• Home
  • antique-car
  • Panhard Dynavia in the driving report: A car like an alien

Panhard Dynavia in the driving report: A car like an alien

Panhard Dynavia in the driving report
Subscriptions & booklets

F or a trip into the future you sometimes have to go to the Go past. The ideal of an aerodynamic, light and thus fast and at the same time fuel-saving car is of particular importance not only in view of high gasoline prices. It is almost as old as the car itself. Because gasoline has often been a particularly expensive commodity in history, including after the Second World War. No wonder that engineers strived to develop economical vehicles - like the Panhard Dynavia.

Consistently on aerodynamics and Lightweight construction trimmed

Modern injection systems with piezo injectors and high injection pressures did not exist yet, but there was a knowledge of the forces and the influence of wind and weight. Louis Bionier took these aspects to heart when he set out to develop a prototype, the Panhard Dynavia, in 1945. The conditions for him were good. Bionier has been responsible for the body design of the Panhard brand since the early thirties - and as one of the oldest car brands ever, it had already tread unconventional paths several times.

For example, in the thirties Bionier created the extraordinary Dynamic with the sweeping body shapes and the partially covered wheels. With the Panhard Dynavia presented at the Paris Motor Show in 1948, Bionier created a vehicle that was consistently designed for lightweight construction and aerodynamics.

The distinctive teardrop shape of the Panhard Dynavia study, however, makes for a bizarre appearance. The bulbous front section with the centrally placed headlights suggests an encounter with an alien. The fact that the actual main headlights of the Panhard Dynavia are located behind the two slits on the side of the central headlight does not become apparent to the viewer until later when the bonnet is opened. These lamps emit their light through a narrow shaft. Consistent teardrop shape means: thick at the front, narrow at the back. And as voluminous as the front of the Panhard Dynavia is designed, the rear ends, which the forces of the airflow almost at youWants to get a point.

Bionier produced the first model of the Panhard Dynavia immediately after the end of the war. In 1947 he carried out tests with the 1: 5 scale model at the Institut Aérotechnique in Saint-Cyr, a good 230 kilometers southwest of Paris.


In order to keep the weight of the Panhard Dynavia as low as possible, the body was made entirely from Duralinox, an aluminum alloy enriched with copper and magnesium. The Panhard Dynavia only weighs 610 kilograms, an impressive 215 kilograms less than the series Dyna X introduced in 1946 - with a body that offers plenty of room for four.

The later Panhard models PL17 and 24 also reveal some of Bionier's ideas for the Panhard Dynavia - typical style features right up to the end of the brand. When Panhard was taken over by Citroën in 1965, Bionier still created the Dyane as a luxurious version of the 2 CV, then the unconventional designer retired. His efforts to create a particularly aerodynamic body for the Panhard Dynavia are having an effect.

Slippery: drag coefficient of 0.26

With this low drag coefficient, the Panhard Dynavia was able to reach a top speed of 130 km /h, which in view of the modest engine output of 28 hp is quite respectable. Compared to the series Dyna, the Panhard Dynavia was around 30 km /h faster. Panhard built two copies of the Dynavia at the time and even made some parts for a third car, which was never built. According to contemporary documents, a copy of the Panhard Dynavia was sold to a dealer in Grenoble and used by its owner in road traffic.

The Panhard Dynavia is said to have been on the road in Switzerland later and allegedly came to a tragic end in an accident. The other Panhard Dynavia, the only Panhard Dynavia that has survived to this day, entered the fund of the brand with the double angle when the traditional company was taken over by Citroën in 1965.

Today the Panhard Dynavia is on permanent loan to the Musée National de l'Automobile in Mulhouse /Alsace, France. The Panhard Dynavia not only expresses its idiosyncratic character on the outside. When the driver's door, which is hinged at the back, is opened, it reveals a construction with a comparatively narrow chassis over which the bulbous door and the very wide front fender arch. The Panhard Dynavia's windshield, which consists of two halves and is pulled far back, has onedifficult access to episode. It takes articulated movements to wind around the A-pillar through the narrow entry. There the bizarre Frenchman comes up with other oddities.

610 kilograms are driven by 610 cubic centimeters

As if his creator was a fan of Art Nouveau the instruments of the Panhard Dynavia are decorated with plenty of shiny gold. Two round displays are distributed almost horizontally in the cockpit - the speedometer is in the driver's field of vision, the instrument for water temperature, oil and petrol in front of the passenger. As soon as the ignition key is turned, the air-cooled two-cylinder boxer engine in the Panhard Dynavia, measuring just 610 cubic centimeters, comes to life.

The design principle of the Panhard Dynavia engine brings back memories of the Citroën 2 CV, and with the first revolutions of the engine they come to life - the Panhard Dynavia sounds like the blessed duck. And that without any family relationships. Like the 2 CV, the Panhard Dynavia also has a gearshift lever located in the middle of the instrument panel. Instead of stretching out towards the driver in the familiar turret position, however, he hides himself hanging under the instrument panel.

When changing gears, your hand slips into the dark nothingness of the Panhard Dynavia interior and tries tensely to sort the four gears, which are far apart in the invisible backdrop. The unrest that the Panhard Dynavia conveys to its passengers is not exactly a relief. The short wheelbase causes the Panhard Dynavia's body to vibrate excitedly. Meanwhile, behind the three-spoke steering wheel, there is an atmosphere like in an airplane. The extremely curved windshield almost creates the feeling of sitting in an aircraft cockpit.

Reverse parking is a gamble in the Panhard Dynavia

A similarly generous perspective opens up when you look over your shoulder to the rear. However, if you want to reverse into parking with the Panhard Dynavia, you have a moderate problem. The large rear window allows a good view to the rear, but the rear cannot even be made out behind the never-ending parcel shelf. To make things more difficult, the pointed finish lets the end of the Panhard Dynavia move into infinity.

In everyday life, this Panhard Dynavia rear would be as impractical as the huge bonnet. Although made of aluminum, it can only be lifted upwards with a great deal of force - not least because of the numerous attachments. A lot of effort for thatlittle engine that has crumbled in front of the front axle. But practical use is a characteristic that concept cars like the Panhard Dynavia are almost never written into the specifications. Especially not if they are supposed to anticipate the future of the automobile.


Leave a reply

Name *