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|Founder(s)||René Panhard, Emile Levassor|
Panhard is a French manufacturer of light tactical and military vehicles. Its current incarnation was formed by the acquisition of Panhard by Auverland in 2005. Panhard had been under Citroën ownership, then PSA (after the 1974 Peugeot Citroën merger), for 40 years. The combined company now uses the Panhard name; this was decided based on studies indicating that the Panhard name had better brand recognition worldwide than the Auverland name. Panhard once built civilian cars but ceased production of those in 1968. Many of its military products however end up on the civilian market via third sources and as military/government surplus vehicles. Panhard also built railbuses between the wars.
Panhard et Levassor sold their first automobile in 1890. based on a Daimler engine license. Levassor obtained his licence from Paris lawyer Edouard Sarazin, a friend and representative of Gottlieb Daimler's interests in France. Following Sarazin's 1887 death, Daimler commissioned Sarazin's widow Louise to carry on her late husband's agency. The Panhard et Levassor license was finalised by Louise, who married Levassor in 1890. Daimler and Levassor became fast friends, and shared improvements with one another.
These first vehicles set many modern standards, but each was a one-off design. They used a clutch pedal to operate a chain-driven gearbox. The vehicle also featured a front-mounted radiator. An 1895 Panhard et Levassor is credited with the first modern transmission. For the 1894 Paris–Rouen Rally, Alfred Vacheron equipped his 4 horsepower (3.0 kW; 4.1 PS) with a steering wheel, believed to be one of the earliest employments of the principle.
In 1891, the company built its first all-Levassor design, a "state of the art" model: the Systeme Panhard consisted of four wheels, a front-mounted engine with rear wheel drive, and a crude sliding-gear transmission, sold at 3500 francs. (It would remain the standard until Cadillac introduced synchromesh in 1928.) This was to become the standard layout for automobiles for most of the next century. The same year, Panhard et Levassor shared their Daimler engine license with bicycle maker Armand Peugeot, who formed his own car company.
In 1895, 1,205 cc (74 cu in) Panhard et Levassors finished first and second in the Paris–Bordeaux–Paris race, one piloted solo by Levassor, for 48¾hr. Arthur Krebs succeeded Levassor as General Manager in 1897, and held the job until 1916. He turned the Panhard et Levassor Company into one of the largest and profitable manufacturer of automobiles before World War I.
Panhards won numerous races from 1895 to 1903. Panhard et Levassor developed the Panhard rod, which became used in many other types of automobiles as well.
From 1925 until passenger car production ended in 1940 Panhard's cars used Knight sleeve valves. In 1925 a 4.8 litre (292ci) model set the world record for the fastest hour run, an average of 185.51 km/h (115.26 mph). Panhard et Levassor's last pre-war car was the unusually styled monocoque Dynamic series, first introduced in 1936.
After World War II the company was renamed Panhard (without "Levassor"), and produced light cars such as the Dyna X, Dyna Z, PL 17, 24 CT and 24 BT. The company had long noted the weight advantages of aluminum, and this as well as postwar government steel usage regulations (designed to limit new car models to ensure an orderly return to production at the major firms), encouraged the firm to initially proceed with the expensive alternative of making the bodies and several other components out of aluminum; thus the Dyna X and early Dyna Z series 1 had aluminum bodies. Unfortunately, cost calculations by Jean Panhard himself, inheriting son and managing director of the firm, failed to fully account for all of the extra cost of aluminum vs steel, as his calculation were made for the sheet metal panel area actually utilized per body shell, and erroneously did not account for the cut offs and scrap of each of the stampings making up the shell. Once in production, a re-examination cost analysis showed a cost of 55,700fr for aluminum shells and only 15,600fr for steel. The use of aluminum had pushed the firm perilously close to bankruptcy, and a rush engineering job saw the firm return to steel. Thus, the later Dyna Z (fr mid September 1955) and the successor PL 17 bodies were steel, and the major stampings remained the heavier gauge intended for durability with aluminum, so as to avoid complete replacement of the stamping dies.
The styling of the Dyna Z was distinctively smooth and rounded, with an emphasis on aerodynamics and an overall minimalist design. The 24 CT was a later (fr summer 1963-on) stylish 2+2 seater; the 24 BT being a version of the same with a longer wheelbase and space for four.
