A Panhard PL 17 Tigre Cabriolet, From 1963

Rare Rides introduced the Panhard brand to the series a while back, showcasing the little 24. The miniature coupe would end up as the last passenger car offering from the brand before it was stomped out by its parent, Citroën.

Today we’ll take a look at an even smaller Panhard from 1963. It’s a rare PL 17 convertible, in even rarer Tigre guise.

The PL 17 was the first Panhard model developed with guidance from Citroën. After the French giant got involved with the smaller manufacturer in 1955, all its models continued unchanged until the PL was introduced in 1959. PL was an all-new line for Panhard, and the direct successor to its Dyna Z model. Panhard started its Dyna line of cars with the Dyna X in 1945, and continued it through the Dyna Junior in 1951, and finally the Dyna Z that went on offer in 1953.

The new PL 17 was in fact a rework of the Dyna Z. While the PL was much more streamlined for a proper early Sixties look, it maintained the same 101.2-inch wheelbase. Modernization carried extra weight with it, and all versions of the PL weighed at least 200 pounds more than the equivalent Dyna Z. The extra heft was down to cheaper steel panels that replaced the aluminum ones of prior Panhards.

Initially offered only as a sedan in 1959, a convertible version joined the ranks in 1961, followed up by a five-door wagon in 1963.  In the earlier days of production, the PL sourced power from a carryover Dyna Z engine: an air-cooled 848-cc boxer two-cylinder offering 42 horsepower. The transmission sat at the rear; exhaust was at the front. 1960 saw the arrival of more power via an 851-cc version of the same engine. That meant a jump to 50 horsepower, or 60 for more powerful “Tigre” sports versions. A single transmission was available — a four-speed on the tree. Lightweight 180-inch cars could reach 81 miles per hour in standard guise, or 90 as Tigres.

All the while, Citroën had its hand on Panhard’s pricing and model offerings. The company ensured that pricing was not competitive with Citroën cars, and thus Panhard was not a threat to other French marques, either. Though more refined due to its engineering, Panhards were less powerful and more expensive than other offerings. It wasn’t all bad news though, as Panhard took the PL 17 out to do some rallying. With the PL, the marque placed first, second, and third in the 1961 Monte Carlo Rally.

The 17 continued with its small sales figures through 1965. At that point, it was replaced by the 24 as Panhard suffocated under the wet blanket of Citroën ownership. Today’s restored Rare Ride went to auction recently in Lyon, France, and was expected to bid between $65,000 and $88,000.

[Images: seller]

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