Video Of The Day: Meet Jay Leno’s 1960 Panhard PL 17

Article Written by : Legendary Videos

Following a Paris Motor Show, what better way to start the week than with the ...

Following a Paris Motor Show, what better way to start the week than with the French car created by one of the oldest and most innovative names in the business?

So, meet Jay Leno’s 1960 Panhard PL 17. It’s got the air-cooled pancake engine, but it’s no Volkswagen. Panhard built its first vehicles in the 1890s and continued its business as the luxury manufacturer all the way until the Second World War.

And after that, economic conditions forced all European brands to come up with the something cheaper for the masses. Panhard’s best economy vehicle, the PL 17, debuted in 1959. The Tigre version produced more than 60 hp thanks to its air-cooled, front-mounted flat-twin engine with hemispheric heads and the roller bearing crank.

From 850cc, you got a top speed of almost 100 mph and 40 miles per gallon. Being the front-wheel drive car, the PL 17 could also seat six in relative comfort, with a Panhard-rod suspension at the back, double leaf springs at a front and rack-and-pinion steering.

And instead of chrome, the French used polished aluminum for the car’s trim. Unluckily, when Panhard tried to save even more weight by making entire vehicle bodies out of the expensive material, and bankruptcy soon followed.

Citro├źn acquired the company in 1967, with Panhard continuing today as the military contractor within Renault Trucks’ Defense division.

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Unbelievable. Want another video like that? Check out the one below.