1952 Panhard Dyna Junior

Location: Midwest
VIN #:
Engine:Supercharged 2 Cyl
Transmission:4 Speed Manual

The Panhard Dyna Junior is a small sports car built by Panhard from 1952 to 1956. The car was initially offered as a roadster and later as a cabriolet. Just over 4700 were built.

In early 1951 Joseph Bell (JB) Ferguson approached Panhard with a proposal to build a small sports car for the American market. Ferguson, the brother of Harry Ferguson, had emigrated to the US and in 1951 was running New York based Fergus Motors importing and reselling of a variety of European cars including Panhards. Panhard undertook the project with Ferguson's financial support. To reduce design costs and speed development the Dyna Junior was built with the chassis and front-wheel drive power-train from the Dyna X.

Panhard hired the carrosserie Di Rosa and their chief designer Albert Lemaitre to design the body and build a prototype.Di Rosa, known primarily for their work on trucks and buses, was able to complete the first aluminum-bodied prototype in just a few months. The car had a single door on the driver's side and a fold-down windshield. Jean Panhard reviewed the car and requested extensive changes. Ferguson, who had received pictures of the prototype, withdrew from the project. In a very short time a second prototype was ready that was approved by Panhard, and ten pre-production examples were ordered. Panhard originally planned to build just 500 Dyna Juniors but decided to increase production in response to demand. To adapt the car to larger production volumes and reduce costs Panhard decided that the production Junior would get a steel body instead of one of aluminum. This change increased the weight of the car by more than 100 kg. The car debuted at the Paris Motor Show in October 1951 and sales officially started at the beginning of the following year. Production of the car was initially done at Di Rosa's factory, but they were unable to meet demand and Panhard moved the Junior's assembly line to their factory in Orléans. Di Rosa would close shortly afterwards.

The Dyna Junior was characterized by simple lines and few frills. Exterior decoration was limited to the grille inherited from the Dyna X. The car had exposed hinges on the trailing edge of the two passenger doors that opened "Suicide"-style. There were no external door handles, so opening the door required reaching in through the sliding plastic side windows to reach the interior latch. There was likewise no external trunk lid, with the rear storage compartment accessed by folding down the backrest of the two-place bench-seat. The interior was spartan, with a single centre-mounted dial for the speedometer and a gearshift lever sprouting from the dashboard as in the Dyna X. Despite having just 34.5 hp the car's performance, handling, fuel economy, and affordable purchase price made the Junior popular with young car buyers.

The Dyna Junior would use two versions of the Dyna X chassis over the course of its production history. Early Juniors used the X86 chassis from the Dyna X 120 while later models used the X87 chassis from the Dyna X 130. This platform gave the Junior a wheelbase of 2,127 mm and front and rear tracks of 1,220 mm. The front suspension was independent with upper and lower transverse leaf springs, while the rear was a rigid trailing axle with a central pivot and torsion bars. Shock-absorbers were hydraulic Houdaille units and the brakes were nine-inch drums on all four wheels. Tires front and rear were 145 x 400. The transaxle was the four-speed manual gearbox from the Dyna X. The Dyna Junior was powered by Panhard's air-cooled two-cylinder OHV boxer engine. The earliest cars used the 745 cc GM750 SS3 engine that produced 32.6 hp at 5000 rpm giving a maximum speed of 74.6 mph. The GM750 Sprint engine that produced 35.5 hp at 5000 rpm from the same displacement was an option. In April 1952 the larger 851 cc GM850 38 CV engine making 37.4 hp became available, raising top speed to 77.7 mph. The GM 850 S 40 CV Sprint version of this engine making 41.4 hp at 5000 rpm could also be ordered. An optional MAG supercharger that raised power at 60 hp was available.

The Dyna Junior had success in period racing including:
the 1953 Tour de France Auto, where it placed 14th.
A Dyna Junior driven by Georges Trouis and Jacques Blanchet competed in the 1953 1000 km of Nürburgring, where they placed 22nd.
A variety of Dyna Juniors and Junior-based specials appeared at races in Europe and America throughout the late 1950s.

The Fairchild special won the California Sports Car Club’s H-Modified Class in the Pacific Cost Championship in both 1958 and 1959 and placed second in SCCA H-Modified in 1958.

This extremely rare Supercharged example is fresh out of a comprehensive cosmetic restoration, with new paint and interior. The car runs and drives fine but one would probably want to do some more fiddling before campaigning it on the Vintage Racing Circuit.

Certainly, this seldom seen little gem would be a standout at any Concours event.


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