Ken Nelson is a Citroënvie member who owns many Citroëns, including a 1963 DS 19 Cabriolet that he has put many miles on and modified structurally to minimize body flex. His career has been to come up with ideas for Detroit automotive companies and his interest stems from his father buying a Citroën DS in 1962.
Ken is wealth of information on Citroëns and obscure orphaned French cars. He brought his 1966 Panhard 24 BT to the studio for John McElroy’s Autoline After Hours program that originates from Detroit. On the show (episode #310 – November 13, 2015) Ken talks about automotive innovations from Panhard that have been lost to history.
In fact, Panhard was first to do an up front engine inline layout that became the standard of automobile engineering. (In pioneering days, engines were located under the seats). Ken goes on to talk about the roller bearings used for the crankshaft in the flat-twin air-cooled 850 cc engine Panhard developed in 1946 and is used in the 24 BT. Not only does it put out 60 hp (considerable for its size) but the engineering design of the roller bearings is based on drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci.
This is a fascinating show for Citroën enthusiasts as Panhard was acquired by Citroën in 1964 and there many similarities to Citroën in both engineering and aerodynamics.
Ken touches upon the Chrysler China Car Program. Also called the CCV (that we featured in an articles in Citroënvie back in the Spring 2008 and Summer 2008 issues).
The CCV was the brainchild of Francois Castaing who came to Chrysler as Vice President for Vehicle Engineering from American Motors Corporation (AMC) where he was Vice President for Product Engineering and Development. Castaing owned a 2CV when he lived in France and is an engineering graduate from École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts et Métiers in Paris, having worked in Europe for Gordini and and Renault before joining AMC.
Ken’s insight is astounding as you can see watching the episode here: