I’ve been wanting to write about this car ever since I started posting on CC, and finally the day has come. As I reported earlier, I went to a classic car meet in France recently and, as expected, bagged a bunch of CCs. I secretly hoped that a Panhard 24 would be there. I was wrong: there were two!
First and foremost, there was this beautiful gray 24 B, built in March 1966. And boy did I go to town on that (in a purely photographic sense, of course). The intermittent sunshine and lack of other cars parked right next to it allowed me to take as many snaps as I wanted. But that was not the end of it.
As I was leaving the premises, I peeked inside one of the many old buildings (these used to be military barracks), and found this blue 24 CT, probably of the same vintage, though it could be a ’67. Conditions were less ideal in there for pictures, and the car clearly had had a bad frontal collision a while back, but how could I pass it up?
The Panhard 24 is my favourite post-war French car, hands down. I will endeavour to tell you why, but I hope the pictures will do at least some of the talking. This is kind of a present I’m making for myself (I’m turning 40 today!), so I hope you will indulge me in reading this passionate Panhard puff-piece.
From an esthetic standpoint, there’s nothing to add or subtract from the 24’s incredible shape, to my eyes. There is lots to be said from a technical and historical perspective, though. So here’s 25-plus years of obsessive reading about the last Panhard, condensed into about 2500 words.
The Panhard 24 was the old firm’s last throw of the dice. When development work started in earnest in late 1959, Citroën was already more or less in control of Panhard, whose Parisian factory was already producing 2CV vans, alongside the PL 17 range. Said PL 17 was a refreshed version of the 1954-59 Panhard Dyna Z, so the firm knew that a new car would be needed in due course.
But Citroën were adamant: no new Panhard 4-door saloon. Paul and Jean Panhard, respectively Chairman and CEO of the marque, wisely suggested a 2-door coupé – something a bit left-field that would not pose a threat to Citroën. Thanks to the Panhard father and son team’s relentless pressure, “Projet V527” was green-lit and Louis Bionier, designer of all production Panhards since the late ‘20s, got to work on the new model.
Bionier was not alone. The small Panhard design team included René Ducassou-Péhau and André Jouan for the 2-D renderings, as well as clay model specialists.
There were many designs attempted throughout 1960-61, with several features that never made it past the drawing board, such as reverse-canted rear windscreens and roof-mounted fins.
The Corvair influence was visible from the get-go, particularly in the elegant and simple molded beltline with a chrome accent running from one headlamp all the way to the other, which was present in all the design studies. The flat roof also smacks of GM…
This was not just about looks, though. There was a lot of method and careful calculation to the Panhard coupé – it had to be roomy enough for Jean Panhard’s 6’ 6’’ frame, for one. All the clay models made were painstakingly tested and refined to improve their aerodynamics and bring the centre of gravity forward.
Until quite late, the Corvairesque beltline was matched by a wraparound bumper that ran the entire length of the car, offering protection to the sides as well as the ends of the vehicle. This was pretty forward thinking for the early ‘60s, anticipating the kind of side-cladding that would become prevalent only two decades hence.
Here is a full-size clay from 1962. The overall styling was pretty much gelled at this point, with only detailing work needed on the grille, the bumpers and the hood.
Interior styling was also given a lot of thought. A symmetric design was favoured from the start, to facilitate the creation of a RHD version.
Despite Citroën forbidding the creation of body variants, the Panhard design team tried out several drawings and clays. The convertible was virtually production-ready, but deemed too expensive to be viable. The wagon and 4-door were non-starters, to the eternal dismay of the few remaining Panhardistes.
Technically, the Panhard 24 was a direct descendant of the PL 17. An air-cooled 848cc boxer twin, driving the front wheels, was mated to a 4-speed gearbox, now all-synchromesh. The suspension was also similar to previous Panhards: two parallel sets of transverse leafs in the front and torsion bars / beam axle at the rear. The brakes used patented aluminium finned drums tested on the DB racers at Le Mans.
A flat platform formed the base of the very rigid internal monocoque structure, which did not require the added strength of the roof, so that the planned convertible could be readily made on the cheap. Said roof was still innovative though, perched atop four slim steel pillars anchored deep within the monocoque.
