Tag Archives: Panther

Encore – Classic Motor Show NEC Birmingham

Today’s blog takes one final look through the recent Classic Motor Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

Porsche 917K, Classic Motor Show, NEC Birmingham

It was difficult for sports car fans of a certain age to get passed the main entrance where this Porsche 917 Kurzheck, like the car which opened last Wednesday’s blog some of this one starred in a Steve McQueen film, in this case Le Mans, chassis #013 crashed during filming with David Piper at the wheel during filming and was rebuilt with a fresh chassis #034 to become #034/013. This car went on to win the Daytona 24 Hours with Pedro Rodriguez andJackie Oliver sharing the driving.

Tatra T97, Classic Motor Show, NEC Birmingham

The Tatra T97 featured a rear air cooled 4 cylinder boxer engine and influenced the design of the Volkswagen Beetle so much that VW made an out of court settlement with Tatra in 1961. Not copied by the Germans were the elegant Tatra door handles nor rear hinged front. suicide, doors as seen on the 1938 model above.

Commer QX TS3 Mk III, Classic Motor Show, NEC Birmingham

If you like engineering novelty you’ll love the 1955 Commer QX TS3 Mk III 7 ton truck, it is powered by a 3.3 litre 200 cui 3 cylinder motor with a pair of horizontally opposed pistons in each cylinder connected to a common crank, oh and it’s a supercharged two stroke diesel an was originally developed by the Germans for a bomber aircraft ! A cross section diagram of how the motor works can be found on this link.

Panther De Ville, Classic Motor Show, NEC Birmingham

On a more neo-classical note, but perhaps none the less bizarre, the crystals in the radiator cap of this Panther De Ville are real amethysts.

Aston Martin Vignale, Classic Motor Show, NEC Birmingham

Very much a work in progress was this unique 1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 with body work by Vignale which I understand originally belonged to the King of Belgium.

Jaguar D-Type, Classic Motor Show, NEC Birmingham

Rounding out today’s final visit to this years Classic Motor Show at the NEC in Birmingham is this 1956 short nose D-Type Jaguar used by the works supported Ecurie Ecose team. Ron Flockhart won two races at Snetterton and Goodwood with this car chassis XKD 561 and many years later it was used as a road car for nearly a decade by a Lancastrian owner.

Thanks for joining me on this “Encore” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be celebrating Kevin Harvicks Sprint Cup win. Don’t forget to come back now !


Neo-Classic Luxury – Panther De Ville Convertible

In 1972 Robert Jankel founded Panther Westwinds who manufactured a variety of eclectic niche luxury cars sold under the Panther Brand which were notable for their retro styling and use of parts from mass produced vehicles particularly Jaguar in the early days.

Panther De Ville Convertible, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

From 1974 to 1985 the company, which was sold on to the South Korean Jindo Corporation in 1980 manufactured the Panther De Ville the most expensive production car manufactured in the UK.

Styled on the 1927 Bugatti Type 41 ‘Royale’ the De Ville could be ordered with either a Jaguar straight 6 or V12 motors which gave it plenty of performance until the aerodynamics kicked in.

It is believed 57 neo classic De Villes were manufactured including 11 convertibles and one six door stretch De Ville Las Vegas Limousine. A two door De Ville was aptly chosen for the Cruella de Ville character in the live action 101 Dalmations film.

This particular left hand drive example, seen at last years Classic Motor Show, is powered by a Jaguar V12 motor and built in 1976. It appears not to have been registered in the UK until 1988.

Thanks for joining me on this “Neo-Classic Luxury” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


The Magical Car – Paragon Panther

Between 1920 and 1924 Count Louis Zborowski and his engineer Clive Gallop built four racing cars all powered by large 18 litre / 1000 cui + World War One aero engines designed for record attempts and racing primarily at Brooklands, the first car was timed at nearly 120 mph and the last in the hands of new owner Parry Thomas in excess of 170 mph in March 1927

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Zborowski’s cars were named Chitty Chitty Bang Bang I – IV, Parry Thomas renamed the 27 litre / 1647 cui Liberty powered Chitty IV ‘Babs’ when he made his record attempts. The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang name is variously attributed to the sound of an idling aero engine or a bawdy song

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Ian Flemming author of the James Bond books became familiar with Count Zborowski’s vehicles when he was invited to Zborowski’s former home Higham Park, where the cars were built, by Walter Wigham chairman of Robert Fleming & Co the investment bank founded by Ian’s Grandfather.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

In the early 1960’s Ian used the legend of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as the inspiration for a story, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang The Magical Car, written for his son Casper that was published in three volumes in 1964 with illustrations by John Burningham.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang tells the story of the Paragon Panther a touring car that is restored by Commander Caractacus Pott before revealing the capacity to fly, over traffic jams and glide over water like a hover craft.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

In 1968 a loose adaption of the plot was turned into a musical and filmed with Dick van Dyke playing Caractacus Potts and Sally Ann Howes playing his love interest Truly Scrumptious who never appeared in the books. You can see the trailer on this link.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

In order to make the film the director Albert Broccoli asked Alan Mann to build six identical vehicles for the film of which today’s featured car is one. Apparently these Ford Zodiac V6 powered cars with automatic transmission were tested up to 100 mph before they were delivered and further modified for filming.

Thanks for joining me on “The Magical Car” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Purring Panther – Alfa Romeo Giulia Super

The Alfa Romeo Giulia also known as the 105 series was in production from 1962 – 1978, I first heard the distinctive sound of the twin cam Super model in Cyprus in the mid 1960’s.

This 1971 vehicle is powered by a 97 hp twin carburettor 1,570cc / 95 cui engine that gave the car sports car performance in a saloon car shell. In 1965 the Giulia Super received much of the technology from the 1963 Giulia Ti Super racing programme.

This crest featuring a serpent eating or regurgitating a human known as a Biscione has been an emblem of the Visconti family for a thousand years and used in the crest belonging to the ruling Sforza family of Milan for over 600 years. It’s exact origins are unknown but thought to be either from the legends of Theoderic the Great or alternatively from the biblical story of the Leviathan and Jonah.

Film buffs will remember that a number of Italian Police Giulia’s, known as Panthers, were out run in the original version of ‘The Italian Job’.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s Biscione edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me tomorrow for a look at two Alfa Romeo’s with bodywork that exudes all the hallmarks and subtlety of a back street speed shop. Don’t forget to come back now !