Decision to launch the Panhard Capricorn Expedition

The ambition of the expedition is to cross southern Africa by connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean at the Tropic of Capricorn. Scientific exploration objectives dictate the round trip.

The Panhard company helped by its South African representative, UFI (Union French Industries) gets involved in the adventure. It provides 2 diesel trucks, VS 215 K 88 type model converted into 4x4 by Ateliers Legueu de Meaux (ALM). Equipped with 110 HP engines and 10 speed gearboxes, the trucks are fitted out for the occasion.

The 2 VS 215 model K 88 type Panhard trucks including one equipped with a platform on the cabin for the filmmaker team

The supplies are planned to ensure 2500 km of autonomy and only 3 refuelling points punctuate the journey. The team consists of 6 French and 3 South Africans: a geographer, an entomologist, a palaeontologist, a filmmaker, an operator, an assistant, a mechanic-driver and a driver. François Balsan, industrialist, explorer and writer, project initiator declares: "Mr. Paul Panhard trusts me, I have in mine the hand of this great honest man with a heart of gold ...". The expedition allows a better knowledge of the Kalahari desert and of its inhabitants the Bushmen.


Book : François Balsan. L'Expédition Panhard-Capricorne, Paris, Amiot-Dumont, 1952.