My Car Quest

November 11, 2019

Georges Paulin – Dentist, Inventor and Oh, Yes A Resistance Spy

by Wallace Wyss –

Georges Paulin

If you are a classic car fan, especially prewar European cars, you no doubt have taken note of the streamline moderne cars designed by one Georges Paulin, who was actually a dentist before the war. But he dabbled in car design and one of his designs competed in no less than three 24 Heures du Mans.

British car aficionados know him as the designer of the Embiricos Bentley, a groundbreaking car that was done for a wealthy Greek buyer but which paved the way for the Bentley Continental. It was stored during the war, entered in LeMans in ’49 and still did well, a great showing for a road car.

Embiricos Bentley

Embiricos Bentley

He also designed the Corniche 1 in 1939 and the Comet Competition. According to the Rolls Royce Foundation, before the war he designed,

“a four-door saloon with streamlined styling by Paulin, very much along the lines of the “Embiricos” 4-1/4 streamlined coupe. One experimental car, 14-B-V, was finished and tested in France in 1939. Unfortunately it was wrecked during testing, and the chassis was sent back to Derby. While the body was rebuilt in

'39 Rolls Royce Corniche prototype designed by Paulin

’39 Rolls Royce Corniche prototype designed by Paulin

France, it was apparently blown to bits by the Luftwaffe when they bombed Dieppe. Four production bodies were to have been built by Vanvooren, but worked ceased on them in September 1939 and they too were destroyed during the war. A kit of bits for a body was stored at Park Ward, but it too was destroyed by bombing. That ended the Corniche project, but the overall concept was resurrected by Bentley in 1951 as the Bentley Continental coupe.”

I say Paulin ”dabbled” in car design because he didn’t do it full time. Yet his name is associated with famous French coachbuilders. According to Car Throttle.com “He was the designer for French coachbuilder Marcel Pourtout between 1934 and 1938 and among his creations we can find a Panhard coupe, a Unic cabriolet, a Delage D8, and the “teardrop” Talbot-Lago.” His design for a “teardrop” Talbot Lago coupe was so good it was thought to inspire Bugatti.

1935_Talbot_Lago_T150C_SS_Teardrop_by_Figoni_et_Falaschi_800w

1935 Talbot Lago Teardrop by Figoni et Falaschi – Paulin’s designs were every bit as good a a Bugatti – Oil painting by Wallace Wyss

He was also a prolific inventor. You have only to look at the retractable hardtop to appreciate his genius that he had a car with his design for that top shown at the 1934 Paris Auto Show. Alas, my hope that his relatives received royalties on the patent (for retractable hardtops are all over the market today) were dashed by his complaints at the time that Peugeot gave him a less than favorable per-unit sold contract.

Paulin felt that Peugeot didn't pay him sufficient royalties for his hardtop

Paulin felt that Peugeot didn’t pay him sufficient royalties for his hardtop

Coming to the auto industry as an outsider, he frequently lost in lawsuits when big companies copied his designs. That’s why he kept on working as a dentist.

At the San Marino concours in June 2019 I was admiring a Peugeot he designed, called the Darl’Mat Roadster. Turns out Monsieur Emile Darl’Mat was a car dealer who liked offering something special. So Paulin designed a whole series of Darl’Mat Peugeots which were built in ’37-’38, 104 made in all, in roadster, convertible and coupe configurations.

Peugeot Darl’Mat Roadster

Peugeot Darl’Mat Roadster

Peugeot Darl’Mat Roadster

Peugeot Darl’Mat Roadster

Peugeot Darl’Mat Roadster

Peugeot Darl’Mat Roadster

Now comes the sad part. Because he knew people at Rolls, and Rolls was building aircraft engines (like the Merlin) his name came to British intelligence as a possible supplier of info on what was going on in occupied France. He was contacted.

Since he was an amateur engineer, he volunteered to make drawings of German fortifications in France. Fellow resistance fighters would come to him as dental patients and he’d slip them the drawings. But he was ratted out by a fellow employee and shot by the Nazis in ’42, a great talent in the automotive world silenced forever on March 21, 1942.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

Wallace Wyss

 
 
 
 
 
 
THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is a portrait painter in oils of classic prewar and postwar cars. Galleries interested in trying out automotive art can contact him at mendoart7@gmail.com

 
 
 
 

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Peugeot Darl’Mat Roadster

Peugeot Darl’Mat Roadster

Peugeot Brochure

This might have been a brochure for Paulin’s hardtop

Summary
Georges Paulin - Dentist, Inventor and Oh, Yes A Resistance Spy
Article Name
Georges Paulin - Dentist, Inventor and Oh, Yes A Resistance Spy
Description
Georges Paulin, who was a dentist before the war, dabbled in car design and one of his designs competed in no less than three 24 Heures du Mans. He also was part of the French Resistance.
Author

Comments

  1. imwithstoopid says

    Interesting history to say the least, sad ending though. Would have been interesting to see if he would have made it in the post war period,
    A talented fellow. Do hope his traitor got his just deserts.

  2. Great post. Interesting to learn the other cars he designed beyond the famous Embiricos Bentley.

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