1900(Circa) Panhard & Levassuer

The Collection’s exhibit

Mystery surrounds the early days of Shuttleworth’s Panhard & Levassor. The car is currently officially dated as being a 1900 model, but it may have been constructed some years earlier.

Richard Shuttleworth believed it to be built in 1897 and that the car came 4th in the Paris-Amsterdam race of 1898, driven by Réné de Knyff. Recent information from the official Panhard (now Peugeot) archives reveals the car was sold in September 1900 by the factory to a Monsieur Dubonnet of Ave. Henri Martin, then a wealthy area of Paris.

At some later time the car was re-bodied by Morgan and Company, of Leighton Buzzard, in the brougham style (enclosed passenger compartment with open seat for the chauffeur) and was the first motor carriage to be owned by a member of the British based Rothschild banking family.

There are reports that King Edward VII was driven ‘to Ascot’ in the car in 1901. It was long assumed this referred to Ascot Races but the destination may well have been Ascott (House) near Leighton Buzzard which was the country residence of Leopold de Rothschild.

Richard Shuttleworth purchased the car in 1928 from Frank Webb’s garage in Leighton Buzzard and it became the first exhibit in the vehicle collection. Richard intended to drive it on the London to Brighton Run of that year but the day before the start Panhard said they were unable to prepare the car.  Working overnight in a London garage Richard and his friend Jimmy Edmunds got the car ready and completed the distance without problems with four passengers aboard. Since then it has completed the Run on numerous occasions, including in 2019 (pictured below at Madeira Drive, Brighton – copyright Rory Cook).

Further investigations into the car’s history continue.

In 1891 the Paris based company of Rene Panhard and Emile Levassor produced four identical, four-wheel, models with V-twin engines of 817cc, the first of a marque that was to be in continuous car production until 1967.

Manufacturer: Societe Panhard et Levassor, Paris
Model: Brougham body by Morgan and Co, Leighton Buzzard
Engine: 8hp (or 12hp?) Daimler Phoenix 4 Cylinder, water cooled
Top Speed: 30 mph

The Shuttleworth Collection received the 2019 Harrods Heritage Award (pictured below – image copyright The Royal Automobile Club) for the restoration of this vehicle. The award is given in recognition of the best restoration or heritage project, achieved by the skill and hard work of the volunteers who are the vehicle team.

This exhibit is part of the Richard Shuttleworth trail.


Celebrity Antiques Road Trip (2019, STV)

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