1899 Panhard-Levassor Type M2F 6hp Wagonette  Chassis no. 1510 Engine no. 1510

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Lot 206
1899 Panhard-Levassor Type M2F 6hp Wagonette
Registration no. AK 75 Chassis no. 1510 Engine no. 1510

Sold for £ 158,800 (US$ 217,677) inc. premium
1899 Panhard-Levassor Type M2F 6hp Wagonette
Registration no. AK 75
Chassis no. 1510
Engine no. 1510


  • René Panhard was an engineer whose business, based in Paris, made woodworking tools and built engines under license. With his partner, Émile Levassor, he experimented with horseless carriages using engines licensed from Daimler. In 1891, Panhard-Levassor offered for sale what was arguably the world's first production car, using a Daimler engine. Above all, the firm was responsible for bequeathing the automobile world the Système Panhard, which embodied the now familiar layout of a front-mounted engine driving the rear axle via a clutch, gearbox and differential. The modern motor car had been born.
    Panhard-Levassor swiftly established a reputation for fine engineering, excellent craftsmanship, superior reliability and outstanding performance, qualities that placed the company at the forefront in early motor sport, notably the great Continental city-to-city races of the time. Little wonder therefore that such notables and sportsmen as the Hon C S Rolls, Chev R de Knyff, Maurice Farman, Léon Girardot and Fernand Charron were associated so closely with the marque.
    This remarkably original 6hp Wagonette is powered by the Daimler-Phoenix vertical, twin-cylinder engine, with bore and stroke of 90x130mm for an engine capacity of 1,655cc. It was discovered many years ago when the outer wall of an old textile factory in Angers in France was demolished, to everyone's surprise revealing a false inner wall. 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 Panhard 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 that has now been reinstated. The Panhard factory records show completion of this car on 13th March 1899 and its delivery to Sté l'Automobile, Boulevard Hausmann in Paris. Although the original order indicates Carrosserie Jeantaud, a coachbuilder's 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. '1510' may well have had tiller steering originally but now features a conventional steering wheel – a modification carried out early in the life of many Victorian motor cars. It has a rear-mounted gilled tube radiator – a great benefit to cooling on these early cars. The gearbox contains three forward speeds plus reverse, with braking by a transmission brake and cart-type spoon brakes, deceleration being assisted by a de-compressor which may be operated on either one or both cylinders. The sprag is a useful safety feature for the steeper incline. This striking veteran will comfortably accommodate six people, although when fully laden the more challenging hills would be ascended relatively slowly.
    The Panhard was purchased by the current vendor at Bonhams' sale of the Ward Brothers Reserve Collection at Henley-on-Thames in July 2009 (Lot 157) and since acquisition has been re-upholstered and fitted with new lights. An early starter on the Brighton Road and a magnificent Victorian vehicle in all respects, car number '1510', was dated by the Veteran Car Club in 1983 and allocated Certificate No. 1620 (on file). Currently MoT'd and taxed, it is offered with Swansea V5 registration document and most importantly comes with an entry for the 2011 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

Saleroom notices

  • The vendor is currently taxing the car and this will hopefully follow at the sale.
1899 Panhard-Levassor Type M2F 6hp Wagonette  Chassis no. 1510 Engine no. 1510
1899 Panhard-Levassor Type M2F 6hp Wagonette  Chassis no. 1510 Engine no. 1510
1899 Panhard-Levassor Type M2F 6hp Wagonette  Chassis no. 1510 Engine no. 1510
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