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A confident young chauffeur

A confident young chauffeur
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this photograph from 1905 is the relaxed attitude of the chauffeur of this enormous Panhard-Levassor, clearly holding forth on some subject or other to the assembled gentry.  The distinguished passenger in the car seems to be very patient – and perfectly happy to allow his driver to take centre stage.
The passenger is M. Émile Loubet, the President of France from 1899 to 1906, photographed during his official visit to Spain and Portugal between October 22 and 29 1905.  We are certain that this picture was taken in Spain, because the confident chauffeur is also known to us: he is the Spanish King Alfonso XIII, a noted motoring enthusiast who at the date of this photograph would have been only 19 years old.
The king was one of Hispano-Suiza's first customers, purchasing three examples at the Madrid Show in 1907 and owning round 30 of the marque’s products during his reign.  In 1912 he drove one of the company’s new cars and was so impressed that he not only bought one – he gave his permission for the model to be named after him.  The Alfonso XIII is considered to be one of the world’s first sports cars.
We’re not sure whether the car in our picture belonged to the president or the king – but in either case we can understand why the young chauffeur feels so confident at the wheel.
What we also don’t know is the model of Panhard.  Can anyone help us?
Words by Peter Moss
Photograph courtesy of Richard Roberts


#2 2017-07-18 21:14
This was his second P & L, the first was a 2-cylinder 8HP. The photo is a 24HP 4-cylinder. In 1905, he bought another P & L a 35HP engine No. 9.707 two-seater body. In 1906 he bought his last P & L a 50HP engine No. 12.568
#1 2017-07-11 06:54
I never played with HS,,,,, but I did own his P1 ( RF85 from memory ), body by Hooper..seems he ordered it in time for the uprising , where upon it was shipped on to the Port of Melbourne , exhb. at the ??1929 Car Exhb. and sold to a grazier . the division came in handy to stop the Rams licking the back of his neck while driving ... they will do anything for SALT in a hot climate .. she was a 2 wheel braker, and somewhere there is photos..then you could still see the 'sign' on the drivers side door... still have the tail light if not stolen .... John Ryder ..

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