Panhard CD (1963 – 1965) Review

Panhard CD (1963 – 1965) At A Glance


+Amazing performance for the (lack of) power, looks like no other car

-You'll be lucky to find one.

With a name taken after Panhard Director, Charles Deutsch’s initials, the CD was created as a test bed for the company’s aircooled engine and highly developed aerodynamic techniques. Deutsch commissioned a racing project that would take the small French manufacturer to Le Mans, and in doing so scored a considerable success. The CD won the ‘Index of Performance’ class with ease in the 1962 Le Mans 24-Hour, proving that the air-cooled engine was remarkably reliable when run at consistently high speeds.

To celebrate, Panhard put the CD into limited production as a road car, although its price was very much on the high side. The oddball glassfibre bodywork certainly looked individual, and when mounted on a tubular steel backbone chassis, its stiffness and low weight meant that acceleration was exceptional for a two-cylinder engine of its size. The CD wasn't built for comfort though, with seating strictly for two (small) people. But it was a great car to drive, with accurate handling, a fantastic exhaust note and the ability to outrun many more powerful cars in competition. Just 92 cars were built over three years, before Citroën bought Panhard in 1965.