Le Papillon Bleu

1901 Panhard et Levassor 7hp Twin-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 1, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

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.

1900 Panhard

1900 Panhard et Levassor 16HP Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 6, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The setup of the modern cars we drive can trace their roots back to something designed by Panhard et Levassor around the turn-of-the-century. Their system was simple: four wheels, engine up front, rear-wheel drive, and a transmission. Yeah, they were the first company to use a gearbox… and a steering wheel… and a front-mounted radiator. You get the idea.

This car is powered by a 4.4-liter straight-four engine that was rated at 16 taxable horsepower when new. Only eight of these cars were built between 1899 and 1900. Then, the engine was updated for 1901, and Panhard cranked out 153 additional examples through 1903.

It was restored during British ownership, where it remains, and it has been updated with modern conveniences like an electric starter. It’s a great London-to-Brighton car and should cost its next owner between $315,000-$375,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

1910 Panhard Landaulette

1910 Panhard et Levassor Type X7 Landaulette by Rothschild

Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 3, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

Knowing that this car was sold new in New York City really allows you to picture it on the street in its heyday. This is the type of car you see Gilded Age robber barons stepping from in jumpy, grainy black and white newsreel footage. It’s a large car from what was then one of Europe’s oldest and grandest automakers.

The X7 was part of Panhard’s 20 horsepower model line that lasted from 1910 through 1915 (as were the U9, X9, and X14). These were big, expensive cars and not many were produced. Production for this series totaled just 1,288 units.

The engine is a 4.4-liter, Knight sleeve-valve straight-four making approximately 25 horsepower. The ownership history of this car is known to the 1960s when it was equipped with a Touring car body. During a restoration sometime after the 1960s, this Landaulette body was re-installed. The current owner had the interior redone at a much later date. This car is a driver and would be welcomed at most shows. It should bring between $75,000-$95,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Panhard Wagonette

1899 Panhard et Levassor Type M2F 6HP Twin-Cylinder Wagonette

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 8, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

In today’s market, the hot segment is SUVs, particularly small SUVs. Mazda has the CX-5, Honda has the CR-V, and Toyota has the RAV4 (among many, many others). But think back to just prior to the turn of the century (as if any of us were there). There were a fair number of automakers and they were all competing for business. But they all produced completely different vehicles, right? Well, apparently, in the late 1890s, the Wagonette was a popular segment to be in. Check out this Daimler (and this one) and this Fisson. Who knew?

This Type M2F Wagonette is powered by a 1.7-liter straight-twin making six horsepower. It is thought that it was discovered alongside two other extremely old cars in France in the 1960s. The restoration on this car is a few decades old, but it’s seen continual use (such as the at the London-to-Brighton run) and has been kept in very nice condition.

There are some of these out there, but I’m not sure how many were actually built. It is one of very few early Panhards in the U.S. and is a great example of what was once a popular car. It should bring between $250,000-$350,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Not sold.

Panhard by Vanvooren

1912 Panhard et Levassor X14 20CV Torpedo by Vanvooren

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 9, 2018

Photo – Artcurial

Artcurial is offering a collection of Vanvooren-bodied automobiles at their Rétromobile sale. It’s one of the most packed auction catalogs I’ve ever seen and we will be featuring more cars from this sale than just about any other sale in the past seven years.

This big, beautiful Panhard is a Type 14, which was introduced in 1911. It features a 4.4-liter straight-four which was rated at 20 taxable horsepower. It’s a big Torpedo tourer and one of the earliest Vanvooren-bodied cars in the world.

Sold new to a customer in Buenos Aires, this car later made it’s way back to Europe. Unbelievably, it is 100% original (the up-close patina is incredible) and since 1995, it has been either in large private collections or museums. Because of it’s museum stints, it has not seen the road in quite some time and will require a little work to get it roadworthy. It should bring between $215,000-$315,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial.

Update: Sold $365,050.

