The 24 Series would be Panhard’s last hurrah. The first of them hit the showrooms in ’63. Founded in 1889, the French firm was floundering. It was now pitched against more state of the art cars from Peugeot, Citroën and Renault. Not even the iconic 24CT could save Panhard. It fought the financial odds, though, with all the Gallic gusto it could muster. And the 24CT had plenty to offer, in marketing terms. Not least, its aerodynamic bodywork. Large windows – supported by finely-wrought pillars – provided excellent visibility. Cowled-in headlights lit up the road, with aplomb. For all its feisty resistance, though, in the end, the automotive giant that was Citroën gobbled up little Panhard.
The 24CT’s flat-twin motor made only 60bhp. Capacity was just 845cc. That was still enough, however, to give a top-spec speed of 100mph. That was with the Tigre engine option – complete with its twin-choke carb. The CT’s svelte shape certainly helped, too. The standard Panhard lump provided 10bhp less. At low revs, the 24CT did not pull up any trees. Torque was reduced – and the flat-twin motor ran rough. As revs picked up, though, things 24CT settled down nicely. Transmission was via a 4-speed floor-shift. From ’65 onward, disc brakes were fitted all round. Handling was more than adequate – and all the better for front-wheel drive.
The 24CT’s roots were in the Panhard Dyna. The latter was styled by Grégoire – in the Forties. The Panhard PL17, also, brought good looks and innovation to the car design table. The 24 Series sold reasonably well – given their high price tags. In all, 23,245 cars were built. Citroën took Panhard over in ’65 – and did its utmost to make the 24 Series a success. A car as elegant as the 24CT, though, is never cheap to make. And that, ultimately, proved to be its Achilles’ heel. In ’67, Citroën accepted that Panhard’s Paris factory could be put to more profitable use building its own brand’s cars. One of motoring’s great pioneers had reached the end of the road. The Panhard 24CT, though, was an entirely fitting finale!