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Panhard Levassor

Let's start with Gottlieb Daimler, because with his invention began one of France's oldest manufacturer the production of motor vehicles. On the occasion of the World Exhibition in Paris, there were agreements with Madame Sarazin. She was the wife of Edouard Sarazin, who represents the Gasmotorenfabrik Deutz in France.

Daimler spent a part of his years of travel working in France, wrote and spoke fluent French. He had to do with Edouard Sarazin by his employment for many years in the gas engine factory and therefore initially negotiated with him self. But the had died suddenly.

For Daimler, not a reason to abandon the fulfillment of contracts and also not for Mrs. Sarazin. On the contrary, she found a new confidante in Emile Levassor, to which she passed not only the patents but also married two and a half years later. Since 1872, Levassor was partner in the firm founded in 1846 and then was called Panhard & Cie, and he provided for the establishment of an appropriate production.

Panhard Levassor was not the first company that produced motor vehicles in France. The proof supposed to bring this image above. It is a de Dion Bouton from 1887. Actually, Peugeot was the fastest because here was manufactured the very first French car according to Daimler license and sold by Panhard. The real production of cars starts at Panhard Levassor until 1891, however, very early as a series production.

Until the turn of the century Panhard Levassor remained faithful to the Daimler patents and noted accordingly that also on the products. One focused on the front engine just one year after the start of production and delivered a program of two- and four-seaters, optionally even with protection from direct sunlight, at prices 4,100 - 5,300 Franc. There were even boats with Daimler's two-cylinder for up to 15 persons, 11 meters long, 10 CV (HP) and 11,000 francs.

Besides boats trucks and buses were also produced.

The development of the automobile proceeded in France more rapidly than in Germany. Here were also still more races, however, also combined with tests of reliability. And the winner was often called Panhard Levassor, after the accidental death of Emil Levassor 1897, Panhard probably only as a limited company.

First (with Peugeot) at 1000 km Paris-Rouen 1894

One veered away from the Daimler patent from the turn of the century, developed his own two cylinder. But the success, one had up to 1900, could not keep. Only a bang got people talking again about the brand in 1909: It was the take over of the Knight principle where slits in movable cylinders replace the valve control. Although it is more oil smell in the air, but the volume of engine operation can be reduced significantly.

The continued extensive engine and vehicle range was slowly replaced by Knight engines, or abandoned because of the higher positioning of Panhard. One has established oneself as manufacturers of luxury vehicles until the beginning of World War II. In this category, there was initially the time of great displacements up to 20 liters, but the proved to be too heavy-weight in the race.

A brief turning away from the luxury segment, there was in 1919 shortly after the First World War. It was a poor time on the continent and therefore four-cylinder with 10 CV or something more were in demand. Nevertheless, the Knight principle was staunchly kept during the next 20 years. You will see a Panhard has always been something different.

Want to learn more? First, there is a famous invention still in use today: the so-called 'Panhard rod'. But who constructed in the period between the wars already four-cylinder with splash lubrication, deviated from the millionfold proven H-scheme in the circuit, constructed 340° brake shoes? Who did let run a single disc clutch in oil? It is even said that at Panhard was invented the often copied 'boat-tail', nota bene on vehicles.

Almost exclusively Knight-sleeve control from 1922 ...

Another turning away from the luxury segment resulted from the financial crisis 1930. One had become famous for Knight in-line eight-cylinder in the meantime, but also the four-cylinder were powerful with displacements up to about five liters. At times, Panhard had a variety of speed records.

Thereto were in line the Dynamic Models from 1936, the excellent fit to the for the first time at the automobil desired better aerodynamic. Almost every car company had such models in the program. Unfortunately, at Panhard the technology neglected, what the new shape promised. One remained conservative.

After the Second World War, the glorious era of luxury brands was gone in France. So Panhard pushed on the small car market, neglecting his clientele. This was based on an already existing two-cylinder boxer engine for a long time, which reminded a little of the 2CV engine. It was also air-cooled and was basically built-in as a front wheel drive at Panhard.

Actually the engine with 610, 750 and later 850 cc competed with the Renault 4CV. Sometime was reached even its body shape (Fig. 6). But somehow one wanted to escape the range of the small cars. This was finally done with a body made of aluminum. So one surpassed his rival, although yet two cylinders smaller.

No, it was not enough for a breakthrough, although one had meanwhile become the fifth largest automobile manufacturer in France for a while. In 1965 was taken over by Citroen, the production ended in 1967. 01/14