Wednesday, June 30, 2010

René Dreyfus: From Grand Prix to Restaurateur

The French driver René Dreyfus won 36 races across Europe in the 1920s and 1930s in Ferraris, Maseratis and Bugattis. In 1940, he came to the U.S. to race a Maserati in the Indianapolis 500. As a Jew who had consistently humiliated Mercedes, he decided not to return to France. Instead, he became a U.S. citizen and opened Le Chanteclair, a New York restaurant that became a meeting spot for racers passing through New York.


  1. Dreyfus is one of my racing heroes. It was in the French Delahaye - pictured above - that he scored his most famous and emotional victory over the German Silver Arrows at Pau in 1938. As a Frenchman and as a Jew, one can only imagine the pleasure he must have derived from beating the Nazis in a French car, on French soil, despite the technical inferiority of the machine itself.

  2. His restaurant became a hangout for Phil Collins, Wolfgang von Trips, Stirling Moss and others when they passed through New York.