The young Comte de Montbressieux was a journeyman driver from the 1930s who tried to hide his identity behind the pseudonym “Georges Raph”. He was born in Buenos Aires and was the son of a French nobleman and Argentinean mother.
With a family fortune earned in the silk trade, “Raph” began racing cyclecars during his early-twenties. He progressed to Grand Prix machinery in 1935 when he competed in minor events with an ex-Achille Varzi Alfa Romeo Tipo-B “P3”. Second at St Gaudens was his best result of the season but he was so disappointed with a recently acquired Maserati V8RI that he sold it after just one race when disqualified from the 1936 George Vanderbilt Cup after just nine laps.
“Raph” had retired an MG Magnette K3 from the 1935 Le Mans 24 Hours and he returned in 1937 with Nico Embiricos’s Lago-Talbot T150C. He briefly led on the opening lap before being caught up in a tragic multiple-car accident on lap nine. René Kippeurt and Pat Fairfield lost their lives and “Raph” ploughed into the wreckage. He damaged his legs so badly that he could not walk for six months.
However, he recovered for the start of the following season and finished fifth in the 1939 German GP with an Ecurie Bleue Delahaye 145. He resumed racing in 1946 with a privately-entered Maserati 6CM and won the Prix des 24 Heures du Mans at Nantes – a race marred by the death of René Mazaud. He also returned to South America and won an early race at Interlagos.
Fifth in the 1948 French GP with a recently acquired Lago-Talbot T26C, he repeated that result in the first heat at Albi. He was disputing the lead in the second heat when he crashed and fractured his skull. Initial diagnosis seemed bleak but he recovered sufficiently to race a Delahaye 135S from the following spring. However, he was suffering from bouts of amnesia and “Raph” retired from racing at the end of 1949.
Sadly, his fortune had been significantly diminished and “Raph” later fell on hard times, working as a chauffeur for singer and long-time friend Maurice Chevalier for a time.