When the car was presented to the press on 24 June 1963, Jean Panhard was told by Jean-Pierre Peugeot: “How fortunate you are to have such talented designers. We’re forced to go ask the Italians!” Everyone agreed that the Panhard 24 was sublime. Initially, there were two models: the 24 C had the “normal” (42 hp DIN) engine, and the more deluxe 24 CT came with the 50 hp “Tigre” version. The two cars were externally similar, but the 24 C had a simplified interior and dashboard.
The main problem was the engine. Panhard were forbidden to continue developing a 1200cc civilian version of their “X4” (essentially two flat-twins mated in the middle, like a radial engine), so they had to make do with the old twin, which was starting to show its age. It was also pretty loud and caused the car to vibrate at certain rpms, dancing around under the 24’s hood. The car was relatively quick for its displacement, which led many to criticize the absence of disc brakes.
In the immediate term, it was imperative to broaden the range a bit. The 17 (they dropped the “PL” after the 24’s introduction) saloon was on its last legs, and Panhard needed something more family-friendly than the little 2+2 they had just launched. The only solution was to stretch the platform – but keep the 2-door structure.
And thus here we come to our main CC, the 24 B – as in “Berline.” Introduced at the Paris Motor Show in October 1964, the 24 B and BT stretched the wheelbase by 25cm, clearly visible by the car’s larger rear windows. If anything, this improved the car’s looks even more.
The 24 C was put to pasture, but the CT got a slightly re-tuned and higher-revving engine, allowing it to reach 160 kph (a hair under 100 mph). To match this rather impressive feat, Panhard fitted it with four disc brakes. These were also used on the BT, which inherited the initial CT’s engine. Extra weight meant that the 24 BT could only claim 145 kph, but it still became the range’s top seller from model year 1965. These top speeds are the result of the 24’s slippery shape more than anything. In acceleration, we’re still dealing with an 850cc twin: 0 to 100 kph in 21 seconds for the 24 CT. Not too bad, but far from spectacular…
Our 24 B made do with the 42 hp twin and the drum brakes, topping out at about 135 kph. It also carried over the 24 C’s more simplified interior and strip speedo, inherited from the 17 saloon. Those were out of production by January 1965, after which only the 24 carried Panhard’s name. That year, Citroën finally absorbed Panhard, taking over complete control. By July, a second constructor’s plate marked “André Citroën S.A.” was put next to the Panhard one. The end wasn’t nigh – it was there.
For model year 1966, few things changed. The 24 CT received new wheels with oval cooling holes, which we can see on the blue car, but otherwise, things stayed pretty much the same – including the terrific six-dial dash. The lack of a new body variant pushed Panhard towards the only solution they had left: de-contenting.
The 24 BA was created to enable Panhard to sell the 24 under 10,000 Francs. They cut out everything they could: the seats were simplified in the extreme, as was the dash. Externally, the chrome strip that ran around the car’s sides and rear went away, as did the air vents under the front bumper. They needn’t have bothered though: the 24 BA was such a penalty box that nobody wanted one. Only 160 units were built, all in 1966.
Sales were falling off a cliff. In 1963, Panhard built around 35,000 cars across three ranges (PL 17, CD, 24). By 1965, they were managing less than half of that. And the trend for 1966 only seemed to confirm that the buying public was wary of Panhard’s obvious ill-health.
Nobody wants to buy a new car whose maker is going out of business. A self-fulfilling prophecy, of course, but also a hard reality felt by countless carmakers in trouble over the decades. Exports were minimal – the only countries where the 24 made any significant sales were Benelux and Italy. A number were also assembled in Uruguay, for some reason, using a locally-made GRP body.
The Panhard 24’s sales went down to less than 4000 units in 1967. During the summer, Citroën issued a communiqué about its production forecast for 1968. Buried within lay a single sentence that read: “The production of the Panhard 24 is terminated.” The last car officially produced, a light blue 24 B, came out of the factory in July, though a few were only registered months later.
