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Panhard et Levassor : 1891 - 1967

The firm of Panhard and Levassor was the first in France to manufacture an internal combustion engine in 1876.

Click here for pictures from the 1999 Panhard International

The Dynamic (1936 - 1939) right was archetypally French with its headlamps concealed behind grilles that matched the radiator. Fitted initially with a 2.5 litre, this was later enlarged to 2.86 litres and then 3.8 litres, 6 cylinder engine , torsion bar suspension, hydraulic brakes, a freewheel. and until 1938, an almost centrally placed steering wheel.

The Dynamic (they employed the Anglo Saxon spelling) of 1936 was pure Art Dťco with its streamlined body, headlamps concealed behind grilles that matched that of the radiator and a near centrally placed steering wheel.

Les annťes grises meant an end to production and post war France was more concerned with reconstruction than in building large, decadent cars for the bourgeoisie. France had a socialist government which nationalised Renault in retaliation for its alleged co-operation with the Germans. 

This government mooted the Pons Plan de l'Automobile under which supplies of raw materials would only be made available to manufacturers who complied with its conditions which included dividing the industry into three segments:

  1. Simca and Panhard would build a small car based on the AFG – Simca would make a four door version and Panhard a two door version; and

  2. Peugeot and Renault would manufacture mid-range cars; and

  3. CitroŽn would make top of the range cars

The Plan was viewed by the other manufacturers as being designed to protect Renault and met with fierce opposition from the industry.

Renault insisted its 4CV should be admitted into the Plan thereby putting them in both the first and second categories.
Simca did not want to be in the first category and pulled out of the AFG project leaving Panhard alone.

CitroŽn had to struggle with bureaucrats to allow the 2CV to be produced but its owner, Michelin had political clout and the bureaucrats quickly changed their minds and thus, in December 1945, CitroŽn was given the necessary permits and authorisations to develop the 2CV.

The Pons Plan was effectively dead.

The two door AFG-based car ended up as the Panhard Dyna - the name was chosen to recall the Dynamic but apart from the name, the car had nothing in common with its majestic predecessor.

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