When you think of cottages the first thing that probably comes to mind is lumpy cheese. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Panther DeVille however, is also a cottage product, but will its price prove to be far too much cheddar?
There's this terrible knock-knock joke of which you are unfortunately about to become aware. It goes like this- Knock, knock! Who's there? Panther! Panther who? Panther no panths, I'm going thwimming! Yes, I know.
When you consider the micro-brew production numbers of Britain's Panther Westwinds Ltd, then the obvious conclusion to that jocular travesty is no Panths, as that's almost how many cars the cottage builder built.
You may best know the Robert Jankel-founded Surrey maker for their wild Caddy-powered six-wheeler (two built), or the Vauxhall-based Lima sportscar, which was sold in small numbers and continued as the Kallista into the era of SsangYong ownership of the marque. The company's flashiest and most luxurious product was however, the DeVille.
This 1976 DeVille Convertible is one of eleven said constructed, and is likely to be one of only two or so in the US. Like every ad for these mythical beasts that pops up every once in a while, this one notes that it's similar to the one Cruella De Vil drove in the Disney Film, 101 Dalmatians. Less well known is the fact that Elton John once also owned one.
The Panther DeVille in the Disney flick was a coupe, and was powered for some reason by a small block Chevy. This '76 soft top sports the proper 5,343-cc 244-bhp V12 out of a Jaguar. In fact, there's a whole bunch of Jag under this Panther, including the 3-speed auto box and four-wheel independent suspension. On top of the ladder frame chassis sits a neo-classic body in hand-beaten aluminum, harkening back to the Bugatti Type 41 Royales of the ‘30s.
If you need to go somewhere - say your embezzlement hearing - and want to arrive in style and in something with presence then you couldn't do much better than the DeVille. At over 200 inches long, 71 inches wide and 62 tall, the 4,500-lb four seater makes a contemporary Rolls look like a Dolly. Actually, Panther made a Dolly that looked like a Rolls, so maybe that completes the circle.
The seller of this one loves his all-caps but doesn't appreciate the interior enough to provide any pictures. When new, these cars had every accoutrement known to man including TVs and booze bars amid the burled walnut and sumptuous leather. About the only thing missing was a full-time Cockney girl saying favor a bit of a hummer while you drive, Guv'nor? If the condition of this one's insides is equitable to the exterior, then it's probably still a nice place to be - hummer or not.
The opportunity to buy one of the 62 Panther DeVilles built between '74 -'85 is rare indeed, and here in the US to find not only a DeVille but one of the soft-toppers - on Craigslist no less - is like finding a four-leaf clover. . . on Mars. That is by the way what the Curiosity Rover has discovered, either that or some kind of rock, so it is rumored.
Owing to its rarity you might expect the asking price to be commensurately large, and in this case you would be correct. Mr All-Caps is asking a cool $135,000 for this massive objet d'art, or about ten grand for every pound of pomposity required to own and drive it.
What do you think, is this Panther worth breaking into the kitty for that kind of cash? Or, is this a cat that, for that much, you wouldn't let out of its velvet-lined bag?
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