Panther De Ville

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Have you got more money than taste? Do you prefer flamboyance over practicality? Then the Panther DeVille may be exactly the right car for you.

This car was conceived by a gentleman called Robert Jankel of car company Panther Westwinds; he was a designer of luxurious and speciality cars including everything from limousines to armoured cars and he created the DeVille to appeal to a certain class of clientele. To name such pillars of respectability as Elton John and Oliver Reed as buyers of this car gives some idea of the type of person he was aiming at.

These were very expensive handbuilt cars; for most of the 11 years they were being built, between 1974 and 1985, they were the most expensive listed cars in Britain. Approximately 60 of them were created; most of them four-door saloons although there were several two-door convertibles and a six door limousine in very tasteful pink and gold bodywork!

They were heavy so they needed a decent Jaguar engine to propel them. Choices were between a 4.2 litre XK6 engine and a 5.3 litre V12. Interiors were sumptuous and could be fitted out with just about anything that the buyer required, including bars or TV sets.

They may have been big, flashy and comfortable but they didn't really drive all that well. Theoretically the larger engine ones were capable of getting up to 127 mph. However, aerodynamically they were very poorly designed; style was far more important than substance and this caused them to be unstable and hard to control at higher speeds. Then again this was a car to be seen in, not to go racing in. Most of the mechanical components were sourced from Jaguar so they are reasonably reliable and easy to maintain.

Unless you live near to an oil rich sheik or a flamboyant rock star you are very unlikely to see one of these on the school run or taking a spouse to the shops, but they are very popular for weddings or other very special celebrations.