For a period after the war, the Panhard-based Monopole racing cars received unofficial support from Panhard (as did DB and other clients such as Robert Chancel), using it to good effect in winning the "Index of Performance" class at Le Mans in 1950, 1951, and 1952. In 1953, Panhard moved on to a more direct involvement with Chancel, which however came to an end after the deadly 1955 Le Mans. In the latter half of the fifties and the early sixties, the Deutsch Bonnet racers ("DB Panhard") picked up this mantle and went on to dominate the "Index of Performance" as well as other small-engine racing classes.
The last Panhard passenger car was built in 1967. After assembling 2CV panel trucks for Citroen in order to utilize capacity in face of falling sales, and raising operating cash by selling ownership progressively to Citroën (full control as of 1965), in fall of 1967 the civilian branch was absorbed by Citroën, and the marque was retired. Since 1968 Panhard has only made armored vehicles.
In 2004, Panhard lost a competition to another manufacturer of military vehicles, Auverland, for the choice of the future PVP of the French Army. This allowed Auverland to purchase Panhard in 2005, then a subsidiary of PSA Peugeot Citroën. However, the fame of Panhard being greater, it was decided to retain the name; the PVP designed by Auverland would bear a Panhard badge.
|Panhard Dyna X||1945–1954|
|Panhard Dyna Z||1953–1959|
|Panhard PL 17||1959–1965|
Models with Panhard technology
|DB HBR 5||1954–1961|
|DB Le Mans||1958–1964|
Current military models
- PVPXL / AVXL: an enlarged AVL
- TC 54
- TC 10
- TC 24
- Peugeot P4
- ERC 90 Sagaie
- VBR: enlarged VBL multipurpose armored vehicle
- VAP: Véhicule d'Action dans la Profondeur (deep penetration vehicle), VBL based special operations vehicle
- VPS: P4 based SAS Patrol vehicle
Vehicles in service
Panhard has supplied more than 18,000 military wheeled vehicles to over 50 countries with a range of combat vehicles weighing less than 10 tonnes, as follows:
- 5,400 armoured wheeled vehicles (AML, ERC 90 Sagaie, and LYNX VCR 6x6)
- 2,300 VBL in 16 countries which includes 1600 in service with the French Army
- 933 A4 AVL—PVP—selected by the French Army
- 9,500 vehicles under 7 tonnes; most being jeep-like vehicles produced under the Auverland name.
- The 1916 St Chamond tank
- Panhard 178
- Panhard EBR 8 wheeled heavy armored car
- Arthur Constantin Krebs, Panhard General Manager from 1897 to 1916
- "Daimler | Leaders and Personalities". Louise and Edouard Sarazin. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
- Greathouse, John (2008). "Reinvent The Wheel – A Nonstandard Look at Standards". infoChachkie. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
- Duncan, H.O. (1927). The World on Wheels - Volume I. Paris. pp. 456–457, picture of the Vacheron–Car on p. 457.
- Georgano, p.17.
- Georgano, p.49.
- The prize would go to Koechlin's Peugeot, instead, since the Panhard et Levassor had only two seats, while the rules required four. Georgano, p.20.
- Bellu, René (November 1996). "La Panhard Dynamic: Sa carosserie étonne et sa conception technique réserve elle aussi des surprises" [Its surprising appearance and concept still hides some surprises]. Automobilia (in French) (Paris: Histoire & Collections) (7): 31.
- La Voiture du Bled (museum placard), Saumur, France: Musée des Blindés
- Abeillon, Pierre (2010). "Monopole : l’Autre DB" [Monopole: The other DB] (in French). Panhard Racing Team. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- Panhard: The Flat Twin Cars 1945-1967 David Beare
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Panhard vehicles.|
- Musée des blindés de Saumur
- Panhard Official website
- Watch the Panhards race in the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup Race (VanderbiltCupRaces.com)
- Early history of Panhard and Levassor
- Panhard on the Open Directory Project
- Panhard cars at Citroenet
- D.B. Panhard racing cars memorial
- Clement Panhard on the Web
- Most active Panhard forum (French)
- Year by year Panhard museum