Panhard et Levassor Phaeton with Canopy
At the end of the 19th century a car was used for parading rather than to get from A to B; especially in a cloth-upholstered Panhard & Levassor such as this one, which was relatively easy to steer thanks to its short wheelbase.
However, driving longer distances was also possible: a car of this type won one of the first motor races in the world, a long-distance race of no less than 1,200 kilometres. This Paris-Bordeaux-Paris race was won by the car’s designer, Emile Levassor on the 13th of June 1895 in an identical model, a 1.2-litre, twin-cylinder with hot tube ignition. He drove the entire distance in 48 hours and 48 minutes, averaging 24 km/h, finishing six hours ahead of the number two. During the race Levassor had only one bowl of soup, a couple of sandwiches and a glass of champagne by way of nourishment.
This car has never been restored since it left the factory in Paris in 1895. Panhard & Levassor, one of the oldest car manufacturers in the world, was already offering a choice of some twenty car models before the turn of the century, including two-seaters, hunting cars and even buses.