Home » The Sleekest Two-Cylinder Car You’ll See Today: Cold Start

The Sleekest Two-Cylinder Car You’ll See Today: Cold Start

Cs Panhardcd
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Are you familiar with the Panhard CD? It’s a remarkable car. I mean, all Panhards are kind of remarkable, but this one just sort of takes all the remarkable of ’50s and ’60s-era Panhards and distills it down into its pure, concentrated form, which is the Panhard CD, and probably would be dangerous if ingested. Designed by sports car designer Charles Deutsch (of DB/Deutsch-Bonnet fame), the Panhard CD was the production version of the CD Dyna designed and built for the 1962 24 Hours of Le Mans. The production version had a fiberglass body with an incredibly low of 0.22. Even better, the sleek car was powered by an air-cooled Panhard flat-twin engine, like they always used, making either 49 horsepower, or, in Rallye form, a ravenous 59 hp.

Oh and that Oscar Wilde quote on there? Here’s the translation:

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

“Beauty cannot be discussed, it reigns by divine right. It makes anyone who owns it a prince.”

My friend who knows Oscar Wilde like the back of her hand didn’t recognize this one, but it seems to be from The Portrait of Dorian Gray.

 

Cs Panhardcd Cutaway

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Only built from 1963 to 1965, about 179 of these were built. Think about how badass you had to be back then, and how sophisticated your car tastes would have been, to have looked at the vast selection of showy V8 grand touring cars out there and picked a sleek French FWD sports car with a meager two cylinders.

Cs Panhardcd 2up

Look at that smug pipe-smoking bastard there; he knows exactly how cool he is, and he’s right. No arguments here.

For something so refined and sleek, the cover of the brochure is strangely crude, reveling in its own roughness:

Cs Panhardcd Cover

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Is that metal slag? Did they get a welder to weld those badges to a metal slab and then drip molten metal all over the place? I love it.

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Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
8 months ago

It could really have used some headlight covers like on old E-types, Porsche 904 or old Alfa Spiders

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
8 months ago

She’s a looker.

Also… why aren’t fender skirts a thing anymore? They can be done tastefully, even add to the overall design, as proven here.
I mean, modern car design is continuously leaning further and further against the wind tunnel, always looking for more aerodynamics. Can we bring back spats already? It simply doesn’t make sense that automakers seem to have an illogical aversion to them.
I haven’t seen them on a new design since the Honda Insight.

Jerry Thomas
Jerry Thomas
8 months ago

Honda Clarity

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
8 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Thomas

That’s a very short skirt. I prefer the classic look of just showing a little ankle.

Last edited 8 months ago by Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
8 months ago

“leaning further and further *into the wind”

ScottyB
ScottyB
8 months ago

I knew it was a Panhard from the side profile because of those little MPC injection molded plastic cars sold in bags or boxes, issued circa 1961/1962… those things aren’t just toys, they’re a crash course in automotive history.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
8 months ago

Just wow.
Make the headlamps & fogs round, remove the fender skirts, shove a bigger engine in back – and you have an Alpine 110

OverlandingSprinter
OverlandingSprinter
8 months ago

To my eyes, the side and rear of the Panhard is stunning in a good way. The front view is stunning in a not-good way.

Larry B
Larry B
8 months ago

I want to live long enough to see one in person. Also, I think the Wilde quote is really something about driving in the Detroit rain.

Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
8 months ago

I would hang that brochure cover on my wall.

Fjord
Fjord
8 months ago

I’m not sure DB ever made, or was associated with, a single car that wasn’t weird and awesome.

Marc Miller
Marc Miller
8 months ago

Learned something new today: Deutsch Bonnet!

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
8 months ago

It’s really unfortunate that Panhard didn’t survive into the present.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
8 months ago

Round headlights would draw closer comparisons to the Citroen DS design. This almost looks like a truncated DS.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
8 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

DB’s first cars were lightweight aerodynamic racers using Traction Avant engines and other bits and bobs, and Panhard was later purchased by Citroën. I always assumed that Deutsch’s aerodynamic thinking influenced Bertoni but perhaps it worked both ways.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
8 months ago

“Is that metal slag? Did they get a welder to weld those badges to a metal slab and then drip molten metal all over the place?”

At a guess it’s meant to be evocative of the works of Rodin.