It’s not like there were no plans to continue using the 24’s best assets – its gorgeous aerodynamic body. Some folks within the Citroën design bureau were dismayed by this waste of talent and attempted an interesting experiment: modifying a 24 CT body to fit a shortened DS platform. I snapped this car back in 2012, at the ICCCR in England. I’ll just let the placard below fill you in on the details…
Citroën CEO Pierre Bercot was not keen on the idea. He saw Panhard as a mere subcontractor and had much more interest in the firm’s successful military vehicles branch. One final experiment was done circa 1969, mating the 24-DS’s body with a triple-carbed Maserati V6, with two wing-mounted radiators. The result was quite a bit faster than the production SM that came soon after.
Were it not for Citroën’s deliberate sabotage of Panhard, a full 24 range might have been created, possibly powered by a 4-cyl. engine. This would have plugged the gaping hole that lay in the middle of the Citroën range, which consisted of tiny 2CV derivatives on the one hand and the 2-litre DS on the other. Instead, Citroën spent a fortune devising their own mid-range car, the “Projet F,” which ran into huge problems and finally had to be abandoned in 1967, just as Panhard production was coming to a close.
The designers and engineers who created the 24 were integrated into the Citroën team, as were the rest of Panhard’s workforce. Their initial job was the creation of the Citroën Dyane – an anagram of Dyna owned by Panhard. It was yet another 2CV clone, done quickly and cheaply, launched in 1967 with a (misguided) view to replace the 2CV. Many consider the Citroën GS to be the one car that carried Panhard’s spirit, as the old firm’s men had a lot to do with its design.
The GS was a good car in many ways, but it was no Panhard 24. Citroën made many mistakes in the ‘60s and ‘70s, culminating in the Wankel-engined GS Birotor that broke the company’s back and drove it into bankruptcy, only to be salvaged by Peugeot. Other mistakes include the “Projet F,” the purchase of Maserati, the politically short-sighted tie-up with Fiat. But the worst by far was the waste of talent that was the Panhard 24.
Citroën did use a few features from the 24, nonetheless. Panhard had designed a very smart system for the 24’s front seats, which enabled the driver and passenger to set not just the the seat back’s inclination, but also seat base’s height, pitch and distance from the wheel. This gave the driver a choice of 1764 configurations. This innovative feature was also found on the bigger Citroëns of the ‘70s.
Another obvious influence was the 24’s quad-headlamp (plus turn signal) set-up, made in cooperation with Cibié. As soon as he saw the Panhard coupé, Citroën chief designer Flaminio Bertoni tried to adapt something like it on the DS. Bertoni died before he could complete this facelift, but his team, now lead by Robert Opron, carried on with the work, which was finalized in 1967. In the meantime, as we can see above, coachbuilder Pichon-Parat used the 24’s headlamps on a few DS specials in the mid-‘60s.
So what’s it like to own a Panhard 24? According to many, these cars have several good points, including terrific handling, effective (though hard) disc brakes, unparalleled visibility, good interior appointments and ventilation, low fuel consumption (around 7 litres / 100km, or 33 mpg US), excellent access to all the oily bits. It is relatively cheap to buy and run. Having had the chance to ride in one, I can also attest that it is very comfortable and not as loud as expected.
On the downside, one can point to the fragility of the highly-stressed engine (which can only be repaired by specialists). The car lacks torque and hates going uphill. The drum brakes are barely able to do the job, the steering is rather heavy and the 24’s inconsistent build quality means that some cars can take a lot of sorting out. Plus there are a multitude of hidden rust traps, as per many cars of the ‘60s.
Developed on a shoestring budget, hamstrung by its parent company, built within an ancient factory and sold by dealers who usually didn’t care for it, the 24 had a difficult life. Panhard still managed to make over 28,000 of them, including about 2000 of the 24 B. But the star product, available throughout the model’s production, was undoubtedly the 24 CT, which accounts for half of the aforementioned total.
So let’s close with a last gander at that poor 24 CT, whose front end had a bad encounter with some sort of stubborn and pernicious obstacle. Bet it was a Citroën.
Automotive History: Panhard – Back To The Future, by PN
Automotive History: Three French Deadly Sins (Part 2) – Panhard Dyna Z / PL 17, by T87
I was always intrigued by the Dyna, with its’ small engine and aluminium construction. They never made any impression on the roads of London, but as a teenager I would get the Tube to Earls Court for the London Motor Show and study all the exotic foreign models, including Panhard.
