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The son of a wealthy merchant from Lyon, Eugène Chaboud took up motor racing after a chance meeting with Jean Trémoulet in Paris. The Frenchmen (who happened to share the same birthday) became firm friends and they bought a Delahaye 135S sports car together in 1936.
Victory at Le Mans
As well as competing in minor races and hillclimbs they entered the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1937 and 1938. Trémoulet crashed in the infamous Maison Blanche pile-up of 1937 but they did finish sixth in the French Grand Prix that year, the race run as a sports car event.
The 1938 Le Mans 24 Hours was an altogether more successful experience although they trailed the leading Alfa Romeo by 12 laps at one stage. However, the Raymond Sommer/Clemente Biondetti car retired and the Chaboud/Trémoulet Delahaye completed an unexpected victory. Chaboud survived hitting a tree during the Spa 24 Hours to drive the patriotic but hopeless SEFAC in the 1938 French GP.
World War II and subsequent racing career
However, Europe was soon engulfed by war once more. Trémoulet was killed in 1944 but Chaboud returned to racing as soon as was possible. His elderly Delahaye was in the field for the very first post-war event in Paris’s Bois de Boulogne on September 9 1945. He finished third in the Coupe des Prisonniers albeit three laps behind Jean-Pierre Wimille.
Winner at Brussels in 1946 (a minor sports car race that adopted the title of Belgian GP that year), Chaboud crashed at Nantes. That was while trying to avoid the lifeless body of René Mazaud that had been thrown out of his somersaulting Maserati.
He joined Ecurie France for 1947 and was named Champion of France after his Lago-Talbot T26C won at Perpignan and Marseille. In dispute with the team, he formed Ecurie Leutitia in 1948 with Charles Pozzi. Their Delahaye 135S led the early stages of the 1949 Le Mans 24 Hours before being eliminated by fire.
Chaboud made a couple of appearances in the new Formula 1 World Championship during 1950 – sharing Philippe Etancelin’s fifth placed Lago-Talbot T26C-DA in the French GP. However, he crashed at Le Mans in 1952 and was trapped under the Lago-Talbot long enough to decide it was time to retire. He then ran the used car business he had established in 1949.