Still loyal to the non-valve engine, the old company Panhard et Levassor produced an original model in 1936 which distinguishes itself from the production of competitors by its baroque style and certain avant-garde technical solutions. This type that was designed and drawn under the auspices of the engineer Louis Bionier was produced in two six-cylinder engine versions: the 130 or X76 type at 2.5 litres and the 140 or X77 type with a 2.86 litre engine (16 CV/75 hp). These are large and comfortable luxury models (6/7 seats), renowned for their silence. They are also monocoque cars, a solution that Citroën was the only one to use in France. The Dynamic, which was the commercial name, was also innovative with independent front wheels with torsion bars and overlaid triangles (as on current supercars), the upper suspension arms being hinged onto the engine (a modern F1 solution).
A particular feature of the first Dynamics was that their almost central steering, with which no one was happy, was abandoned at the end of 1938. As for the hydraulically controlled brakes, they already had independent circuits. These major innovations on a technical level are masked by an innovative aerodynamic style which divides opinion. Too big for some, it is above all modern for others with its rounded fenders and window pillars taken from the Panoramic. In 1938, a six-window limousine came to complete the selection of saloons, coaches, coupés and convertibles that can be provided with a partition, whereas an X80 (or 160) version with a 3.84 litre engine (22 CV/100 hp) completed the top of the range while the X76 disappeared. These grand limousines are a favourite of high level French officials. As for 1939, the X77 became the X81 with left-hand drive and the X80 became the X82. A year later, it was the Army that chose the Dynamic for transportation of high-ranking military officials including the generalissimo Gamelin and his retinue. According to Panhard archives quoted by F. Vauvilliers in his book “The car in uniform” (Massin Publishing House, Paris 1992), Panhard provided the Army with 182 X81 and X82 Dynamics. These so-called “great liaison” cars were requisitioned at the factory in September 1939 and used as they were before being repainted in army green, including the chrome, when the threat from the air became clear. This order of limousines came along with that of combat vehicles and lorries that had already been mass ordered with Panhard.
According to the “club des Doyennes Panhard et Levassor” this example is the only known known six-window limousine with a driver partition. The car has been extensively restored by Pascal Le Gallet in Tapenasse, the engine rebuilt by René Pujet (formerly of Panhard), the seating by Atout Sellerie in Glezet, the chrome in Lyon (the electrics are also completely new).
This unique car has recently captivated audiences at the 2017 Schloss Dyck Masterpieces and Style concours event, and with good reason. An amazing looking car, and very well presented indeed.