The models of the years 20 to 1940

The end of the 20’s and the 30’s, modernity and decline …

At the end of the 1920s, the French automotive landscape changed a lot. The manufacturers are still numerous but some are out of the lot by evolving towards the big series with a “modern”, “scientific” organization of their factories. New players have also emerged, such as Citroën, bringing with them many industrial innovations, often coming from the United States.

Since 1926 Panhard & amp; Levassor is committed to the six-cylinder engine, without any valve! The 10CV X59 is much too expensive compared to competitors like the Citroën C6. It will be a commercial failure but its engine will be the basis of all the subsequent evolutions until the Dynamic.


The series “S”: 6DS, 6CS, 8DS (1929-1938)

Panhard & Levassor began a rationalization of its range by abandoning the intermediate models for which the competition is too harsh. Very quickly the 4-cylinder engines disappear (and forever) cars of the mark.

At the 1930 show, the new Panhard & Levassor 6DS X66 20CV impresses. It is probably one of the most beautiful cars presented with its very elegant low-profile due to the new stylist house Louis Bionier.


This is a total break with previous productions. Panhard & Levassor is entering an era of modernity, but also of crisis that the dean brand will never really succeed in overcoming.

The new 6DS is designed with great care and immediately becomes a reference.

Apart from the engine, derived from the all-new six-cylinder, everything is new! The chassis has an elaborate structure, forming a very low-profile, indeformable frame. The floor has double walls, providing multiple storage spaces for batteries or tooling. The 6DS is the first car equipped with an anti-roll bar, still known today as the “Panhard bar” …

The gearbox is a new four-speed transmission, all “silent”.

The 6DS is quickly backed by an exclusive eight-cylinder 8DS 29CV type X67 and the smaller 6CS 13CV, type X68 and 6CS Special 14 CV type X69


1931-X67ss 1931-X68

At entry-level a project of 4CS equipped with a small engine with four cylinders of 11CV will be considered but will not have a continuation. The page of the cars equipped with a four-cylinder engines is definitely shot at Panhard & amp; Levassor.

The “small” 6CS will obviously represent the bulk of production, while the production of the old models ceases rapidly.

In 1932, the series “S” evolved with a system of freewheel and servo disengagement acting on the clutch by the sole effect of the accelerator. Then a new front suspension with pendulum was introduced in 1933. But it is nothing beside the revolution of 1934: the body “Panoramique”.


From a distance, the Panoramic body remains close to the old bodywork, but everything is new. The most obvious, it is well-on the small windows very curved framing the windscreen. The windscreens, very thin, are doubled. The forward visibility is total, without any blind angle, while maintaining the rigidity of the body.

In fact, all the bodywork has changed: lower awning, enlarged doors, reversed opening direction, side windows in chrome-plated steel, slightly inclined windscreen, enlarged rear window, new wings, slightly modified grille …

This series then represents the pinnacle of automotive elegance and will be produced until 1938.

The Dynamic (1936-1940)

In 1936, Panhard & Levassor shook his bourgeois and traditional clientele with the extravagant Dynamic. The moment could not have been worse: the People’s Front has just come to power and social movements erupt everywhere! Showing up with a big car also showy is not the goal of the traditional clientele of the house, anxious for discretion and expecting better days.

1936-Dynamic catalogue
In May 1936, the finances of the dean brand were at their lowest level while the factory was occupied by strikers in full launch of the new model! After a laborious start-up, the brand hopes for a good commercial start … which does not come! Dynamic sells poorly. The brand survives only through the production of utilities and public procurement, especially for the army.

1936-Dynamic Haut
The Dynamic is extraordinary. It receives the first self-supporting aerodynamic body on a luxury car. Handling and comfort are staggering, thanks to an independent suspension at the front, with torsion bars on all four wheels. Braking is hydraulic, with two separate circuits at the front and rear.

Still today the road behavior is exemplary.

1936-Dynamic coque

The panoramic panes are obviously present but the windows of the front doors are also curved.

The body is particularly spacious, with 1.55m internal width, accommodating 6 to 7 people. One of the particularities of this car is its steering wheel in almost central position, at a time when the supporters of driving on the right and left still clash. In fact this solution has only disadvantages and will disappear in 1939, with the passage of the steering wheel to the left.

1936-Dynamic interieur 1937-Dynamic cabriolet

First introduced in Dynamic 130 14CV type X76 and Dynamic 140 16CV type X77, it will soon be backed by a powerful Dynamic 160 22CV type X80, while the X76, under motorized, disappears.

Over the course of his career, Dynamic will evolve relatively little, going in the direction of simplification. But sales do not take off!

In 1939, the presentation is still simplified, touching the austerity, while the direction passes to the left. The types X77 and X80 become respectively X81 and X82.

With the declaration of war and occupation, the production of the Dynamic will be interrupted. Projects existed to power the Dynamic with a valve engine, of Hotchkiss origin.

Some Dynamics will be assembled until 1948, with remains of pieces left in the factories, but the tools were destroyed during the bombings.

The time is for reconstruction and austerity. The small Dyna in aluminum with two-cylinder engine will take over: a cultural revolution after years of high-end …




Dynamic X77 from the Baillon collection sold for € 37,000 in February 2015 in Paris during the Rétromobile show

And today ? The Survivors!

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