Receivers have been appointed to the Byfleet-based Panther Westwinds Ltd. and its associated companies, but production of the J72 and De Ville (the convertible version of which is now £72,000, the most expensive car listed on the UK market) will apparently continue in the receivers’ hands.
Production of the Vauxhall engined Lima, the root cause of the cash flow problem, for sales never matched the production potential, has ceased, while the six-wheeled Panther Six, powered by a turbocharged, 8.2-litre Cadillac engine, never went into series production.
The joint receivers and managers, Messrs. Ian Bond and Alan Barrett of City chartered accountants Deloitte Haskins and Sells, are actively reviewing the possibility of selling the business as a going concern. They are hopeful that redundancies, if any, in the present work force of about 150 will be kept to a minimum.
Panther had been talking to the Northern Ireland Development Agency about a joint venture to produce the attractive Vauxhall based Equus sports car, first exhibited on the Vauxhall stand at the 1978 Birmingham Motor Show, at Larne, Co. Antrim. These negotiations have broken down but the receivers say further talks are possible.
Former saloon car racer and fashion designer Bob Jankel, a highly creative designer and engineer, founded Panther in 1972 to build the Jaguar-engined J72, inspired by the SS 100. A story on the company appeared in Moor Sport, April 1974. — C.R.