Tag Archives: Panhard Dynamic

Paris Métro

Paris in February is a cold and grey place but for those of us who appreciate the automobile there is a hot spot to be found at the Porte de Versailles, within the halls of the Paris Expo. I refer, of course, to the Rétromobile, a cornucopia of motoring excellence from all points of the compass. The Special Correspondent patrolled the aisles and uncovered these treasures for your appreciation.

In 1931 the oil company Yacco was seeking to obtain publicity for its products and bought a Citroën C6F with which to tackle long distance records at Montlhéry using its oils. Re-clothed in an aerodynamic body in aluminium, this car, baptised “Rosalie” after Sainte Rosalie, went on to attain 14 international records.

The Citroën-Yacco team returned to Montlhéry in 1933 with a special version of the 8CV model. Known as the “Petite Rosalie”, this car covered 300,000 kilometres at an average of 93 km/hr

This is the second prototype Bentley and the oldest surviving Bentley. Known as EXP2, it is the first Bentley to win a race, having crossed the line the winner of the Whitsun Junior Sprint Handicap at Brooklands on 16 May 1921 with F.C. Clement at the wheel.

It was eventually used as a practice car for the 1922 Tourist Trophy in the Isle of Man.

Very rare indeed is this Micron cyclecar, the nose of which seems to steer with the wheels! Made in Toulouse by Henri Jany, it had front wheel drive and used single –cylinder engines of either 350 or 500 c.c. Its claim  to fame was that four of them were entered for and successfully completed the Bol d’Or, Europe’s very first 24 hour race.

In 1953 Lancia introduced their first proper sports racing car, the D20 Coupé. This scored a third place in the Mille Miglia and won the Targa Florio but persistent cockpit heat caused Lancia to make a spyder- bodied version, the D23.

Painted pale blue, this model first appeared at the Gran Premio dell’ Autodromo di Monza at the end of June. This was a race for sports cars of up to 3-litres capacity and Felice Bonetto finished 2nd to Villoresi’s Ferrari in this actual car, which is chassis 0002.

Bernard Pichon and André Parat formed in the late Forties a coach building company at Sens. Initially they modified production cars, especially the Ford Vedette. Having made a fixed head coupé on the Panhard Dyna Junior, they introduced a more sporting “berlinette” based on the Dyna chassis, the first example being shown on their stand at the 1953 Salon de Paris. Much lower and lighter, the body was made of Duralinox and the model was known as the “ Dolomites”. Some 20-30 of these Panhard Pichot-Parat Dolomites were produced between 1953 and 1957 and sporting successes were achieved, for example, Bernand Consten and Pichot came 5th in the 1956 Rallye des Routes du Nord.

The example shown is a 1954 model with the earlier split windscreen.

In the Spring of 1936 Panhard introduced a radically new model, the Dynamic. Although it still used a sleeve-valve engine, two six cylinder sizes being offered, it had torsion bar suspension, independent at the front, and a completely new Louis Bionier-designed aerodynamic body with enclosed wheels and, most unusual of all, a central driving position, albeit on the earlier cars.

The pictures above show the driving position of one such car dating from 1936; the complete car shown is a 1939 example with the later left-hand drive.

Two views of the Serenissima V8 3-litre that ran at Le Mans in 1966, retiring with gearbox trouble.

Eugène Mauve, who created the Bol d’Or race in 1922,  built and raced the Elfe cyclecar from 1919 to 1921. This is a truthful replica of the version he ran in the Gaillon hillclimb in 1921 – it has a V-twin Anzani engine.

The work of Robert Bourbeau  and Henri Devaux, the Paris-built Bédélia was considered the first successful French cyclecar. It was like a wooden coffin on wheels with tandem seating and the driver at the back! Power came from single cylinder or V-twin air-cooled  engines at the front driving the rear wheels through enormously long belts.

It looked rather crude at first sight but these machines turned out to be surprisingly effective: one of them won the 1913 Cyclecar Grand Prix at Amiens and they were used by the French Army as field ambulances in the First World War.


What a Giant! This Berliet T100 is one of two survivors of the four originally made. They were conceived for work in the Algerian desert and the 50 tonne machine has a V12 Cummins diesel. It appeared at the commercial Salon in Paris in 1957 but for this year’s visit it had a journey from the Fondation Berliet (Lyon) of four days on a low-loader trailer hauled by a Volvo FH 16 of 750 h.p.

David Blumlein, March 2019

Bay City Rollers

The recent trip to Florida concluded with a visit to the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum, a top notch affair. The Special Correspondent found much to appreciate and now brings us his latest ‘Rare and Interesting’ piece.

This is a museum that offers quality rather than quantity. It has a very rare collection of pre-war cars each of which is of great technical interest. Here are some of its rare gems:

2013 Tampa Bay Auto Museum

Panhard Dynamic

The Dynamic was the last production Panhard  to come out of the Avenue d’Ivry before the war. It was unusual in having a 6-cylinder sleeve-valve engine of 2.5, 2.8 or 3.8-litre capacity. It had all-round independent suspension by torsion bars, a unit-construction body with a wrap-round windscreen and three wipers. When introduced in 1936, it had the rare feature of a central driving position:

2013 Tampa Bay Auto Museum

In 1939, this was changed to left-hand drive. Among its admirers was Léon Blum, leader of Front Populaire, who was to be seen frequently in Paris in his black example.