A big price and a small engine meant these cars were totally unsuitable for the British public. Before CC I never realised there was a “stretched” 24B, or that by the 60’s there was more steel than aluminium in the construction. The 24CT was a beauty though.
Well happy 40th, you mere child (I’ve added ten to your 40 – be forewarned, enjoy yourself now, right now, as all the bits of you really do begin a noticeable slide shortly thereafter!) Salut.
Favourite post-war Froggie? That’s a big call, but I’m almost there. As, clearly was Toyota, with the 4th gen Celica, it being the homogenised homage to it. (And in some parts, arguably better, he said, ducking quickly).
There’s too much to love about this car, the efficiency, the speed, the handling, the lightness of form. It really is a rolling sculpture, perhaps a bit controversial, but impossible not so stare at. Personally, I’m with you, or as close as matters. I’ve long wanted one (as far as I am aware, there are none where I live, so it’ll remain a mere want).
But I have to ask something you don’t address directly in the text: sculptural, dramatic, effective, copied – but do you think it actually beautiful? In my case, want or desire is the same as it can sometimes be in another vital aspect of being, not necessarily led by pure beauty at all.
Tatra, my condolences on the passage of your youth. As Justy says above, that span of time after 40 and before 50 does bring about some interesting changes. Your eyes are good until they aren’t; you will now be more aware of your knees than ever before; and, your body will start to exhibit this great alarm system that activates anytime between 2 am and 3 am, an alarm that requires a stroll to another room to eradicate. And this was all well at or before age 45 in my case!
You definitely found a wonderful car here. I intend to re-read this later to further immerse myself.
I agree; the last nine years have been highly eventful for me in many ways! This car looks like it would have been a viable coupe version of the DS – a missed opportunity, perhaps?
Very enjoyable post – I agree, the 24B is a very attractive design with lots of French character. Jim.
Sir, Mr. Tatra 87, Bravo! You have delivered another delightful, superb, informative automotive article well worthy of the long ago Automobile Quarterly standards. Thank you.
This is kind of a present I’m making for myself (I’m turning 40 today!), so I hope you will indulge me in reading this passionate Panhard puff-piece.
Ah, so I see I’m not the only person who schedules articles on beloved cars on their birthday. I don’t think anyone’s ever noticed I run a Caddy piece year in mid-December… Happy birthday, Tatra! Does turning 40 feel more momentous than turning 30?
Poor Panhard. Treated like the red-headed stepchild. The sedan and wagon mock-ups are absolutely gorgeous, arguably even more so than the coupes. To Justy’s point, I don’t quite find these beautiful because, unlike a lot of coupes, they’re not overtly sporty or prestigious looking. There’s no doubt in my mind, however, that these look distinctive and unique and utterly cool. The sedan and wagon, had they made production, would have looked even cooler in my opinion because few expect a humdrum sedan or wagon to look so bold.
That shot of the 24 b badge is wild… that’s a corner on a car from the 1960s? It looks like it’s from a space ship!
What a pity it flies only at shuttle craft and not USS Enterprise speeds. And what a pity Citroen didn’t just absorb it into their range and fill that yawning chasm between the 2CV and its compatriots and the DS.
I share your enthusiasm for this and I loved reading your birthday present to yourself!
Happy Birthday! I’ve always loved the look of these and believe the folks at Saturn channeled the body shape design for a modern version in the second generation SC 20 years ago. Although larger, the Saturn is dead ringer and proves that everything old can be made new again. What a treat it would be to see them parked side by side.
I feel the same way about the 2011-2016 Hyundai Elantra (of which I have one). Much the same shapes, even the front, rear, and lights resemble the Panhard to me.
“Panhard” rhymes with “bizarre” — Yes, it does. In fact, when I see pictures of an odd-looking French car, my first guess is usually Panhard. And often that’s a good guess. Panhards have always been rather mysterious for me, since I’ve always been intrigued by their design, but have never actually seen one in the flesh.
This article was illuminating in many different ways, and I actually feel somewhat absurd not having realized before the obvious similarities between these Panhards and the GS.
One question that still lingers out there for me though is: How is “Panhard” pronounced? It occurs to me that I’ve never actually spoken the car’s name — I’ve only read about it, and I have a feeling that pronouncing it PAN’-hard is probably grotesque to French ears.
