For Sale: 1908 Grand Prix Panhard–Levassor
Unique, stunning, and absolutely awesome, this 1908 Grand Prix Panhard–Levassor is up for sale over at Fiskens.
The four cylinder, twelve and a half litre beast raced in the 1908 French Grand Prix at Dieppe. Each of the endurance race’s ten laps was nearly fifty miles long and the huge crowds of spectators that lined the course were treated to the spectacle of these amazing machines averaging up to eighty miles per hour on loose gravel roads. Pioneers!
The international event saw the likes of Mercedes, Benz, Opel, Itala, Fiat, Austin and Thomas bringing cars to compete. In the end it was Mercedes and Benz that formed the leading teams, swapping wheels and rubber to keep the lap times low. Panhard–Levassor and Maurice Farman in number 32, this machine, kept pace with the front-runners and dabbled in the leading pack, but were ultimately bested by them. Mercedes took the top spot, followed by two Benz entries.
Rules for the 1908 race stipulated that cars weigh a minimum of 1100 kilograms and have a cylinder bore no greater than 155 millimeters. This is a lot of millimeters.
Disagreements on the rules for the next race meant that another Grand Prix was not staged until 1912, when it was agreed that a three-litre capacity restriction would be put in place. This put mighty machines like this Panhard–Levassor out of contention, and signaled the end of a glorious era.
Power from the Panhard–Levassor’s four cylinders and twelve and a half litres was transfered through a four-speed gearbox to a double-chain drive – check ‘em out by the rear wheels. Chunky. This setup will apparently push the Panhard–Levassor to a top speed of one hundred miles per hour.
Following the 1908 race the car was equipped for road and race events and run until 1930. It resurfaced in ’72 in extremely original condition and was purchased by its current owner, who took on the responsibility of having it restored and preserved.
A true drive to the track, compete and drive home machine, the current owner has driven it from England to events in Bordeaux, Le Mans and all around Europe and driven home again. What a legend!
It’s up for sale at Fiskens and you can devour more information about it here.
Images via Fiskens