Until now an informative in-depth, fully-illustrated English-language history of Panhard’s ingenious post-WW2 flat-twin cars has never been published. French language books abound; many are well-written milestone works illustrated with Panhard company archive images, studying models from 1945 to the company’s demise in July 1967. We felt it was time this lack was addressed and so this book, “Panhard, the flat-twin cars 1945-1967 and their origins,” is the result of four years research and writing. It covers all the factory- made models including light commercials, estates, sports cars and convertibles and references Panhard’s many competition successes. The in-depth study of often-revolutionary technology used by Panhard for their flat-twin cars is illustrated throughout by many period images. Social, political and industrial influences on Panhard’s decision-making throughout the 22-year period covered by this book are also referred to, as are the profound effect some of these had on the products and future of the Panhard company.
Panhard car manufacturing began at the very dawn of motoring, when Périn- Panhard, a manufacturer of woodworking machines, employed engineer Émile Levassor to help establish a new factory on the outskirts of Paris. Shortly afterward the company was renamed Panhard & Levassor and took out a licence to make Gottleib Daimler’s new internal combustion engine, possibly as a power supply for woodworking machinery. At the 1889 Paris Exhibition Wilhelm Maybach displayed his Daimler-engined quadricycle, it was seen by Panhard and Levassor who immediately began building their own automobile. In 1891 Panhard & Levassor became the world’s first series production car manufacturers and by 1893 the company had built 52 vehicles with a variety of bodies.
For forty-eight years until the beginning of WW2 in 1939 Panhard & Levassor were at the forefront of motoring innovation; they created the ‘Panhard’ layout of an engine in the front, gearbox behind and rear axle drive, built only sleeve-valve engines from 1910 and were one of the first to adopt chassis-less monocoque body construction in 1936 for the superb Dynamic saloon. Panhard & Levassor also built trucks, buses, aero-engines, marine engines, Micheline rubber-tyred railcars and the world’s first diesel sleeve-valve engine.
All that changed in 1939 at the outbreak of WW2, followed by the invasion and surrender of France in June 1940. Under German control Panhard was forced to make armoured-car tracks for the Wehrmacht and develop other military vehicles. Much of the Paris factory had been cleared and personnel relocated to Tarbes in the southwest of the country, where planning began for a radical new car suitable for an eventual post-war France. Despite being horrifically destructive, wars are creative. Technologies develop rapidly to accommodate restrictions, giving rise to new ideas for personal transport. Such was the case for Panhard- doyen of motor manufacturers and creator of many exotic inter-war cars. No longer would it be possible to make or sell splendid grand touring cars such as those Panhard designed in the 1930’s.
ISBN 978-0-9547363-2-3, A4 format, soft colour covers, 336 pages with over 1000 period b/w images, photos and cutaway drawings.
“Panhard, the flat-twin cars 1945-1967” can be ordered from all good bookshops using reference ISBN 978-0-9547363-2-3 or can be obtained direct from the publisher.
Please see ordering information on this website.
“This is one of the most important and well-researched books this year, in fact, in the past several years. For not only does it address a rare topic, but does so with immense authority based on superb research, a confidence that comes with deep understanding of the technical issues that are so much a part of the subject, a love of the marque that is both overwhelming and yet balanced and the ability to take relevant side roads that delightfully amplify the main subject. We are pleased that it is entirely in English.The author, noted Panhard historian David Beare, gives us a brief historical look at the Panhard-Levassor firm from its beginning in 1891, enough to set the stage for the tiny and amazing post-war Panhards. The book covers all flat-twin models in great detail, and along the way Beare tells us about design and manufacturing issues that really bring the history to life. The detail, research, and insights throughout the book are incredible; far too much to even begin to describe here. Suffice to say, that everything one might want to know about any post-war Panhard can probably be found in this book.”
Pete Vack, Velocetoday at
” After a few weeks wait for Amazon I have at last received a copy of ‘Panhard, the Flat-Twin Cars….’ and I am compelled to write to offer my thanks and congratulations, to you and your fellow contributors, on a fantastic volume. Easily one of the most fascinating and readable books in my collection.”
“If ever a marque was crying out for an English-language record of its post-war development, it’s Panhard. The book is full of technical info, yet entertaining to read. There’s lots of archive material too, plus revealing quotes from period road-tests and 99 year-old Jean Panhard, who also provides the foreword. Outstanding.”
David Evans, Classic & Sportcar, December 2012
“David Beare’s book is overdue recognition in English of the post-WW2 activities of Panhard et Levassor, the premier French marque. Beare writes with a light touch and an eye for humour, epitomised by his account of Grégoire’s search for a constructor. The mind-numbing bureaucracy of France…and the confrontation of Jean-Marie Pons and Baron Petiet is a classic. The story is one of intelligent development told with the help of good photography and outstanding detail drawings. [Panhard’s post-war cars] were an expression of individualism in a standardised world, of which this book is a sensibly priced record. There is a good index.”
AM, The Automobile, December 2012
“Until now there has been no in-depth fully illustrated English language history of Panhard’s ingenious post-WWII flat twin cars. This book covers all the factory-made models including light commercials, estates, sports cars and convertibles. There is an introductory chapter on Panhard et Levassor’s history, followed by a very interesting chapter on the French motor industry, and Panhard in particular, during World War II. David Beare also covers the competition history of Panhard themselves, and there is a wonderful picture of three Dyna X’s at Silverstone in 1951, rounding Copse corner in line astern, going on to take 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the 750 saloon class. This is a large and detailed book which is very readable and I for one learned a great deal from it. Its publication has been helped financially by the Michael Sedgwick Trust. At £25 (plus p&p) this must the ‘Best value motoring book of the year’.”
Michael Ware review on the www.prewarcar.com website at http://www.prewarcar.com/postwarclassic/magazine/previous-features/the-panhard-dyna-mystery-018844.html