It literally rhymes with bizarre.
Well, dang… that officially proves that there’s a Youtube video for everything!
Very cool looking car, particularly profile and rear 3/4. Shame about the engine, imagine what even the low-rung 70-100hp econobox engines of 2019 would do for it.
Nice car Tatra. While living in Angola West Africa many years ago, imported French cars were well represented among the locally assembled Ladas. Never a Panhard though.
Don’t fret your age. After 40 the kisses get sweeter, the sunsets prettier, the food tastier and wine more intoxicating. Enjoy your next 40 with the benefit of wisdom from the mistakes of your first 40!
Happy Birthday, Tatra! I have never considered doing posts specifically for my birthday. I am, however, no stranger to “passionate puff pieces” on my favorites (as I displayed earlier this week with the ’41 Studebaker President). And I have distant memories of 40. It is all about your point of view. 40 looks pretty appealing to a guy who is in the final approach to 60. 🙂
I love the styling of these. I don’t find them objectively beautiful, but I do find them fascinating – in the way I find styling from Chrysler products of the early 1960s fascinating. There are so many things to take in. They may not be objectively beautiful to these American eyes, but they are oh, so French (which is a great thing).
I have decided that I like the idea of driving a Panhard more than I would like actually driving one. A buzzy, vibrating air cooled twin is just not something that puts me in my happy place. It is a terrible shame that a larger powerplant was never fitted. And also a shame that Citroen locked Panhard up in the castle and starved it to death.
And I had never noticed the multiple variations in these, so thank you for the education.
I like these Panhard cars and Citroens, 40 was a great age to reach congrats, I blew through the 60 barrier last year, never expected to last this long but hey its fun French cars are like a terminal disease after owning a few its very hard to down grade to anything else so I wont bother and as long as the supply of used Citroens or Peugeots doesnt dry up here I wont have to, Panhards are in very short supply round here though, horrifically expensive new and as you said they dont do hills very well, so nobody bought them, its a shame some of those Citroen powered hybrids didnt see production,
Between the Panhard Dyna and the Citroen DS it feels like French cars came from another planet. The Panhard 24CT’s formula of a small engine in lightweight structure was tailor made to own the 24 Hours of Le Mans Index of Performance, and they did until Lotus showed up
Dad always boasted that nothing drove like his Z12 Tigre did, which was a pastel lila car with Tiger print upholstery, my kid brother was almost born in it on the way to hospital. My mother hated that darn thing !
I had a 24 BT years ago, the T stands for Tigre, the Powerrrrrrrful flat twin.
Well not !I am afraid, on the flat Dutch roads it goes reasonably well but the engine was this cars Achilles heel. These cars are so under powered.
Mine was a 67 model with disc brakes all around in duck egg green (vert eau as they call in in the Dordogne) and red vinyl upholstery.
The road holding and brakes of a BT 24 are great, the problem is the engine, it is very hard to live with it. It growls and frowns and shutters when running stationary, actually these engines idle like a race car engine with hot camshafts, it needs to revv, as a result of this Panhards are rather hopeless in traffic jams. Then there is the danger of breaking your crankshaft, the BT 24 was the only car I ever had with a rev counter with 2 red zones one for high revs and one for (too) low revs, in a way it represents the art of driving, you have to be on your toes when the engine is cold, treat it like a ballerina.
This is actually the main reason I sold the car, I live in the west of Holland where the majority of people are stressed, very stressed. And a cold Panhard means a bit of struggling, the man I sold the car to lived somewhere deep in the German countryside where these cars belong thanks to their fabulous road holding.
It is one of three cars I still regret I sold, these are so beautifully equipped for a car made in sixties Europe, orange side indicators installed in the doors, courtesy lights on the door handles, twin headlights those beautiful huge Jaeger gauges a Jaeger clock in the lid of the glove box they were designed to meet with a Buick Riviera but made in Europe !
The designer Louis Bionnier was an old man when he designed the 24 series but he openl admited he was impressed by the design of the Chevrolet Corvair. Actually the Corvair’s design was the benchmark for many European designers, if you look at Pininfarina and Peugeot, the 404 had American styling with its small fins, the 504 was much leaner and meaner,
Of course the 24 were not successful, the car was too expensive for what it delivered, to complicated to become a massive success.
