Panhard Dyna X
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
For Australians, the Panhard Dyna X was interesting 2 cylinder model. The sole representative in Melbourne of the Dyna Panhard made an interesting study for its ingenuity. Obviously of French origin, it was that it was built to a design influenced by France's era of severe austerity when motoring was a very expensive business in which everyone still wanted to be able to indulge.
Therefore the car had very small dimensions to keep the raw material costs down, and the engine was, as detailed later in this article, a flat twin with air cooling. Several novel features were incorporated in the design, the front suspension was independent with transverse leaf springs; the axle beam was a V shape pivoted at the apex. Lateral location was provided by radius arms which were linked to torsion bars.
Torsion bars were also used for valve springs in the 610 c.c. engine, being coupled together in an ingenious arrangement of pairs to obviate the necessity of housing very long bars. The drive was taken from the engine through a single dry plate clutch to a four-speed synchromesh gearbox which was unit built to the F.W.D. differential unit. Half shafts were exposed, with two constant velocity universal joints per shaft.
The car was supposed to be virtually impossible to overturn, and the remarkable torque from the flat twin motor at low revs, resulted in very good high gear pulling at low speeds. Here in Australia the car was imported by Commonwealth Motors Pty. Ltd.
Design of the Panhard Dyna X
The Panhard Dyna X was a lightweight compact saloon car designed by the visionary engineer Jean Albert Gregoire and first exhibited as the AFG (Aluminium Francais Gregoire) Dyna at the Paris Motor Show in 1946. Mindful of the precarious economic situation in France in the aftermath of war, and aware of government enthusiasm for expanding the strategically important aluminium industry, the Panhard
company, which had been known in the 1930s as a manufacturer of expensive six- and eight-cylinder sedans, purchased the rights to build the little car.
The dramatic change of direction was not well received by everyone at Panhard, but it did usher in a period during which Panhard was one of the most loyal followers of the Pons Plan. In view of the fates of France's luxury auto-makers in the next ten years, and the huge development potential that Panhard extracted from the Dyna X, this adherence to the Pons Plan was probably good for Panhard, at least until the early 1960s.
The Dyna was made production ready and was emerging in commercial quantities from Panhard's Ivry plant by 1948: it set the pattern for Panhard passenger cars until the firm abandoned automobile production in 1967
. The car was also known as the Dyna 110, the Dyna 120 and the Dyna 130. The numbers in these names represented the progressively increasing maximum speeds (in kilometers per hour), as engine power and size increased during the production run. The Dyna X saloon was replaced by the larger Panhard Dyna Z in 1954
, although some of the sporting derivatives continued in production for a few more years.
Gregoire had during the 1920s and 1930s become known for his expertise in two particular areas of automobile construction, these being lightweight bodies and front wheel drive. The AFG Dyna, planned under difficult circumstances in occupied France, had an all-steel tubular frame chassis, to which was attached a lightweight aluminium four-door superstructure. The style of the saloon was modern and aerodynamic. Contemporary press photographs showing the car with three elegant young women seated in the front and three more in the back were presumably designed to emphasize the car's interior space, and the Dyna X certainly was usefully wider than the Renault 4CV.
Nevertheless, the photographs almost certainly employed exceptionally thin young ladies and/or a certain degree of image manipulation, and it would have made more sense, even in that age of austerity, to view the Dyna X as a four seater for most purposes. At the back the usefully commodious luggage compartment was unencumbered by any spare wheel, since that was mounted on the rear panel outside the car. There was no exterior access to the luggage, which will have saved weight and expense, but from the passenger cabin it was possible to access the rear luggage compartment by tipping forward the rear seat cushion.
Torsion bars were also used for valve springs in the 610 c.c. engine, being coupled together in an ingenious arrangement of pairs to obviate the necessity of housing very long bars.
The compact engine and the lack of a radiator permitted a wind-cheating front design on which the headlights perched like frogs' eyes, between the wings and bonnet line. The shape of the car changed little during its model life, but one change that did occur involved the headlights and took place early in 1948 when the stand alone conventionally formed headlights were replaced by headlights that could be described as integrated into the bodywork, by means of a reducing torpedo shaped molding linking the rear of each headlight to the space between the wing and the hood/bonnet.
The front grille also changed at least once. Alternative bodies included the two-door cabriolet and a 3-door estate version. A 'Fourgonette' light van version was also offered. The chassis and engine of the Dyna turned up in the Panhard Dyna Junior sports car of 1951 and were also a popular basis for low-volume lightweight sports cars produced by specialist manufacturers.
The Engine and Running Gear
The Dyna X's low profile engine was characteristically idiosyncratic. The two cylinder front mounted boxer unit was air-cooled. At launch in 1946 the 610 cc unit delivered a claimed maximum output of 24 hp (17.6 kW) at 4000 rpm, which by 1949 had increased to 28 hp at 5000 rpm. The car's aluminium body gave it an excellent power-to-weight ratio and in this form a maximum speed of 110 km/h (68 mph). The Dyna X made a considerable impression in the touring car championships of the late 1940s.
The car was also noted for its frugal fuel consumption. Engine displacement was increased in 1950 to 745 cc, and to 851 cc in 1952
, by which time claimed output had increased to 40 hp (29 kW) in the Dyna 130, named for its 130 km/h (81 mph) top speed. The gearbox was a four speed manual unit controlled using a column mounted lever, featuring synchromesh on the top three ratios. Power was transmitted to the front wheels, front wheel drive having been a specialty and an enthusiasm of Gregoire for many years.