First auto race held from Paris-Bordeaux-Paris - Jun 13, 1895 -

On this day in 1895, Emile Levassor drives a Panhard et Levassor car with a two-cylinder, 750-rpm, four-horsepower Daimler Phoenix engine over the finish line in the world’s first real automobile race. Levassor completed the 732-mile course, from Paris to Bordeaux and back, in just under 49 hours, at a then-impressive speed of about 15 miles per hour.

Levassor and his partner Rene Panhard operated one of the largest machine shops in Paris in 1887, when a Belgian engineer named Edouard Sarazin convinced Levassor to manufacture a new high-speed engine for the German automaker Daimler, for which Sarazin had obtained the French patent rights. When Sarazin died later that year, the rights passed to his widow, Louise. In 1889, visitors to the Paris exposition celebrating the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution were able to admire not only Gustave Eiffel’s now-famous tower, but also a Daimler-produced automobile with one of the new Panhard et Levassor-constructed engines. The following year, Levassor married Louise Sarazin.