Ahead of its time

The lines were very modern, with the cut of the windows almost horizontal and an aerodynamic front, thanks particularly to the multiple headlight projectors integrated behind a single transparent cover, completely new for that time.

Throughout its history the Panhard marque introduced various technological innovations which are all worthy of inclusion in the history of world motoring.

René Panhard, together with his partner Périn, founded the Panhard company in 1867, initially producing machine tools.  After Périn’s departure, Panhard’s fellow student, Émile Levassor joined the company in 1887, and in 1889 they purchased the rights to produce the Daimler engine for their first car fitted with an internal combustion engine. In 1965 the company merged with Citroën following which their first model was launched, the 24, the subject of this article.

The development of a car to take over from the PL17 had already started by the time Citroën became involved, but their final proposal was canned by Citroën as it would have competed with their own ID model, so a three-volume two-door saloon was chosen instead, configured as a 2 + 2 (24 C) for the short wheelbase version and as a 4-seater (24 B) for the long wheelbase version (25 cm longer). The lines were very modern, with the cut of the windows almost horizontal and an aerodynamic front, thanks particularly to the multiple headlight projectors integrated behind a single transparent cover, completely new for that time.

The interiors were characterized by superior finish for the category, giving the car a touch of real exclusivity, whilst, on a mechanical level, the 24 followed the pattern of the previous PL17 with an 851 cc boxer engine developing 42 bhp, reaching 50 bhp in the Tigre versions. Unfortunately the developments in terms of both style and content raised costs, hence the initial high price limited sales, forcing the top management of the company to propose a cheaper version which never met the expected sales success, bringing the end of the marque.

Following the failure of the car, Citroën closed the Panhard division in 1967, after just four years of production. The military division of the brand, Panhard Defense, still exists today.

Text by Tommaso Lai

Translation by Norman Hawkes

Copyright © Cars Forgotten Stories. All rights reserved.


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