The work performed by the French firm of Panhard et Levassor aided in the technical evolution of the automobile. The work that they did and the innovations that they produced helped acceleration the popularity of the automobile.
Automobile production in France had its advantages. The roadways were far superior to many other countries which led to a quicker acceptance of the automobile. Racing soon became popular, as did car clubs. Racing became one of the major means of advertisements, and it was often said that how an automobile finished during the weekend dictated the sales during the weekday.
There was a close working relationship between Emile Levassor and Gottlieb Daimler. Both were mechanically gifted and together designed and created some of the earliest known examples of the combustion engine. Experimentation and perfection continued during the 1890's. Levassor preferred placing the engine in the front of the vehicle while Daimler's designs had the engine located under the seat.
During an automobile race in 1897, Levassor was seriously injured and died a short time after. The company continued to produce automobiles but their importance in the automotive industry declined. In 1965 it was taken over by Citroen SA.
This 1897 2-seat Panhard ET Levassor is very unique and one of the oldest enclosed automobiles in the world. The engine is located in the front with some of the brass components visible. The wheels are large and wooden. The vehicle is very narrow and tall with a small length. It still wears its original color scheme of yellow, black, and green.By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008