quess you´re right about that. I still haven´t met any Swede who recognizes what car it is when I tell them its name.

    Thanks. I will post some pictures, hopefully in a time that´s not too distant.
    René Bonnet Djet
    Simca 1200 S Coupé

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    Quote Originally Posted by faksta View Post
    Meanwhile, that article also read that the Jet5 was produced just in 1964-1965 and only 1500 cars were built. But maybe it's the info just about first generation Jets, without Jet II. Correct me, if I'm wrong.
    Slightly incorrect. The Bonnet Djet was produced in four versions between 1962 and 1964: Djet 1 was a standard chassis and standard engine. Djet 2 was a standard chassis and modified engine. Djets 3 and 4 were tubular space-frame chassis competition cars and altogether 198 Bonnet Djets were supposed to have been built.

    Then Matra took over, modified the car for easier production and reliability as a road car, and it was available as a Djet 5, Djet 5S and eventually the Jet 6. There were 1493 of these in total, from 1964 to 1968 giving a total of all models as 1691.

    You cannot see the difference between a standard 5 and 5S from the outside as the difference was only the modified engine.

    Roy

  15. #15
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    I just saw something in a Swedish car magazine today that I must share.

    In 1968 SHRA (Swedish Hot Rod Association) was formed and the first drag racing competition in Sweden was held. I must admit that this is not my favourite type of motor sport, but when looking at the article I saw something that immediately caught my interest.
    - Someone was actually competing in drag racing with a Matra Jet 6.
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    René Bonnet Djet
    Simca 1200 S Coupé

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