We have a passion for Panhards. The company was so innovative that even Citroën, already known for its pioneering spirit, was keen on Panhard’s know-how and bought the company in 1965. Even though the Panhard brand was dropped by Citroën in 1967, many of Panhard’s technologies then found their way into Citroën models.
Panhard, or French pronounced “Poaar”, formerly Panhard et Levassor, was probably the most innovative car brand of all. Thier production of automobiles started as early as 1890 and always surprised with innovative ideas. The first car with a front engine was built in 1891, in 1926 the fastest car with a valveless four-stroke valve engine was presented. In 1934 the Panoramique model with curved glass was introduced.
In 1936 the Dynamique model with 6-cylinder valve engine, self-supporting all-steel body, central steering, aerodynamic shape with fully clad wheel arches as well as standard indicators at the rear.
From 1946, the focus was on economical 2-cylinder high-performance engines with valve closing via torsion bars. The first mass-produced car with a self-supporting aluminum body was built from 1954, and in 1962 the CD model was introduced, a sports car with a drag coefficient of 0.22.
The beautifully styled model presented here is a very rare 1960 Panhard Le Mans Luxe with a racing heritage — well sort of….
Charles Deutsch and René Bonnet were two designers who developed sports and racing cars based on Panhard’s 2-cylinder engines. In 1954 they even dared to compete in Formula 1 with a racing car with a 750 cc 2-cylinder engine with supercharger, against racing cars from Mercedes with three-liter six-cylinder engines and Ferrari with 2.5-liter twelve-cylinder engines. Charles Deutsch and René Bonnet were an unbeatable team. Under the brand D.B., for Deutsch-Bonnet, sports cars based on the Panhard series vehicles were produced from 1958. First the closed Coupé HBR and from 1959 the Le Mans model, which was almost exclusively manufactured as an open roadster, like the one you see here.
In 1961 there was a falling out between Charles Deutsch and René Bonnet and as a result two sports cars were created that fought bitter duels even in races. René Bonnet ran the company D.B. continued under the name René Bonnet, but was no longer allowed to use Panhard licenses. The Le Mans model was now called René Bonnet Le Mans and it used a tuned Gordini engine from a Renault Dauphine 1093. At the same time, René Bonnet offered another model, the René Bonnet Djet, also with a Gordini engine. (A notable Djet owner was Russian astronaut Yuri Gargarin, the first person in space.) Charles Deutsch meanwhile remained loyal to Panhard and developed the CD model with a drag coefficient of 0.22.
On May 27, 1962 there was the first duel between a Panhard CD and a René Bonnet Djet at the Nürburgring. The CD was in front, but then it failed due to an oil leak. On June 24th, 1962 the Panhard CD beat the Djet in another race. The René Bonnet company was finally taken over by Matra in 1964 and the Djet model was later replaced by the Matra 530, then the Bagheera and finally the Murena.
This D.B. Panhard Le Mans Luxe has been meticulously restored by an elderly Panhard expert, who has a massive spare parts inventory — over 2 tons of Panhard cylinders alone). It is equipped with the coveted 954ccm engine of the top models of the sports model DB (German Bonnet) Le Mans. These engines have two spark plugs per cylinder this one is equipped with contactless ignition. One of the most roadsters from the 1960’s, one in which you stand out from the crowd at any show, even with Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Peugeot or any British marque present.
This one as actually for sale for 55.000,00 € at the moment at: https://atelier-automobile.de/verkauf-pkw/item/296-extremement-rare.html