“Raph”, as he was nicknamed, was the son of a wealthy silk-maker of the Lyon region and an Argentine mother. He soon turned out to be an excellent and captivating driver racing Alfa Romeos, a Maserati and then Talbot and Delahaye sports cars. In 1937he suffered a bad crash during the 24 Hours of Le Mans, remaining paralyzed in the legs for six months. After a brief stint at American Midget racing in California, where he won an indoor race in a Los Angeles stadium in 1946, he came back to European after WW2 and won Grand Prix de Nantes at the wheel of an old Ecurie Naphtra Course Maserati.
Another bad crash with his newly acquired Talbot-Lago 26C in 1948 at the Albi circuit left him with a fractured skull, suffering for a long time from amnesia. In 1949 he raced occasionally a Delahaye and a Gordini. He sold his repaired Talbot in Brazil during his last South American racing trip early in 1950 and quit. Plagued by financial problems, he became the chauffeur to his lifelong friend, the famous French actor and “chansonnier” Maurice Chevalier. After the latter’s death, he worked for an agency renting high-class cars on the French Riviera, and retired in 1984. George Raphaël Béthenod de Montbressieux died in old age almost completely forgotten.
Born: 8th of February 1910 in Buenos Aires, Argentina;
Died: 16th of June 1994 in Neuilly-sur-Marne, France, aged 84.