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Panhard et Levassor : 1891 - 1967

The war years saw Panhard developing a small, horizontally opposed 2 cylinder engine, manufactured largely out of aluminium and employing air cooling. This motor was intended to power the "VP" or Voiture Petite which could be put into production very cheaply and would fill the niche that the company anticipated would exist once the war was over. Early designs called for a 250cc engine, later enlarged to 350cc. The 310cm body would have sat on a 220cm wheelbase. 


This design was well under way when Panhard saw a prototype called the "AFG" or Aluminium Français-Grégoire (see pictures above and right) which had been built to demonstrate the possibilities of aluminium in car manufacturing. Panhard immediately started work on VP2 - a small, aluminium bodied, front wheel drive, four door saloon. VP2 was launched as the Dyna in 1947 with full scale production starting the following year. 

The Dyna's engine (610cc, 22 bhp, bore and stroke of 72 x 75mm) was very advanced, featuring integral cylinder heads with inclined valves providing an hemispheric combustion chamber. Each cylinder had its own cooling fan but there was no ducting to guide cooling air over the cylinder barrels. The camshaft was driven by herringbone gears and the valves were operated by pushrods which were closed by tiny torsion bars which were house clear of the cylinder head and therefore away from heat. The torsion bars ensured that while one valve was open, the other was held firmly closed.

Suspension was provided by upper and lower transverse leaf springs up front and trailing arms with a V link torsion bar at the rear.

Transmission was 3 speed plus overdrive and the layout was unconventional, being engine, clutch, gearbox, differential as opposed to the "conventional" FWD layout of engine, clutch, differential, gearbox.  

With a total weight of 560kg, performance was very good. 

The Dyna was inititally available as either a four door berline or three door camionette. The body parts were manufactured by Facel-Métallon who would later build the Facel Vega. 

Over the next few years, the Dyna was modified - headlamps incorporated into the front wings, a new grille, fully hydraulic brakes and a larger 32 bhp engine of 745cc, later upped to 750cc and 36, then 37 bhp. These latter models could exceed 120 kph/75 mph. 

Increasingly baroque body decoration led to the range being nicknamed "Louis XV". By 1953, the range had been expanded to include a décapotable, two breaks and the Dyna Junior, the latter being a 2 door steel bodied roadster designed by Di Rosa.