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The Packard Panther was a show car, built in 1954 to showcase some of the more radical ideas Packard was considering for its production models in the mid- and late-1950s.
The Panther was a two-seat "personal luxury" sporting convertible (in the same vein as the Pan-American), with Packard styling cues but much lower stance. A total of four Panthers were built, of which only two survive. Originally, the cars had 1955 Clipper taillights, but these were subsequently removed and replaced with the Senior Series' "cathedral" style units. The design for the Panther's one-piece fiberglass body is credited to Dick Teague, later of AMC, who worked at Mitchell-Bentley Corporation at the time. Of the four Panthers built, one was owned by Mitchell-Bentley exec William Mitchell, Sr. The Mitchell car is the only Panther which had a removable hardtop (which resembled that of the 1955 Thunderbird). Mitchell sold it in 1988 to the Bortz Collection. The car was sold in 2006 to an unknown buyer for in excess of $360,000. Although it was shown in late 1954 and 1955 (when Packard was already advertising its new, modern overhead valve V8), the Panther featured the company's outdated 327 cu in (5.4 L) L-head (flathead) straight-eight, supercharged to produce 275 hp (205 kW), along with Ultramatic automatic transmission. Many[who?] believe Packard did not want to hurt sales of left-over 1954 L-head models, and by installing the new V8 in the Panther, potential buyers would ignore those cars for the all-new 1955s.
Currently still in existence, the Panther was also named "Daytona", and has been repainted in several different color schemes over the years. Today it remains in excellent condition and is privately owned.
Media related to Packard Panther Daytona at Wikimedia Commons
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