1952 Peugeot Darl’ Mat Sedan

In 1936, a Paris dentist, Dr. Paulin, with help from a Peugeot dealer, Emile Darl’Mat, conceived and built a sports car based on the Peugeot 302. Named the Peugeot 302 DS (for Darl’Mat Sport), it was offered in three body styles: coupe, cabriolet and roadster. In 1937, three or four lightweight alloy roadsters were produced and entered at Le Mans, where they surprisingly finished 7th, 8th and 10th overall.
About 104 “street” examples of the DS were produced, and fewer than 40 survive, with 8 to 10 in the US.
During WWII, the Gestapo killed Dr. Paulin, but Emile Darl’Mat survived and was eager to start building cars again. Peugeot was producing a spiffy 203, powered by a well-developed hemi-head. Unfortunately, the 203 was of monocoque construction, which eliminated the implementation of an all Darl’Mat body.
In its 203-model line-up, Peugeot offered three body styles: cabriolet, two-door coupe and four-door sedan. Darl’Mat also offered versions of all three of these, with visual modifications being new fenders, front grille, moldings and a rather stylized trunk cover.
Some cars were allocated to Darl’Mat directly from the factory, and carried Darl’Mat plate and numbers. A few bought their cars new from Peugeot, and brought them to Darl’Mat for their transformation (just as Alfa owners would bring Giulietta Sprints to Zagato to have them transformed into SVZs). The cars that were transformed by Darl’Mat carried a Peugeot plate and numbers. At the time, there was no difference between the two types; no one cared what was written on the small brass plate on the firewall. But today’s collectors, with their self-righteous noses high in the air, consider the Peugeot-plate cars the black sheep of the family. How silly we are sometimes.