1899 Panhard-Levassor Type M2F 6hp Wagonette Registration no. AK 75 Chassis no. 1510 Engine no. 1510
Panhard-Levassor were the pre-eminent French car manufacturer around the turn of the 19th/20th Century, their Système Panhard design, with forward-mounted engine, transmission amidships and driven rear wheels setting the standard for the industry. Engineering quality was of the highest order, ensuring that the company won its place at the forefront in early motor sport, notably the great Continental City-to-City races of the time. Panhards customer lists read like a Whos-Who in Europe and their international agents were hand-picked. Little wonder therefore that such notables and sportsmen as the Hon. C. S. Rolls, Chev. R. de Knyff, Maurice Farman, Girardot and Charron were associated so closely with the marque. Panhard-Levassor truly transformed the French company which they had bought, previously producing band saws and other woodworking tools in 1886, into Frances most significant motor car manufacturer of the era.
This remarkably original 6hp Wagonette is powered by the Daimler-Phoenix vertical, twin-cylinder engine, with bore and stroke of 90mm x 130mm an engine capacity of 1,654cc. It was discovered many years ago when the outer wall of an old textile factory in Angers in France was demolished, to everyones surprise revealing a false inner wall and within that cavity stood the Panhard, a Serpollet steam car and a De Dion Bouton, all in remarkably complete and original condition. The Serpollet and De Dion Bouton joined the Schlumpf Collection at Mulhouse while the Panhard went to a Swiss collector. It was subsequently acquired by veteran car enthusiast Brian Garner who actively campaigned the car in appropriate events and also exhibited the car at The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.
The car changed hands yet again before acquisition by Toby and Daniel Ward in 2003. At that time it had been rather unsympathetically finished in dark green livery, however careful research revealed the original colour scheme of yellow, black and red, a striking combination which has now been re-instated. The Panhard factory records show completion of this car on 13th March 1899 and delivery to Sté. lAutomobile, Boulevard Hausmann in Paris. Although the original order indicates Carrosserie Jeantaud a coachbuilders plate on the car indicates Carrosserie Driguet of Paris. It was not unusual for customers to change specified coachbuilders between order date and completion.
This most capable and relatively quick Victorian motor car comes complete with its original carburettor and hot tube ignition, now fired by propane gas rather than petrol. The car may well have had tiller steering originally however now features a conventional steering wheel a common modification frequently carried out in the early life of Victorian motor cars. It enjoys the benefit of the rear-mounted gilled tube radiator a great benefit to cooling on these early cars. Three forward-speed gearing is provided and reverse, braking is by a transmission brake and cart-type spoon brakes, while deceleration is also assisted by a decompressor which may be operated on either one or both cylinders. The sprag which is fitted is a useful safety feature for the steeper incline. This striking veteran will comfortably accommodate six people, although fully laden the more challenging hills would be ascended more slowly.
Car No.1510, an early starter on the Brighton Road and a magnificent Victorian vehicle in all respects, was dated by the Veteran Car Club in 1983 and allocated Certificate No.1620. It is offered with a Swansea V5 registration document.