November 2017 Auction Highlights

November started off with one of our favorite sales of the year, Bonhams’ London-to-Brighton. We featured nearly half the cars in the sale and some for big money, including $376,362 for the Westfield and $295,610 for the Germain, but neither of those were enough to be this year’s top seller, which was this $428,230 1903 Panhard et Levassor Model B 10HP Four-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau.

Photo – Bonhams

The Eldredge and the Santler failed to sell, but the Salvesen Steam Cart brought $207,516. Some of the lighter cars that sold were the Toledo Steam car for $34,673, the La Libellule Tricar for $42,211, and the Royal Enfield Quadricycle for $66,332. Another Quadricycle, the Daley, sold for $39,196.

A previously featured Humber finally found a new home for $81,250. The rest of our feature cars all sold with the Vivinus bringing $76,845, the Ader $117,221, and the Schaudel $192,834. Click here for the other sales.

This 1925 Bugatti Type 35 was the top sale at Artcurial’s sale in Paris. It went for $1,669,913.

Photo – Artcurial

The similar-looking G.A.R. cyclecar we featured sold for $20,750, a comparative bargain. Click here for the rest of the results.

Next up, Silverstone Auctions’ NEC Classic Motor Show Sale. The top seller was this 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia for $181,032. The TVR Tina failed to meet its reserve. Click here for more results.

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

Onward to Aguttes’ sale in Lyon. No feature cars here, but the top seller was this 1970 Alpine A110 1600 S that sold for $102,478. Click here for other sales.

Photo – Aguttes

Finally, Mecum in Las Vegas. The top sale here was $600,000 for this 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Yenko.

Photo – Mecum

We featured three beautiful American station wagons from this sale and their results are as follows: ’48 Buick –  not sold, high bid of $26,000; ’53 Chrysler – sold, $48,000; ’69 Dodge Coronet – not sold, high bid of $13,000. Click here for the rest of the results.

1899 Panhard-Levassor

1899 Panhard et Levassor Type M2E 4HP Two-Seater

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 30, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

If I were handed the photo above with no information and told to guess the year of manufacture, I would probably guess 1902 or 1903. This is what cars looked like in 1902 and 1903, for the most part. But no, this is from 1899. While three to four years might not seem like much, these particular three to four years were light years in terms of automotive development. And Panhard-Levassor was at the forefront of it.

Most pre-1900 cars had a more “horseless carriage” look to them, but René Panhard devised this layout – the now-ubiquitous front-engined, rear-wheel drive car (with a clutch, gearbox, and rear differential). All successful automobiles thereafter adopted this (more or less).

Then again, by 1899, Panhard-Levassor had almost 10 years of automobile production under their belt. This car is powered by a vertical 1.2-liter twin-cylinder engine making four horsepower. The original owner is known, but the car wasn’t restored until its 100th birthday. And now its the perfect car for the London-to-Brighton run. It should bring between $460,000-$540,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

1901 Panhard Tonneau

1901 Panhard et Levassor Twin-Cylinder 7HP Rear-Entrance Tonneau by Labourdette

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 31, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

We featured a 1902 Panhard et Levassor about a week and a half ago. It’s similar to this car, but also quite different – especially when it comes to the body. This has a body by famed French coachbuilder Henri Labourdette. It’s a rear-entrance tonneau with a big, tall hardtop (yet zero weather protection).

This body is actually original to this car, which is very rare for a car that is almost 115 years old. The engine is a 1.7-liter twin making seven horsepower. The original owner of this car is known and it was the 11th car registered in Toulouse. At some point, probably around WWI, it was stashed away in the basement of a castle.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that the car was rescued and restored. I like that the front and rear tires are of differing diameter. This is a great example of an early motorcar – and the top retains its original leather. It should sell for between $320,000-$400,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of this auction’s lineup.

Update: Sold $413,767.

1902 Panhard et Levassor

1902 Panhard et Levassor 15hp Model KB Roadster

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 31, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Panhard et Levassor was one of the first automobile manufacturers in the world. They’re still around, too, even if they haven’t built passenger cars in decades. They began selling cars in 1891 – becoming the first company to offer a production model. And they sort of came up with the whole “put the engine in front and have it drive the rear wheels via a transmission” thing.

