1901 Panhard et Levassor 7hp Twin-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau
Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 1, 2019
This is a car with a story. It was ordered new by Chevalier Rene de Knyff, a Belgian who happened to be one of the most successful racing drivers of his era. He won five of the 18 races he entered between 1897 and 1903. And remember, in those days, a race was held between two cities.
He also happened to be the president of Panhard after Mr. Levassor’s death in 1897. He drove Panhards in competition and ordered this one especially for himself. It is said that the car was one of the most well-built Panhards of its day, with de Knyff putting his best people on its assembly.
Power is from a seven-horsepower twin-cylinder engine, likely of 1.6-liters in capacity. The body is from J. Rothschild. The car is finished in light blue over a bordello-esque gorgeous red cloth. Named The Blue Butterfly, the car was purchased from Panhard/de Knyff by an Englishman who paid an exorbitant sum, as de Knyff didn’t really want to sell it all.
Its trail goes quiet until the 1920s when it is made apparent by the car’s next owner that it is very much still road-registered. It competed in the inaugural London-to-Brighton commemorative run. In 1927. It did it again in 1928.
And it’s done it 60 more times, 25 of which over the last 27 years with its current owner. This was considered a racing car in its day, with a “semi-racing” engine and a “lightweight” body. Only 992 6/7HP Panhards were built, and this is likely the most well-traveled and most famous among them. It is expected to fetch between $250,000-$320,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Update: Sold $573,410.