But now so many years later should a real bargain 24 cross my path I ‘d be tempted to buy it but then I would definitely fit it with the engine it really deserves, no not a Citroen SM Maserati V6 like in the picture, no but I’d install the power plant of a Subaru Impreza 1600. A water cooled flat-four that won’t disturb the delicate FWD balance of the 24.
The Subaru is Yin with its ugly shape, the BT 24 is Yang having this wonderful model and beautiful interior.
I have always preferred the longer sleek lines of the BT24 over the rather short CT model, but who am I ?
Ow dear Jason Shafer : we are working on the 131 Abarth but it will not be ready for the start of this rally season, the car was not used for such a long time that gremlins keep popping up, tomorrow we are getting a new brake servo but I am making pictures of the car to write and article about it. Avanti !
There was a PL17 for sale in Germany in 2018 fitted with an Alfasud engine, annoyingly I cannot find the pictures, but it was an exellent fit and must have gone well. There is currently a CT running in Holland with an electric motor and I have seen PL17s fitted with VW and Renault 4 engines.
I’m currently waiting for an engine for my own project.
I always wondered what the story was on Panhard, once again these articles never disappoint.
I wonder if GM used this design as inspiration when designing the Oldsmobile Achieva, the profile and proportions, the roofline of the coupe, the curved rear end, and even the square rear wheel openings on the sedans seem similar enough to not be accidental.
Happy birthday! 40 is the new 25, I’ve heard…
Thank you for a very enjoyable read about a car I’ve always admired.
Being reminded of Citroën’s deliberate sabotage almost made what came afterwards feel like justice being served. Being handed a ready-made solution to your financial and product planning problems, and then just discarding it like that… why? Citroën’s whole future could have been different if they’d just developed the 24 to its potential. A little bit more investment could have netted them a range of cars to expand their reach while being weird enough to qualify as true Citroëns. What a waste.
Hey, happy b-day! I’m heading toward the next big milestone after yours…
Love the Panhards, I always get the ridiculous free-assocation feeling that they were heavily influenced by The Jetsons and even more so after seeing the design sketches you posted, but of course the Panhard predates the show a bit. Still, if George Jetson were on Earth in the early 1960’s, I think he’d visually be drawn to the Panhard. 🙂
Thanks for the deep dive, I will re-digest it over the weekend in the wee hours, this is great and congrats on finding the two-fer!
What a start to a day – my favourite CC author writing on one of my favourite cars!
Living deep in the wilds of rural Australia I’ve never seen a Panhard of course, but my mind goes back to a little book of cars I had as a boy, one of those mid-sixties British books which showed a lot of cars we never saw here. The Panhard 24 looked so different, like something from another planet. Of course I wanted to know more!
Happy Birthday T87, and may you have many more of them!
The aerodynamic Panhard 24 was a beautiful & advanced sports coupe, it’s a shame a convertible, 4dr, and wagon were not produced.
I’ve always loved the design of this car. It was definitely a factor in my choice of my second car a few years ago, the 4th generation Celica.
That prototype with the twin cam Citroën engine would have been something, had it made production in some form.
I totally agree with other comments that it was a shame that Citroën smothered Panhard. An expanded and developed range with a sedan and that great looking wagon with a more powerful engine like a flat 4 to plug the gap in their range was a wasted opportunity.
I can now see the inspiration for the facelifted DS headlight design.
Thanks for this long-overdue close look at a most seductive car. As one who is attuned to efficiency, the Panhard twins were always on my radar, but the 24 was in the cross-hairs, thanks to its design and taking the concept to its ultimate conclusion. Although I must say it’s been a highly virtual attraction, as I’m afraid I’ve yet to encounter a 24 in the flesh, unless I’m missing something. I’m quite certain there weren’t any at the Lane Museum, which seems surprising in retrospect.
Here’s to many more!
The Lane Museum does list a 1966 24BT among the eight (!) Panhard vehicles in their collection.