This car uses a 3.3-liter straight-four and has a four-speed transmission, which seems pretty cool for 1902. It was purchased new from Panhard’s Paris showroom by Ricardo Soriano, a Spaniard who would later have his own car company (for a few years, anyway). It was the 18th car ever registered in Madrid.

It remained with that family until 1945, when they had the car moved to a collection – where it stayed until 1975. It was restored in ’75 and it passed into another collection that year. The new owners held onto it until 2007. It is being offered from the third owner. It’s a very early, running, driving, and complete automobile. Many parts are entirely original, which is incredible. It can be yours for between $960,000-$1,100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

October 2012 Auction Roundup

First up, we head to Paris for a sale from Osenat. I wasn’t able to feature anything from this sale, but wanted to feature this 1935 Hotchkiss 411 Cabourg. It sold for $17,800.

1935 Hotchkiss 411 Cabourg

The top sale was this 1937 Citroen Traction 11B Cabriolet for $117,800. Click here for full results.

1937 Citroen Traction 11B Cabriolet

Next up was H&H’s sale at the Imperial War Museum. The top sale there was this 1956 Bentley S1 Continental Fastback. It brought $498,900.

1956 Bentley S1 Continental Fastback

Cool cars were topped by our feature cars: the Argyll sold for $56,250 and the Briton failed to sell. Next up was this 1910 Renault AX Tourer for $36,000.

1910 Renault AX Tourer

And finally, a weird one: a 1965 A.K.S. Special. These kit cars were made by Auto Kraft Shells in England during the 1950s and 1960s and this one is based on a Triumph Spitfire. It sold for $5,080. Click here for full results.

1965 A.K.S. Special

Artcurial’s October sale had some big numbers. The top sale was this 1962 Maserati 3500 GTI Cabriolet by Vignale for $704,972.

1962 Maserati 3500 GTI Cabriolet by Vignale

Our featured Lamborghini LM002 brought $125,669. And the Matra Djet sold for $67,432. Interesting cars were topped by this 1972 Alfa Romeo Junior 1600 Zagato Coupe which went for $56,704 (no links to the individual catalog pages as Artcurial had taken them down).

1972 Alfa Romeo Junior 1600 Zagato Coupe

Then there was this 1968 Fiat 2300 S Ghia Coupe which sold for $26,053. Check out full results here.

1968 Fiat 2300 S Ghia Coupe

Moving on, H&H’s October 30th sale at Pavilion Gardens saw one of our featured cars (the Brough Superior road car) as the top sale. It brought $107,800. Our other feature car, the Mills Busy-Bee, sold for $15,100. The coolest other car was this 1924 Panhard et Levassor X46 Landaulette that sold for $32,000. Check out full results here.

1924 Panhard et Levassor Type X46 Landaulette

And finally, Bonhams’ London-to-Brighton sale. The top sale was our featured Clement-Talbot for $967,458. Second place went to this very interesting 1902 Panhard et Levassor Type B1 12HP Four-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau by Labourdette. It sold for an equally-impressive $931,714.

1902 Panhard et Levassor Type B1 12HP Four-Cylinder Rear-Entrance Tonneau by Labourdette

Our featured Warwick failed to sell. The Ariel tri-car/quadricycle sold for $73,401. There was another cool three-wheeler at this sale: a 1904 Cyklon 3.5HP Cyklonette. It brought $47,710.

1904 Cyklon 3.5HP Cyklonette

Our featured Georges Richard sold for $91,571. And the Lacoste et Battmann went for $123,920. One more cool car: a 1903 Winton 22HP Twin-Cylinder Two-Seat Runabout. That’s a decent amount of power for 1903 – yet another reason why Winton was awesome. This could’ve been yours for $172,173. Check out full results here.

1903 Winton 22HP Twin-Cylinder Two-Seat Runabout