Vintage What If? 1954 Packard Panther – No, It’s Real, Not AI-Generated, And Powered By A Supercharged Flathead Straight Eight

I would not blame you for thinking this was an AI-generated image, as it’s a bit hard to imagine that front end being “real”. But real it is; all too much so, designed by Dick Teague, whose lifetime output definitely tends to fall on two sides of the mean. He was not derivative, we can give him that accolade, at least.

CC Contributor has posted two AI-generated collections of imaginary 1975 Packards, the most recent one here. I thought it would be a nice follow up to take in the Panther, as it was something of a “What If” exercise at the time. As in, what if Packard built a Corvette; a stylish two-seater, powered by a supercharged version of its venerable 359 cubic inch flathead inline eight.


The impetus to build the Packard came from CEO James Nance, who wanted something to enter in the increasingly important Daytona Speed Week in early 1954. It was originally going to be called the Grey Wolf, later changed to Panther. Driven by Dick Rathman, the Panther hit 110 mph, something of a disappointment. An unofficial later run turned yielded 131 mph.

Four Panthers were built, using a shortened sedan chassis and using the company’s biggest engine, the “big block” 359 inline eight, supercharged and teamed with Packard’s own Ultramatic transmission. The original versions used the rear taillights from the Packard sedans.

Two of the Panthers were later updated with new rear fins, reflecting those on the restyled ’55 Packard line.

The removable hardtop echoed the one that was used on the ’55 Thunderbird.

There are times when it just doesn’t work to try to include heritage styling elements on a new car. Unless of course you’re trying to get AI to have a bit of fun.