Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Emile Constant Levassor

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Emile Constant Levassor (21 January 1843, Marolles-en-Hurepoix - 14 April 1897, Paris) was a French engineer and a pioneer of the automobile industry and car racing in France.

Graduated at École Centrale Paris, he started his career in 1872 in the company of Jean-Louis Périn which produced wood-working machines, where he met Rene Panhard. They were also building gas engines.

1886 Edouard Sarazin acquired the French license for building engines of Gottlieb Daimler. He chose Levassor to build them in France. When Sarazin died in 1887, Levassor married his widow, Louise, and together with Panhard they started building cars as Panhard-Levassor.

The first car appeared in 1890, with an engine built under a Daimler license.

Levassor also took part in auto racing, finishing fifth in 1894 Paris-Rouen Race, and winning illustriously the 1895 Paris-Bourdeaux-Paris Race the following year (both in his own cars).

In 1896, when taking part in the 1896 Paris-Marseilles-Paris Race, he was seriously injured in a crash when he tried to avoid hitting a dog. He never recovered from the injury, and died in Paris the following year.

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