Pichon Parat: introduction
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The trouble trying to do an intro for Pichon Parat is just what to say!? As you can see, the full article is 42 pages long; there is just so much they did in the twenty or so years they operated. So what we’ll do is show a handful of photos with a short description of each. These will not include all their models, but will show a good cross-section. Please open full article for the bigger picture!
First up is a car that really got the company on its feet. It is a small sportscar in open roadster and closed coupe forms, and based on the mechanicals of the Panhard Dyna X. These cars were closely related to the Panhard Dyna Juniors which were all open sports or roadster models. While the coupes were attributed to Pichon Parat of which it is claimed thirty or so were made, Pichon Parat also made roadsters between 1950 and 57. The standard roadsters (of which many were raced), look pretty much identical to the Junior, but as they say, there was more! Pichon Parat also made a number of more stylish aluminium bodied coupes aimed more but not exclusively towards competition (race and rallye). Finally, there was also a Dyna Z roadster which had a distinct style of its own..
In addition to these, there were some larger cars based on the mechanicals of the Salmson 2300 which were in many cases like big brothers to the aluminium coupes.
More overtly Le Mans orientated where a handful of cars based on the last of the Talbot cars.
Renault 4CV based coupes featured too, but these were built in smaller numbers also – like the special alloy bodied Panhard based coupes. Again, these tended to be quite stylish and even featured gull-wing doors in some versions, while many of them were destined for a life of racing.
There were also coupes based on the Lancia Aurelia B20 GT, front engined Simca saloon (below) and Peugeot 403.
Famed American car designed, Raymond Loewy also became involved with Pichon Parat in the late 50’s, first with a BMW 507 Coupe followed by a handful of striking show cars, mostly coupes, based on Cadillac, Lancia V6 Flaminia and variations on the theme of his Studebaker Avanti.
After that, Pichon Parat focused to the Citroen ID and DS, turning them into both cabriolets and coupes with their own distinct style. There are a couple of things interest here; first, the faired in four headlamp shape was brought out by Pichon Parat before Citroen itself did their version with the DS. The Pichon Parat headlamps are more butch looking, while distinctive heavier chrome bumpers feature prominently with grille incorporated, and more use of the under-bumper valence with set-in lighting and various vents both below and above.
The other matter is that at the time Citroen took up rallying quite seriously with the DS, and although they had good drivers and preparation, were hampered by the car’s size in relation to its engine capacity… at which point Citroen approached Pichon Parat to build a shortened, lighter two door version of the car.
Whether they built just the prototype or the series, I am not quite sure, but quite a number of the cars were built, considering their specialist nature. These cars took a bit of fettling as the shorter wheelbase changed their dynamics notably. Some were powered by the V6 Maserati engine that was destined for the Citroen SM. Indeed, these may in-some-way be considered forerunners to the specially developed SM rally car – a sort of short wheelbase, breadvan version of the road going coupe.
Last and in many ways least, at least when speaking of size, was the convertible version of the little Vespa 400. It is reckoned about 17 of these convertibles were built all told. The standard car weighed just 370kg, so just how much they were sans roof is a good question. With just 13bhp the standard car could manage 55mph (just < 90kph). I’ve also seen pictures of stripped down racing versions with a cut-down windscreen. Now that could be a hoot!
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