If Shaft was an android, he’d drive this. It’s the 1977 Panther 6, a six-wheeled monster with a roaring 500-cubic-inch (8.2-liter) twin-turbocharged Cadillac V-8 stuffed under its louvered haunches. It has 600-plus horsepower and, theoretically, can hit 200 miles per hour. It is hideous, fascinating, and stunning. And it’s for sale in Geneva, Switzerland for £150,000 (about $219,300). Hit the jump for more info and photos.
The Panther 6 was unleashed on the world at the 1977 Motorfair show in the U.K. The thing was designed and built in complete secrecy by Panther founder Robert Jankel. He assembled it in his garage with an elite group of trusted engineers and mechanics. It was a total and absolute shock, even to people who worked at Panther. It was also a complete show stopper. In addition to its brute power, it had a telephone and tiny television in its dash, power seats, and a host of other luxury gizmos. According to Jankel, 15 batshit-crazy millionaires placed orders for the car. Two were built. Why? Pirelli made only eight of the little (205/40VR13) front tires and refused to make more.
A handful of auto journalists actually got to drive the Panther 6. Doug Nye of Australian Sports Car World was the first. He wrote this in the May/July 1979 issue:
“The most impressive feature of the Six is its smooth ride and tremendous cornering power…for the sensation of total front end competence and fine rear-end traction is vivid…Above all, the Panther Six is an extremely civilized conveyance, even when using its straight-line and cornering power. It never loses its well-bred character. Jankel and his men had aimed at producing an exotic car for the boulevardier which would remain a practicable and luxurious proposition for long distance grand touring, and both Jenks [1955 Mille Miglia co-pilot Denis Jenkinson] and I were deeply impressed that here was one open car in which 1,000 kilometres in a day seemed not only possible but positively attractive!”
According to the dealership selling this Panther 6, Kidston, the whereabouts of the other car is unknown. Think about that the next time you call a car unique or exotic.
Check out a video of the Panther 6 from 1977 at the German Panther Club website here.