Formerly in the Lips Collection in Holland 1902 Panhard-Levassor Type A 7hp Rear Entrance Tonneau Registration no. Not U.K. registered Chassis no. 5718 Engine no. 5718
No other single manufacturer can claim to have had greater influence on motor car design and more dominance and success in the infant days of the motor industry and motor sport than Panhard-Levassor. In 1886 René Panhard and Émile Levassor bought into a French company producing band saws and other woodworking tools. In that year Levassor's friend, Sarazin, acquired French rights to build German Daimler cars under licence. Sarazin died in 1887 and Levassor married his widow, leaving Panhard and Levassor to continue motor car manufacture. By 1892 they had settled on the classic Panhard design La Système Panhard which was to become the standard of the industry with a forward mounted engine, transmission amidships and driven rear wheels. The company was right at the forefront in early motor sport, notably in the great French City-to-City Races and inextricably associated with such European motoring pioneers, society notables and sportsmen as the Hon. C S Rolls, Chev. R. de Knyff, Maurice Farman, Girardot and Charron. Panhard dominated the very first decade of motor sport in Europe. Little wonder therefore that businessman and gentleman adventurer, the Hon. C.S. Rolls should favour the Panhard-Levassor marque and indeed become the British agent prior to establishing his own motor manufacturing business. Panhard's international agents were hand-picked and their customer lists at the turn of the century read like a 'Who's-Who' in Europe.
This car, being the Type A 7hp, is of a genre described by the late John Bolster in the following terms:- 'Lacking the sheer drama of the big four cylinder Panhards, the two cylinder car must be regarded as one of the most reliable and best-made machines of the veteran era. Above all, it will give its ultimate performance only to the man who can feel its sensitive controls and interpret the sound of its engine.'
Factory records tell us that this car left the Panhard-Levassor factory on 29th November 1902, destined for its first owner Mr. Christy Medecet in Lyon. Its subsequent history is not fully recorded but in December 1957 a Mr J. P. VanDerCruycen in Bruxelles received confirmation from Panhard of its original despatch date (copy on file). A subsequent owner was a Mrs Nicole Leysen of Bruxelles from whom noted Dutch collector M.M.H. Lips acquired the car in December 1968. The car was subsequently recommissioned by Lips and exhibited at The Autotron Museum at Rosmalen for some 36 years, prior to acquisition by the present vendor. This car has participated at least eight times in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, initially during the Lips' ownership in 1970 and most recently achieving a complete run in the present ownership in 2007. On each occasion this car has successfully completed the challenging drive to Brighton.
The twin-cylinder 7hp Panhard-Levassor is arguably the most sought after of Brighton cars, a quick glance down the VCC Members Handbook reflecting a veritable 'Who's who' of owners amongst club members. John Bolster's comments have not gone unheeded within today's veteran motoring fraternity. This handsome example is exceptionally smartly presented in maroon livery with fine red coachlining, the varnished wooden artillery wheels and mudguards reflecting not a little of the horse-drawn carriage era. Likewise the rear entrance tonneau coachwork reflects that era and comfortably accommodates four people on the effortless drive to Brighton. The car is equipped with oil side lamps by S.A. Wignon of Lyon and dashboard equipment includes a Panhard-Levassor Grasseur-Compte-Goutte type 1802 no.376. The original Panhard-Levassor automatic carburettor is retained as is the original ignition system, although for enhanced performance a later ignition system is employed.
Overall this car appears to be preserved remarkably well and in original condition in all major respects. It is eminently eligible for so many events designed specially for single and twin cylinder cars. Most importantly it has a confirmed entry on this year's prestigious London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.