He entered the École Centrale where his classmate was Emile Levassor. He went into partnership with Jean-Louis Périn, who founded a business manufacturing wood band saws, which in 1867 took the name Périn-Panhard & Cie. When Périn died in 1886, René Panhard joined forces with Émile Levassor and created a company that became Panhard & Levassor, which for a time specialized in the manufacture of steam and gas engines, and then Daimler petrol engines, before quickly turning to the automobile.
Portrait of René Panhard
Some of their ideas are still in use today: front engine, clutch, gearbox and caster wheels. They were the first in the world to manufacture cars in series in 1891. In 1898, Panhard supplied the first automobile purchased by the French army, and 120 years of cooperation followed, without pause or break, between the army and this dynasty of visionaries and great captains of industry.
In November 2012, Renault Trucks Defense acquired the Panhard Defense company. In 2018, RTD becomes "ARQUUS".