A post war, modern, economy car and peer with the Volkswagen Beetle, Fiat 500, and Morris Mini the Dauphine is not remembered as fondly as other cars of the era. When is the last time you passed one on the road? Have you seen one on the corner lot for sale lately? The rear engined, rear wheel drive car is not an unattractive design and more sleek and rounded like the Beetle and less square than the Mini but with four doors unavailable on the other two. Truthfully this would be a fun driving experience to compare with other cars of the era but after reading Road & Tracks review that the Dauphine took 32 seconds to make it to 60 I don't know if I possess the patience. Called "The most ineffective bit of French engineering since the Maginot Line" by Dan Neil inspires no confidence. Yet, for me, the Dauphine still remains an object of desire. Must be the Frenchness.
With 36 hp at 4,000 rpm the car is more suited to shorter European travel than the wide open interstates that now dominate. We know wide open spaces prefer horsepower and economy cars with smaller engines lost out to larger displacement engines until the oil crisis. The engine bay looks intact and sparse with the 845 cc inline four in place and could use cleaning.
The interior needs work, but looks original and a good starting point. With the front tire held below the trunk the Dauphine even looks a little Pixar like. The car is either sticking out its tongue or eating an Oreo cookie.
Maybe one day soon there will be a Gallic return to our shores. See a better way to smoke a Gauloises or two while accelerating to 60? Let us know your experience with a Dauphine in the comments below.