André Dubonnet

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameAndré•Dubonnet
Used nameAndré•Dubonnet
Born28 June 1897 in Paris IVe, Paris (FRA)
Died23 January 1980 in Maule, Yvelines (FRA)
NOC France

Biography

André Dubonnet was the grand-son and heir of Joseph Dubonnet, founder of the famous Dubonnet aperitif brand. As a volunteer in World War I, André joined the first ballooning group in May 1916 and in the following years the first aviation group. After attending aviation schools, he became a pilot in the French squadron of Venezia, Italy and subsequently was with the famous N3/SPA3 squadron. After six aerial victories, he was awarded the Military Medal and the Croix de Guerre.

After the war, Dubonnet became an accomplished race driver. From 1921 until 1928 he competed successfully in Hispano-Suiza and Bugatti cars. After winning the 1928 Grand Prix of Le Mans he retired from competition. In the same year, he was selected to participate with a bobsleigh team at the 1928 St. Moritz Winter Olympics.

Dubonnet held several patents. His four-wheel independent suspension system was licensed to General Motors, but the project was later abandoned due to a lack of reliability. In 1935 he developed its super aerodynamic project Dolphin. The fish-shaped car achieved a speed record with low fuel consumption. The prototype was acquired by the Ford Motor Company for a research program but was eventually not pursued. Finally, in 1938, Dubonnet presented the Xenia, a coach with futuristic lines, which is still considered a masterpiece of automotive art of the time.

In World War II Dubonnet joined the French Armée de l’Air again, first as a trainer for pilots and since June 1940 with the GC I/2 fighting unit. After the war, he resided in Neuilly-sur-Seine and received many famous visitors in his villa in Antibes. In 1960, the company Dubonnet was sold to the Italian Cinzano group. Dubonnet was also a member of the Board of the automobile manufacturer Simca and was engaged in research on solar energy. He was made a Knight of the Legion of Honour in 1936. Dubonnet was married four times.

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1928 Winter Olympics Bobsleigh (Bobsleigh) FRA André Dubonnet
Four/Five, Men (Olympic) France 2 15