Romain , the Head of Brand from our partner MOTUL , is the co-pilot at the Tour Auto 2020 in a super rare (100% FRENCH) 1955 Panhand Dyna X Dolomites. On day 1, they resolved a technical failure but still ended up 1st place in the Index of Performance category on the Magny-Cours Circuit.
While everyones attention will be on the Cobras and Ford GT40s and or thundering BMW M1 slip-sliding their way across the countryside, there are countless ingeniously designed smaller cars further down the entry list that are equally important to note. That’s why we want to draw your attention towards this fabulous 1955 Panhard Dyna X Dolomites by Pichon & Parat, which is a rare addition to the Tour Auto in the hands of its owner Hugo Baldy and Romain Grabowski and which had been perfectly profile by Classic Driver a few days ago:
In comparison the utilitarian and somewhat frumpy body of Panhard’s own Dyna X, the coachbuilders Bernard Pichon and André Parat’s Dolomites body was sleek, slippery and sexy, if a little proportionally quirky. The underpinnings of the Dyna X were ripe for a racing transformation. The chassis was light and Panhard’s engines were renowned for being small yet remarkably efficient – ‘engineers’ engines’, as Baldy describes them. Only between 10 and 15 Dolomites were produced by Pichon & Parat and it’s believed that only seven or eight are known about today.
A proud veteran of the original Tour de France Automobile in addition to several other high-profile races including the Rallye Monte Carlo and the Rallye Lyon-Charbonnières, this dinky French blue coupé was unexpectedly discovered in a ramshackle state by Baldy near Paris in 2018. After a long negotiation with its owner, Baldy agreed to buy the Panhard and set about researching its complex history in preparation for a sympathetic restoration.
“I am really passionate about racing cars, particularly those with rich histories and many accolades, and I love research,” Baldy explains. “I bought this Panhard without knowing who it had belonged to, where it had raced and how it had performed. It’s so exciting to search through archives, period press clippings and race entries in order to unravel a car’s history.”
Once the Panhard’s early history was established, Baldy set about restoring the car to its original specification with the help of his father Dominique and his best friend Romain Grabowski.
“When I discovered that the car had competed at the Tour de France Automobile in period, I knew I wanted to participate in the Tour Auto,” Baldy recalls. “We started the restoration in September last year and because we had such little time before the original start date in April, my father worked like crazy to help finish the car. He dismantled everything, worked with the coachbuilder to ensure the precious patina was preserved, and spent 10 days with me and Romain reassembling the car in his workshop.”
With a tiny air-cooled two-cylinder 850cc boxer engine at the rear, Baldy’s Panhard has the smallest powerplant on the entire Tour Auto entry list. But with a dry weight of just 480kg and a punchy 60HP, Baldy is optimistic of performing well in the competition grid. “We want to do the Tour Auto like they did in the old days,” he explains. “Regularity trials are not for us, so we’re going to do it with no assistance and our luggage in the car along with a toolbox, clutch cable and a roll of tape!” As a precaution, Baldy’s father Dominique will follow the rally with a spare engine and gearbox just in case.
Text by Classic Driver/ Jan Baedeker
Photos by MOTUL