Panhard & Levassor (established 1887) was one of the world’s first car manufacturers. The company thrived and innovated in the early years of motoring, becoming a significant player by World War I. Between the wars Panhard produced various interesting models and broke speed records, but it never quite regained its prewar eminence.
After World War II a range of light cars was produced, often bodied in aluminium to get around the steel shortages. From the mid-1950s Panhard and Citroen started integrating their operations, a process that was finally completed a decade later.
One of the most eye-catching postwar cars was the pretty Panhard 24, launched in 1963 and in production from 1964. This small two-door car had an air-cooled two-cylinder boxer engine at the front, with a low, waisted body reminiscent of a contemporary Chevy Corvair. It had an independent chassis and strong steel bodywork. The swooping nose had four headlamps, each pair behind a glass shield.
Various versions of the Panhard 24 were produced. The 24 C was a four-seater and the 24 CT was a pretty 2+2 coupe. The former — with a somewhat basic interior — did not prove popular and was soon dropped. In 1964 a long-wheelbase floorpan was introduced, allowing the 24 B and 24 BT to be made. These were simply scaled-up versions of the smaller cars, but as sales of the three well-appointed 24s sagged an attempt was made to capture mass-market sales with the cheap and cheerful 24 BA. It was not a success and production of the 24 ended in 1967.
Sadly, the 24 was the last of the Panhards. For the company ceased car production in 1967 to concentrate on making military vehicles and the passenger car business was complete absorbed by Citroen with the loss of the historic Panhard marque.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1963 (until 1967)
848 cc Flat Two
Top speed of 86 mph (138 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 23.9 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
There’s a reasonable chance of enjoying a drive – a fair proportion of the 25,000 24s produced are still around (mostly in France), cherished by owners who like to be seen out and about in something completely different.