Panhard et Levassor are credited with building the first internal combustion motor in France, built under licence from Benz’s competitor Gottlieb Daimler that had been secured from Daimler’s Paris agent Edouard Sarazin. Just one year after the Benz Patent Motorwagen had been granted to Karl Benz Frenchman René Panhard and Émile Levassor set out to build a vehicle of their own using one of the petrol motors built under licence from Benz’s then competitor Daimler.
Sarzin died in 1887 and Daimler tasked Sarazin’s widow Louise with continuing representation of Daimler’s interests in France. Louise married Émile Levassor in 1890 the same year the first, mid engined, Panhard et Levassor was sold.
Panhard et Levassor’s second vehicle despite sharing many features with a horse drawn coach in terms of suspension and wheel braking also introduced to the world both Systéme Panard and a four speed, plus reverse, gearbox, an item which would not be significantly improved upon until Cadillac introduced synchromesh transmissions in 1928.
Systéme Panard, first seen in 1895, was the practice of placing the motor, in this case a twin V giving 6 hp, in the front of the vehicle in this case ahead of the front axle and using a geabox to transmit the power to the rear axle.
Also known as the front (engine) rear (wheel) drive (FR) layout would be the mainstay of motor vehicle production up until the 1960’s and 70’s when front engine front wheel drive (FF) increasingly came to the fore in passenger vehicle production.
Interestingly the M2F derived from the initial second Panhard et Levassor had the radiator mounted in the back a good place to put such a fragile object, given the poor state of the roads, home to plenty of stones and rocks which could easily damage it.
My thanks to John Aibel for kindly sharing today’s photographs.
Thanks for joining me on this “Systéme Panard” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow, when I’ll be looking at some of the high lights of Autosport International. Don’t forget to come back now !
Brighton Speed Trials Under Threat of Permanent Cancellation !
In their infinite wisdom, Brighton & Hove City Council are seeking to ban the Brighton Speed Trials from 2014.
If you care about speed and or motorsport history, please sign this linked petition to save Brighton Speed Trials in 2014 and beyond.
It’s a faf to Register before signing, but relatively painless compared to loosing the event which has been run with few interruptions since 1905.
You do not need to be resident in Brighton or even the UK to sign.