ES
ES
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

i once was shown around a printing museum. next to one of the presses or typesetting machines was a bucket of formerly molten lead which had solidified with a strangely irregular surface. the image above reminds me of that.

Slower Louder
Slower Louder
8 months ago
Reply to  ES

You have the right answer.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

All of Panhard’s 1964 brochures have this look – I hadn’t seen this particular brochure before and I am somewhat surprised at CD and Panhard having such a unified marketing effort.
https://picclick.fr/Catalogue-Brochure-Panhard-17-1964-France-265334214508.html

Jim Stark
Jim Stark
8 months ago

I don’t know, my 2CV is pretty sleek!

Chronometric
Chronometric
8 months ago

I wonder if pipe boy’s girl stayed in the car after she discovered the 2-cycle smoke, chainsaw noise, and lack of cupholders.

Last edited 8 months ago by Chronometric
Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
8 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

These are four-stroke engines, so yes, that sort of smoke and noise would be somewhat alarming.

Tim Cougar
Tim Cougar
8 months ago

How French is the Panhard CD? There are only 3 on IMCDb, and 2 of those are parked along the Champs-Élysées. That French.

Slower Louder
Slower Louder
8 months ago

This car crowds my brain.
It gives a fragile vibe like the birdcage Maserati. I imagine bad crumpling in a crash.
That nose! Those rectangular lights with the extreme sexiness of the lower-case “panhard!” Can it be that no rock band ever slouched in front of this car on an album cover? That’s a loss!
As to the brochure, clearly the designers were allowed to run wild on the car. This probably extended to the brochure, which wants to emphasize the hard in Panhard. Or maybe geological hardpan?
Does anybody remember that Cream had a song “NSU” on their first album? (“Driving in my car! Smoking my cigar! The only time I’m happy’s when I play my guitar!”)
Enough. Everybody have a nice day.

Dar Khorse
Dar Khorse
8 months ago

I had a Deutsch Bonnet once. It was from Bavaria and made of felt. Made my head sweat like crazy though.

I have to agree with W124 about the headlights, though.
https://imgflip.com/i/7znz4a

W124
W124
8 months ago

I love quirky French stuff as much as anyone (hell, I’ve winter beatered a Renault 6 once) but those squaerish front lights are just horrible on an otherwise very attractive and sleek little car. Looks like the racing version, LM, got that much better handled with round aero covers. Also, the LM got supercharger attached to it’s flat twin!

Last edited 8 months ago by W124
10001010
10001010
8 months ago
Reply to  W124

Counterpoint: I’m a sucker for rectangular headlights and think they look awesome!

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
8 months ago
Reply to  10001010
Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

You’re not wrong. Also, your car is egregiously, nay, irredeemably French. I love it.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
8 months ago
Reply to  10001010

Où est la bibliothèque?

Those rectangular lenses give it sexy librarian vibes.

W124
W124
8 months ago
Reply to  10001010

Well, I’m not completely against square healights (actually, I love many square hedlights) but in this context those just doesn’t work for me.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
8 months ago
Reply to  W124

I just looked up a Panhard LM. What a weird looking car! It came first, but it sure looks like the French version of the Chrysler wing cars.

Toecutter
Toecutter
8 months ago
Reply to  W124

Compare the drag coefficient of the production version, with a Cd of 0.22, to the racing version(1967 Panhard CD Peugeot 66C), which had a Cd of 0.13.

We need a modern lightweight sportscar with a Cd of 0.13 and Miata-like frontal area. You could put almost any LS V8 engine into such a thing and regarding highway fuel economy, it would probably out-do the Prius.

Mike Hess
Mike Hess
8 months ago

We need more French cars in the US. Give me more weird. I could care less about the ‘new’ Atlas. I fell asleep just hearing there was a refresh.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
8 months ago

Didn’t these win/invent the category and then win the Index of Efficiency at LeMans?

ExAutoJourno
ExAutoJourno
8 months ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

IIRC, there were two “indexes:” Index of Performance, and Index of Thermal Efficiency, both based on fuel consumption and some weird French math equation that I never understood. Panhard (or, to be more accurate, Panhard-powered Deutsch-Bonnets) won both, often.

For having such tiny engines, these things could make some speed. Light weight and low drag will do that for you.

Chronometric
Chronometric
8 months ago
Reply to  ExAutoJourno

French math and French rules mean exactly what French race officials decide they mean at any particular moment in time. Ask Colin Chapman!

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