Daily demonstrations at 11am, free with admission!

Panhard Dyna X85- 1950


The Panhard Dyna X series of autos was quite a departure for Panhard et Levassor, maker of large luxury cars prior to WWII. Under the post-war Pons Plan, a directive from senior civil servant Jean-Marie Pons of the Ministry of Industrial Production, France realized that there were too many vehicle manufacturers to survive the new economy. Only a handful were chosen to survive, either on their own or in forced partnership with others.


Citroën, Renault, Peugeot, and Simca were all healthy, with small cars under development. Panhard was initially left out in the cold, but when the Big Four declined Jean-Albert Grégoire’s revolutionary AF-G (Aluminum Française-Grégoire) prototype, Jean Panhard bought the design and rights from government-backed Aluminum Française, which had paid for the design and prototype. This development meant that Panhard would be allocated raw materials to continue building cars, and survived under the Pons Plan.


Grégoire’s design used a small, 350cc air-cooled flat twin ahead of the front axle, in an aluminum-framed and –bodied car. While very light, it was also costly and time-consuming to build. Panhard revised the design, rearranging the drivetrain layout a bit, enlarging the engine, and modifying the frame and floors to utilize some cheaper steel stampings. Weight went up, but so did power, with an overall performance increase. Grégoire did not care for the changes, but there was little he could do. He maintained that development of his design would have been cheaper in the long run, and would have saved Panhard enough francs to stave off Citroën’s takeover in 1955.


The car seen here uses aluminum castings and stampings. The large hoop around the windshield is a continuous casting with the firewall. To it are bolted rails front and rear to support the body and drivetrain, with steel floors, dash, and fenders; the rest of the body is aluminum. The Hodot family of France, later Florida, owned the car from 1973-2016, when the museum acquired it.


While the Dyna X was a success for Panhard, it was 40% more expensive than Citroen’s and Renault’s small cars, and accounted for only a small percentage of cars on the road; however, buyers in post-war France were faced with a shortage of cars, not a shortage of francs – they bought everything that was available! The Dyna X gave way to the larger Dyna Z in 1954.


Manufacturer: Société Anonyme des Anciens Etablissements, Panhard et Levassor
Country of Origin: France
Drivetrain Configuration: Front-engine, front-wheel drive
Engine: air-cooled flat-twin, 745cc, 33 hp
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Top Speed: 120 km/h (75 mph)
Years Produced: 1946-54
Number Produced: 47,049
Cost: 695,000 FF (about $2000 USD)