30/4/1912 - 14/3/1946
Record updated 30-Apr-20
An accomplished sportsman and gentleman driver, Robert Eonnet raced a Bugatti Type 51 until his father found out and banned him from further competition. He even set a world record for deep-sea free diving at a depth of eighteen meters without even meaning to!
Robert Eonnet was born in Paris on April 30, 1912. He was the son of Alice Dervaux and Maurice Eonnet, a stockbroker at the Paris Stock Exchange.
Robert worked for his father until the outbreak of the war when he was mobilised into the French Air Force in Vannes.
An accomplished sportsman, he was an excellent golf and tennis player. He was a member of the French ski team with Emile Allais and an amateur bobsledder. In 1941 he held a world record for deep-sea diving at a depth of eighteen meters.
A passionate gentleman driver, he owned several Bugattis, including a Type 51 bought in 1934 with which he participated in the first Vichy Grand Prix on July 15, 1934. He finished eighth in the second heat and was not qualified for the final. One week later, on July 22, he placed eighth in the first heat of the sixth Dieppe Grand Prix with the same Bugatti T51, but couldn’t participate in the final.
His father had bought him that car on the condition that he would never race it. But the secret was out when Robert’s father heard on the radio about his son’s victory at the Hill Course race in Saint Lô.
According to his family, Robert’s return home was very stormy! In 1936 he was seen accompanying Norbert Mahé driving a Talbot in a Morocco rally.
In February 1937, he became the owner of an Atalante 57S Coupe, registration 2432 RK 8. He kept the car for about a year before ordering a four-litre Bentley, chassis number B80KT, bodies by Vanvooren in Courbevoie. Eonnet was only 24 years old, but was already the privileged user of rare automobiles.
Robert Eonnet left for North Africa during the war. He died in Casablanca on March 14, 1946, just before his thirty-fourth birthday.
With thanks to Pierre-Yves Laugier