Founded 1891
Founder(s) René Panhard, Emile Levassor
Headquarters Paris, France
Industry Manufacturing
Products Cars. Trucks, Military vehicles
MHV P&L Dynamic 1937 02

Panhard-Levassor (MHV P&L Dynamic 1937

Panhard is now a French manufacturer of light tactical and military vehicles. It was also known as Panhard & Levassor. Its current incarnation was formed by the acquisition of Panhard by Auverland in 2006. Panhard had been under Citroën ownership, then PSA (after the 1974 Peugeot Citroën merger), for 40 years. The combined company now uses the Panhard name, this was decided based on studies indicating that the Panhard name had better brand recognition worldwide than the Auverland name. Panhard once built civilian cars but ceased production of those in 1968. They also produced heavy trucks and buses. Many of their military products however end up on the civilian market via third sources and as military/government surplus vehicles. Panhard also built railbuses between the wars.


Panhard & Levassor 1894-1

Panhard & Levassor's
Daimler Motor Carriage, 1894


Panhard-Levassor (1890-1895). This model was the first automobile to circulate in Portugal

Panhard was originally called Panhard et Levassor, and was established as a car manufacturing concern by René Panhard and Émile Levassor in 1887. Their first car (based on a Daimler engine licence), was offered in 1890. Levassor obtained his licence from a friend who already had one, Sarazin. Upon Sarazin's death in 1887, Sarazin's widow married Levassor, and the deal was cemented. Daimler and Levassor became fast friends, and shared improvements with one another.

These first vehicles set many modern standards, but each was a one-off design. They used a clutch pedal to operate a chain-driven gearbox. The vehicle also featured a front-mounted radiator. An 1895 Panhard is credited with the first modern transmission.

In 1891, the company built their first all-Levassor design,[1] a "state of the art" model: the Systeme Panhard consisted of four wheels, a front-mounted engine with rear wheel drive, and a crude sliding-gear transmission, sold at 3500 francs.[1] (It would remain the standard until Cadillac introduced synchromesh in 1928.)[2] This was to become the standard layout for automobiles for most of the next century. The same year, Panhard shared their Daimler engine license with bicycle maker Armand Peugeot, who formed his own car company.

In 1895, 1205 cc (74 ci) Panhards finished 1-2 in the Paris-Bordeaux-Paris Rally, one piloted solo by Levassor, for 48¾hr.[3] Arthur Krebs succeeded Levassor as General Manager in 1897, and held the job until 1916. He turned the Panhard-Levassor Company into one of the largest and profitable manufacturer of automobiles before World War I.

Panhard 24

Panhards won numerous races from 1895 to 1903. Panhard developed the Panhard rod, which became used in many other types of automobiles as well.

From 1925 the motors used Knight sleeve valves. That year a 4.8 litre (292ci) model set the world record for the fastest hour run, an average of 185.51 km/h (115.26 mph).

Panhard also produced railbuses, including some for the metre gauge Chemin de Fer du Finistère.

After World War II the company produced light cars such as the Dyna X, Dyna Z, PL 17, 24 CT and 24 BT. The company managed to get around a steel-saving government regulation forbidding new car models by making the bodies and several other components out of aluminum; the Dyna X and Z 1 had aluminum bodies. The later Dyna Z and the PL 17 bodies were steel. The styling was smooth and rounded, which stood out in any post-war parking lot.
The 24 CT was a beautiful 2+2 seater; the 24 BT with a longer wheelbase had space for four. The Panhard-based Deutsch Bonnets ("DB Panhard") dominated the "Index of Performance" class at Le Mans and other small-engine racing classes.

The last Panhard passenger car was built in 1967. From 1968 on, Panhard has only made armored vehicles—the civilian branch was absorbed by Citroën in 1965, and the marque was retired.

In 2004, Panhard lost a competition to another manufacturer of military vehicles, Auverland, for the choice of the future PVP of the French Army. This allowed Auverland to purchase Panhard in 2005, then a subsidiary of PSA Peugeot Citroën. However, the fame of Panhard being greater, it was decided to retain the name; the PVP designed by Auverland would bear a Panhard badge.

Car modelsEdit

Own models Edit

Type Construction period
Panhard Dyna X 1945–1954
Panhard Junior 1951–1956
Panhard Dyna Z 1953–1959
Panhard PL 17 1959–1965
Panhard CD 1962–1965
Panhard 24 1963–1967

Models with Panhard technology Edit

Panhard DB Le Mans - 2 cyl - 850 ccm - 60 PS - 1960 - 1

Panhard DB Le Mans (1960)

1955 DB Panhard HBR

1955 DB Panhard HBR

Type Construction period
Dyna Veritas 1949–1954
Rosengart Scarlette 1952
DB HBR 5 1954–1961
DB Le Mans 1958–1964
Sera-Panhard 1959–1961

Truck * Bus ModelsEdit

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Further information might be found on the talk page or at requests for expansion.
  • K50 ZUFEM 8,000 kg P&L K50 1936 01
  • PTT (mail service) temporary office truck MHV P&L PTT 1934 01
  • Tractor unit Panhard tractor 1946
  • K63 bus MHV P&L K63 1934 01

Current military modelsEdit

French VBL DSC00823

A VBL of the French Army

  • AVL
  • PVP
  • PVPXL / AVXL: an enlarged AVL
  • TC 54
  • TC 10
  • TC 24
  • A3
  • Peugeot P4
  • ERC 90 Sagaie
  • VBR: enlarged VBL multipurpose armored vehicle
  • VAP: Véhicule d'Action dans la Profondeur (deep penetration vehicle), VBL based special operations vehicle
  • VPS: P4 based SAS Patrol vehicle

Vehicles in serviceEdit

Panhard has supplied more than 18,000 military wheeled vehicles to over 50 countries with a range of combat vehicles weighing less than 10 tonnes, as follows:

  • 5,400 armoured wheeled vehicles (AML, ERC 90 Sagaie, and LYNX VCR 6x6)
  • 2,300 VBL in 16 countries which includes 1600 in service with the French Army
  • 933 A4 AVL—PVP—selected by the French Army
  • 9,500 vehicles under 7 tonnes; most being jeep-like vehicles produced under the Auverland name.


See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Georgano, p.17.
  2. Georgano, p.49.
  3. The prize would go to Koechlin's Peugeot, instead, since the Panhard-Levassor had only two seats, while the rules required four. Georgano, p.20.

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