Mystery Car 103 is a French economy car with a distinct front end. But who could guess this one? Well, if you had driven your car to Half Price Books and picked up Car Emblems — The Ultimate Guide to Automotive Logos Worldwide by Giles Chapman, you would have known it!
In any event, Mystery Car 103 is a Panhard Dyna Z. The Duna Z was an economical car which began as a lightweight aluminum car. The original model weighed only 1,430 lbs. But as the cost of aluminum increased, the company switched to steel panels to save money. Even so, the car was able to provide 30-40 mpg from its diminutive two-cylinder engine. But how powerful can a 850 cc two-cylinder engine be? The little engine produced 42, 50, or 60 hp depending on the setup. “To put this into perspective, the VW Beetle of the era had 40 bhp from 1200cc, the Morris Minor managed 37 bhp from 850cc” (Citroenet). Surprisingly, the little engine could reach 90 mph coupled to its four speed manual transmission. (Just don’t ask how long it took to get there!)
I’ve always wondered if a car with a lawnmower-sized engine would be feasible for modern day driving. When I see interesting cars like this, I begin to wonder if I could make it work for my daily drive to work. With the unreliability of old cars, it probably wouldn’t work very well, but I’ll keep wondering anyway.