Emile Levassor  France

  • Full name Emile Levassor
  • Birth date January 21, 1843
  • Birthplace Marolles-en-Hurepoix, France
  • Date of death April 14, 1897 (54 years 83 days)
  • Place of death Paris, France
driver portrait

Emile Levassor's interest in mechanics started when he was chosen to build engines designed by Gottlieb Daimler and in 1887 he started building cars with his long-term partner Rene Panhard. The first appeared in 1890 and Levassor drove his own product in the earliest races. In 1895 he won what is widely regarded as the first properly-organised race, the Paris-Bordeaux-Paris Rally.

In 1896, when taking part in the second staging of the event, he was seriously injured in a crash when he tried to avoid hitting a dog. He suffered serious chest injuries when the car rolled but drove on for a while before retiring. He never fully recovered, and died when he suffered an embolism while at work in Paris the following year.
Martin Williamson

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