Although with as many cars as they have it is very easy to get overwhelmed by all the goodness on display and underground! Actually I know they’ve added some more since I was last there and some of the ones I know were there at the time are not listed any longer, the 24 could certainly be a more recent addition.
thanks for gifting us on your birthday! (2 words: saw palmetto 😉)your taste is exquisite as always.
i would love to see a modern fwd air-cooled car. i know it’s supposed to be impossible but there is a custom outfit in cali that builds vw boxers with fuel injection. they recently outfitted the komblife bus with 98 hp “expedition ready” version that is a lot more robust than the boxers of yore.
There are many clubs around the world for the presevation of these unique cars, and yes , there are a couple of cars in Australia too. Check out http://panhardusa.org/ for links to the UK club and others. I’m currently rebuilding a CT here in the UK Tatra, and I’m 66. The joints ain’t what they used to be but all part of life. Thanks for a great article. Adrian
Ca. 1976 I was walking around Berkeley, California, and I saw an immaculate red and black 24 pull into a parking space. I asked the driver where he got parts, and he said, “Paris.” Only 24 I’ve seen close up.
The valve springs in the flat twin were torsion bars. There was supposed to be some engineering advantage to this, but I forget what it was.
Here’s a PL17 that I photographed at the car show where I photographed the ’51 Lancia Aurelia sedan:
Love the PL17 pics!
Re: torsion bars – I read it minimizes unsprung weight, reducing inertial resistance, and allowing higher revs. The clever engine design makes it such a pity it wasn’t developed further.
A friend recently purchased one of the Deutsch-Bonnet Formula Junior racers (intended for F1, but vastly underpowered, w/ its smaller-than-formula 850cc). I may soon be involved more intimately with the details of this engine than I could have ever imagined.
Great article, Tatra87! The 24CT’s blend of clever functionality, with so much “adopted” by Citroen, the unique aesthetics, and (as you say) S2 Corvair-like beauty, is stunning. I may be late to your party, but that doesn’t diminish my appreciation for your write up one bit! CC is a wonderful – and new to me – site.
Frank – in SF, CA
Thanks a million for all you kind words and good wishes, everybody!
The effects of the birthdays party have now worn off, but I’m glad I made it to middle age. From now on, it’s surely downhill all the way. Which is good, right?
Busy putting together a rather big Deadly Sins post — website permitting… So see you soon and thank you again.
Ye olde T87
These were apparently the stylistic inspiration for the 1985 T160 Celica, Toyota’s first FWD Celica.
The Toyota Publica sports had virtually a copy of the Panhard flat twin engine
Thank you for the great photos and write up. I am very interested in the X4 engine, should more information arise. I understand that the cylinders were bored in a very slight conical (truncated) shape. Smaller near the combustion chamber when cold but when hot the cylinder would expand and clearances of the piston would be uniform from top dead center to bottom dead center. Since air cooled engines had greater temperature variations than liquid cooled engines, this variable clearance improved performance and reduced noise and blow by.
I admit to feeling honored that my post will be right after my favorite automotive writer, Ate Up With Motor.
I had the great pleasure of encountering one of these lovely Panhards at Charles Gould’s microcar meet in metro Boston, several years ago. This margarita-filled weekend also welcomes the unusual car, no matter what size, and a stunning Panhard 24 — in that gorgeous, darkish, wine tinted gray only found on Euro cars of the period — took part in the Sunday climb up to the top of Mount Wachusett. We were sidelined on a country road while the meet’s volunteer road crew flat-bedded a dead participant, so I slid out of my Cinquecento to join a small group buzzing around the Panhard, whose owner was elsewhere. Memories tend to evolve toward fantasy over time, and my recollection is that we became obsessed with the coupe’s glove compartment door thermometer. It seemed to be meant to read the temperature not of the cabin, but of the well behind it. Coupled with discovery of an unusually narrow and deep box, Francophilian speculation flew to a theory that the whole might have been intended for storage and monitoring of several bottles of fine Chateauneuf-du-pape…
4 years since I last posted here, and my CT still isn’t ready for the road ! House moves etc have been one problem, money ( as always) another but my latest problem is that glove box mentioned was an attraction for a rat who set up home behind the dash and chewed it’s way into the cardboard glove box. It has also chewed wires, so now I have to remove the dash again, big job. On the plus side I do have an engine now ! Fingers crossed next year it will be finished.
Lovely to race, cheap to buy and run! Join the club for parts & help.