True-blue Le Mans survivor still impresses

The 1926 winner is the only genuine survivor of the Le Mans cars. After the race Robert Bloch acquired it and cut off the tail, which he replaced with a platform to carry luggage and two spare wheels. The car passed through a number of different hands before Serge Broussard discovered it in 1972, bought it and restored it. Madame Jeanne Leroux, whose father worked for Lorraine, acquired the car in 1995 and her son Philippe and his wife Christine appear with it at historic events.

It is a long-legged car, still with a very robust performance, and the six-cylinder engine is remarkably smooth. Although the 'crash' gearbox needs the usual careful timing and the occasional crunch is almost unavoidable, it is quite light and positive. By vintage standards the steering is light, and the very large, servo-assisted brakes are firm and powerful.

This Lorraine-Dietrich is an exceptionally handsome and potent car. It is enough to make Bentley owners turn a deeper shade of British Racing Green.