By 25 September 2011 0 Comments Read More →

The converters : Panther Westwinds

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…

Like all British specialists, Panther relied heavily on the products of BL – and this can be seen in the make-up of such cars as the J72 (Jaguar platform) DeVille (ADO17 body parts) and Rio (Dolomite platform and underpinnings).

Robert Jankel passed away in 2005.


Panther J72

The latter-day SS100 built on XJ12 and XJ6 underpinnings: monstrously fast and expensive, exquisitely built…

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Panther Lazer

This outlandish one-off model was commissioned by Panther’s Canadian importer as a gift for his wife. She wasn’t impressed…

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Panther Rio

A restyled Dolomite built to Rolls-Royce standards. It did not sell…

Enter…


Owen Sedanca

Long after all hope of producing the Owen Sedanca had been abandoned, a suprise order from a wealthy customer led to HR Owen commissioning Panther to build one. A few years later, they repeated the exercise…

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The Harrods XJ6

When the luxury brands of Panther, Jaguar and Harrods came together, this opulent (not to say garish) car was the result…

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Posted in: Panther, The converters
Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007. Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

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