Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
Illustration for article titled French Friday: Une Voiture avec prestige tres énorme!

Still recovering a bit from last week’s vast amount of shoots and awesome posts (I think I’m not the only one looking at the number of posts this week: It’s a bit slow on LaLD) but French Friday can’t be missed of course. So here it is, quite an innovative machine, the 1958 Panhard Dyna Z12. In Grand Standing trim.

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Une Voiture avec prestige tres énorme!

Which meant it came in two-tone paint as the Grand Standing was the only one getting that. Not sure what else it got but it was an era with very little features anyway. Looking at the antenna it had a radio ;-)

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Une Voiture avec prestige tres énorme!

But never mind it’s trim level. Panhard was a brand that started as Panhard et Levassor in the 18th century already. And they still exist as a subsidiary of Renault Trucks Defense, leading supplier for the French army (and subsidiary of Swedish Volvo!), building light tactical and military vehicles. But this Dyna was one of the last car they built while being “on their own”.

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Une Voiture avec prestige tres énorme!

And what was it that made Panhard that innovative? Well, they’re known for the Panhard rod for example, a solution still used today. Another innovative thing was the fact Panhard’s engines were widely used in racing (Le Mans!!!!) but that’s for another French Friday. This Dyna Z was developed for being light and having good fuel economy. Therefor it’s body was made of aluminium. At first that is.

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Une Voiture avec prestige tres énorme!

Because Aluminium was used a lot in military airplanes during the war and after the war there was a lot of the stuff left. So aluminium was cheap. Panhard wasn’t the only one planning using that: Citroën did plan to go for that route on the 2CV as well.

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Une Voiture avec prestige tres énorme!

When the Z was going into production the situation wasn’t the same anymore though: Aluminium was the same expensive material as it was before. Both Citroën and Panhard switched to steel bodies in a heartbeat. Not that it was that dramatic as the Dyna still had “only” (just like it’s predecessor the Dyna X) a 850cc 2 cylinder boxer engine. Putting out either 42 or 50 hp. Resulting in a very impressive fuel-economy: 6l/100 km. Or 39 mpg. While being able to seat six passengers.

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Une Voiture avec prestige tres énorme!

In 1955 Citroën got a 25% share in Panhard and that boosted sales quite a bit as Panhard could use Citroën’s sales & support network. But Panhard could never really generate a lot of sales due to their most USP: that awesome fuel economy. Fuel wasn’t that expensive yet so the premium for driving such an innovative car would not easily be benefitted from financially.

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Une Voiture avec prestige tres énorme!

Citroën in the meantime took over parts of the production capacity by having their 2CV Fourgonettes (panel vans) produced at Panhard’s. Which led to Panhard’s civilian branch being taken over completely by Citroën in 1967. And after that year no Panhard’s were made anymore. This Dyna Z was stopped being made 8 years before that by the way. And even was exported to the USA.

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Une Voiture avec prestige tres énorme!

The model is an Atlas/Altaya in 1/43 scale. No top-notch quality, if you want that go look somewhere else. What Atlas does offer is a wide variety of obscure French casts for a decent amount of money. These go for less than 10 euros.

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Une Voiture avec prestige tres énorme!

Sure, that antenna looks like it could pick up signals from Mars. Chrome (trim) pieces are too fat. And it doesn’t roll. The exhaust probably is a bit overdone as I’m sure this one breathed out through a straw in real life, as all ‘50's car did. But I just can’t help loving this cast.

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Une Voiture avec prestige tres énorme!

It’s face looks a bit like a fish, a murray eel or something. It’s another brand worth the while researching and learning more about. And maybe Citroën should think about reviving this brand for their biggest line of cars. Although I somehow doubt the C6 to get a successor.

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Une Voiture avec prestige tres énorme!

But maybe Citroën should have made their hybrid line “Panhard”s as I’m still impressed with a 6-seater car of the 50's doing 6 liters in 100 km. Then again, Citroën has such a history already with all these twin boxers of their own. Bon Week-End!!!

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Illustration for article titled French Friday: Une Voiture avec prestige tres énorme!

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