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Panther Reviews

The origins of Panther date back to 1971, when Robert Jankel decided that he wanted leave the fashion industry and follow his dream of becoming a creator of exclusive cars.

Panther’s products were truly a remarkable group of cars created by a remarkable man: Robert Jankel, designer and businessman. Jankel worked in the tuning trade many years before the creation of Panther Westwinds, but he couldn’t make it pay for itself – in his own words, “…I couldn’t make a living at it.” Once this conclusion was drawn, he left to join the textile industry, eventually making chief executive and a major shareholder in the company he worked in. Throughout this period of advancement, he maintained his deep interest in the design and building of one-off cars.

This culminated in him building his own cars at the rate of about one per year, the last of which was called the Panther.

By 1971, and with nothing left to prove in the fashion industry, he sold his interests in the textile business, which left him with, “quite a lot of money” as well as time, on his hands. Jankel did what any enthusiast would do – and used his finances to invest in the facilities to build production Panthers on a regular basis. This seemed the right thing to do, as the original Panther had generated a great deal of interest. The facility he invested in was a modestly sized factory, and from this starting point, he bought up the small companies that as an amateur, he used to farm out work to, such as panel beating and trimming. From this point, Panther Westwinds were in business, and before long, they would act as sub-contractors to others, such as Rolls-Royce, as well as producing up to three Panthers per week. The company’s ultimate creation was the Panther Six, but that is a different story…

Things went awry for the company in 1980 when they went into receivership, before being bought-out by Young C. Kim from Korea, who led the business in a different direction. Jankel himself remained in the industry throughout the 1980s, being promient in the business of expensively converting perfectly good Mercedes-Benz motors into something far less subtle…

Good: Looks like a SS100 but with more modern mechanicals and road manners, excellent quality, and in V12 form massively fast
Bad: It's not the real thing
Good: It was Britain's most expensive car when on sale
Bad: It had BMC 1800 doors...
Good: Built and trimmed like a Rolls-Royce
Bad: Goes like a Triumph
Good: Interesting retro-styled car underpinned by Vauxhall running gear, good fun and surprisingly capable
Bad: Expensive for what it offered, but cheaper than a Morgan
Good: Ford Capri running gear meant cheap servicing and repairs, and it was an improvement on the Lima, especially as it was cheaper
Bad: Still seen as a bit of an automotive 'bitza'
 

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