2013 Tampa Bay Auto Museum

Willys-Knight Model 56

This is another sleeve-valve car and in the 1920s Willys made more of these engines than all the rest of the world put together. This car has a 2.6-litre 6-cylinder engine.

2013 Tampa Bay Auto Museum

Tracta A

Jean Albert Gregoire was in 1927 the first to bring a front wheel drive car to the Le Mans 24 Hour race.  The car pictured above ran at Le Mans in 1929 driven by Gregoire himself and Fernand Vallon and finished 10th overall while its teammate finished one place above and won the 1100c.c. class.

2013 Tampa Bay Auto Museum

The two cars were powered by overhead valve SCAP engines of 985c.c.

2013 Tampa Bay Auto Museum

The cockpit of the Le Mans car which has bodywork by Duval. Notice the lovely little gear-lever with a gate which has to select the gears right down to the front of the car.

2013 Tampa Bay Auto Museum

Tracta E

In 1930-1931, Gregoire started making more luxurious saloons and coupés. This car has bodywork by Henri Le Moine and has a 6-cylinder Continental side-valve 2.7 litre engine driving the front wheels.

2013 Tampa Bay Auto Museum

Cord L-29

Errett Lobban Cord was an entrepreneur who had rescued the famous Auburn and Duesenberg marques before making a car with his own name. He had been impressed by Harry Miller’s front wheel drive racing cars and the L-29 was the first front wheel drive American built car offered to the public. He had also acquired the Lycoming engine business and his car was naturally powered by a Lycoming 8-cylinder side-valve engine:

2013 Tampa Bay Auto Museum

The car was introduced at the time of the Depression and only some 4,400 were sold.

2013 Tampa Bay Auto Museum

The front suspension is unusual in having two quarter-elliptic springs on each side, neatly keeping out of the way of the drive-shafts.

2013 Tampa Bay Auto MuseumCord 812

In 1935 Cord introduced this aerodynamic car designed by Gordon Buehrig. It has a “coffin nose” which houses a specially made V8 Lycoming engine driving the front wheels and, advanced for the time, pop-up headlights. If a supercharger were fitted, it became the 812. Problems with the electro-vacuum transmission and other delays caused sales to drop off and the car was very expensive. Just under 3000 had been made before production ceased in August 1937.

2013 Tampa Bay Auto Museum

Aero Type 50

The Aero aircraft company of Prague started making light cars in 1929 with 2-stroke engines. In 1934 a new range of Basek-designed cars were introduced, the Type 30 with a twin-cylinder engine and by 1938 the Type 50 with a 4-cylinder in-line 2-stroke engine driving the front wheels:

2013 Tampa Bay Auto Museum

Not many enthusiasts will be familiar with an in-line four 2-stroke!

The Aero must not be confused with the Czech Aero Minor which was based on a JAWA design. 

2013 Tampa Bay Auto Museum

Amilcar Compound

Amilcars, like Salmsons, were the typical small French sports cars of the 1920s and both companies began to make bigger touring cars in the following decade. In 1937 Amilcar was taken over by Hotchkiss who engaged Jean Albert Gregoire to design a light car for them. This was the Compound which had unitary construction in Alpax alloy, all independent suspension with transverse leaf spring at the front, torsion bars at the rear and rack and pinion steering. The engine was a 4-cylinder side valve of 1185c.c. which naturally drove the front wheels! In 1939 it acquired overhead valves but the war intervened and less than 900 Compounds were made all told.

2013 Tampa Bay Auto Museum

Derby V8

These V8s were the last Derby cars to be produced. The Lepicard designed cars had engines with side inlet valves and exhaust overhead valves driving the front wheels. This roadster has a body called “Montlhéry” and was used by Gwenda Stewart in the 1934 Monte Carlo Rally. Two V8 Derbys ran unsuccessfully at Le Mans in 1934 and a single further entry also retired in 1935.



2013 Tampa Bay Auto Museum

Fearing in August 1914 that their Saint-Denis factory would fall into enemy hands as the Germans advanced towards Paris, Hotchkiss decided to set up a works in Gosford Street, Coventry where they began in 1915 to build machine guns for the Allied war effort. After the cessation of hostilities, the company started to mass produce engines for William Morris and launched a V-twin air cooled 1080c.c. engine of their own which went on to power the B.S.A. Ten car. This engine was successfully tried out in an old Morris Oxford chassis which was run in the 1921 Land’s End Trial where it won a Gold Medal. In 1923 William Morris bought the whole Hotchkiss factory and changed it into Morris Engines. However, B.S.A. were given the licence to carry on producing the engine for their cars. The above picture illustrates one such engine in a B.S.A. three-wheeler.

David Blumlein, March 2013