Autosoviet: PANNONIA

25 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Autosoviet: PANNONIA
Pannonia P20

The twin-cylinder model and the partecipation to the 24h of Le Mans

I dedicated a page to this Hungarian motorcycle factory, almost unknown in Europe, because it was one of the few Eastern motorcycle factories that tried to produce enough modern motorcycles, almost at the level of the Western bikes. Moreover, the Pannonia motorcycles also raced in very hard competitions, sometime with good results.

The western attitude of the Pannonia is also shown by the pic above, with a beautiful girl in short skirt. very different in comparison with the sad Communist orthodoxy! For more pics, i suggest the sites da and (part of the pics on this page is taken from these sites).

The beginnings

The Pannonia were initially produced with the Csepel brand (from the name of the homonym Danubian island where the factory was located), The Csepel were classic two-strokes bikes, with a non revolutionary technology, but well builted and finished. In the first. second and third pics above, a 125 cc. model. a 250 cc.model. and a 350 cc. prototype with final shaft drive. All these bikes were realized during the ’50s.

In the fourth pic, the scooter R-73 with big-diameter wheels, and motorcycle-type engine (placed under the central tunnel).

Indeed, the early Pannonia model were derived from the Csepel 250 single-cylinder. In the first and second pic above, the T1 and the TLB 250 (the TLB was similar to our Aermacchi Chimera, with a fairing that covers partially the engine and the rear wheel), both produced since the mid-’50s.

The engine, modern for that period, was a single-cylinder with 14 hp, primary drive with gears (when the old chains for the primary drive were still very diffused), and the singular feature of the crankshaft rotating in the direction opposite to the usual sense. In the third pic, a following version, the T5 of the ’60s, with a quite pleasant look.

From these bikes, also beautiful cross/enduro versions were obtained (first and second pics, up), destined to the export, and with an engine boosted to 20 hp. These bikes were even exported in the USA, and used also in some international competition (third pic). In the 1951, the Pannonia realized also a very interesting prototype: the RB 250 (fourth pic), with a two-stroke flat-twin engine, and final shaft drive: the shape of engine and frame is very original!

Pannonia P20
Pannonia P20

The twin-cylinder models and the partecipation to the 24h of Le Mans

Since the mid-’60s, a new generation of 250 cc. twin-cylinder engines was launched, inspired to the German Adler motorcycles. The power was of 19 hp for the early versions (Pannonia P-10, first pic above), and of 23 hp for the later models ( Pannonia P-20 and P-21, second and third pics, produced between the 1967 and the 1975).

The later versions were inspired to the Yamaha YDS, but the performances were inferior (although it’s necessary to say that the Pannonia were intended for a daily use, without sport intentions). Anyway, in comparison with the Russian Izh Jupiter (also inspired to the Adler), the Pannonia were much more modern, finished and reliable, with a 5-speed gearbox (4 on the Izh), and a big front brake (mounted on the export versions). Moreover, you can see, on the P-21, the side bags and the turn lights integrated in the handlebar. a sort of little BMW from the East!

The P annonia was one of the few Eastern factories that competed with the Eastern brands on the international circuits. In the 1956, partecipating at the first 24h of Le Mans (the famous Bol d’Or), the Pannonia 250 single-cylinder obtained an excellent fourth place, and other good placements in the following editions till the ’59, ahead of more powerful machines.

In the 1972-73, the Pannonia was back to the Bol d’Or with a P-20 twin-cylinder (up, some pic of racing and endurance versions of the P-20: see the big tank and the expansion exhausts of the endurance exemplar in the second pic), equipped with Mikuni carburettors, 30 hp, 170 km/h. The best of the Pannonia P-20, this time, took the 23є place. but don’t forget that it was the age of Honda and Laverda! Anyway, the main target was to show the reliability of the motorcycles, and, in a hard race as the Bol d’Or, the little Hungarian two-stroke bike shown an honorable resistance.

Pannonia P20
Pannonia P20
Pannonia P20
Pannonia P20
Pannonia P20
Pannonia P20
Pannonia P20

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