1956 Salmson 2300 Sport Coupe

In the aftermath of World War II, there was little demand in France for high-performance luxury cars of the type Salmson had been producing in the late 1930s, the result of punitive rates of taxation. Nevertheless, for the 1953 season, their talented technical staff produced an updated version of the 2.2-liter Randonnée: the 2300 Sport. Styled by Eugène Martin, the 2300 Sport was a pretty 2+2 coupe, 227 examples of which were made up to 1957 with bodies by Esclassan and Henri Chapron, the latter being responsible for the bulk of production.

The Randonnée’s 4-speed Cotal gearbox was retained, while other noteworthy features included torque tube transmission and rack-and-pinion steering. All Salmson cars were built in right-hand-drive configuration. With 105 horsepower on tap from its 2.3-liter twin-cam four, the 2300 Sport was a strong performer by the standards of the day, boasting a top speed of 112 mph.

With its class-leading specification, the 2300 Sport clearly had competition potential. Examples competed at Le Mans in 1955 and 1957 (in 1956, in standard trim complete with all luxuries, including a radio!), and the 1956 Mille Miglia. While little was achieved on the track, the 2300 Sport proved a much more effective rally car, winning on 13 occasions in 1954. However, like France’s other quality motor manufacturers, Salmson was struggling to survive. Renault bought the factory in 1957. A 2300 Sport was the last car off the production line.

The example offered here is one of fewer than 80 2300 Sports believed to survive worldwide. These cars very rarely come onto the market, particularly in such outstandingly roadworthy condition.

This car was restored in the early 1990s when work undertaken included a “bare metal” body restoration, with rusty panels cut out, repaired, made good with lead loading and then finished in a deep Rosso paint. A testament to the quality of these repairs and paintwork is that, after 20 years, it still presents in superb condition. At the same time the interior was retrimmed, the engine rebuilt and gas-flowed — plus all brightwork replated.

An estimated 12,000 miles have been covered since the restoration was completed. Currently taxed and MoT’d, this rare French GT comes with Swansea V5 document, the original production sheet, facsimile handbook, miscellaneous parts and service items, and a comprehensive history file containing restoration invoices and photographs, ownership history, list of events/rallies attended since 1992, and a copy of a Classic Cars article.