The seventies were noted for the huge expansion in the automotive ne-classic retro movement, which started in 1963 with these drawings by Virgil Exner. It was a natural raction to the huge changes brought on in the industry, with cars’ design and engineering conforming to new regulatory demands, as well as societal changes, which were rather peaking at the time (the 60s were more of a foreshadowing; the 70s were the implementation). So cars like the Panther De Ville,harking back to the glorious late-twenties and early-thirties, were all the rage, except some were done much better than others. The De Ville clearly falls in the former category.
Wow, 60k though. Think id take 10 musclecars instead. Or one, blow the rest on fast women. Lol
A few comments. Who is Madeleine Carroll? A V-12 and 0-60 in over 12 seconds? My plebian 3.5 ltr. ’05 Taurus does better than that. And wow, thats a heck of a speedometer error there, isn’t it? An overall, overpriced, “fugly” pimp-mobile. Never liked the so called “neo classics” and never knew anyone who thought they looked “snazzy” except for pot bellied guys in leisure suits, with too much money to spend. I could actually picture someone like one of actor Joe Pesci’s characters driving this. Virgil Exner needed to retire quietly before he came out with this thing.
Monsieur Guy Gadbios, at your service.
I recall the Panther 6 and Lima/Kallista more clearly, but I did have an automotive catalogue with some of these neo-classic Panthers around 1984. The Panther Kallista was actually a car I’d see on the streets of Hilversum fairly regularly. I have never seen a Panther 6 in the metal, but it was the subject of much attention when it was almost available.
I’m surprised by just how slow this car was. It was fairly light by modern luxury flagship standards and had one of the most powerful drivetrains of its day.
Perhaps this one was better looking and executed than most. But I generally considered these ‘faux-classics’ as tasteless examples of conspicuous consumption. At $60K, the dash is unimpressive. The plastic instrument panel, AC vents and switch-gear would look just right in a cheap motor-home.
Happy Motoring, Mark
I think most of that stuff is straight out of the Jaguar XJ12 donor vehicle, although that doesn’t change your point. The instrument panel fascia isn’t out of a Jaguar though, and it was real wood and finished to a high standard.
What gets me is that I’m pretty sure you could have bought a very nice Bugatti for $60K forty years ago.
The panel fascia may have been quality wood (though it’s hard to tell in the black & white photo) I was referring to the cheap-looking, generic ’70s black plastic instruments with silver paint attempting an illusion of chrome, switches that might have come from an Austin Marina, and the plastic AC vent and controls that reminded me of the aftermarket AC units in a number of ’70s economy imports.
While this may have been ‘the thing’ by 1975, it looks out of place in a $60,000 car that’s supposed to recall the 1930s.
The ’62 Hillman Minx I owned at that time had much nicer looking switches and gauges, with real chrome!
Happy Motoring, Mark
Anachronistic would be the better critique, it’s not that the switchgear and vents are cheap, they just have a look and feel specific to a totally different era. Otherwise it seems to be a pretty well done tribute to the best interiors of the 1920s, which were all a bit more “rugged” than we’re accustomed to now.
At the time though I’m sure it was seen as the best of both worlds. Looking at this car reminds me of when I see a hot rod for sale today that was clearly customized in the 80s or 90s, with neon stripes, billet wheels and tweed everywhere, that looks so cheesy and even cheap now but I do remember seeing cars like them featured on every magazine cover when I was a little kid.
$60K may not sound like a lot for a car now, but that is equivalent to $267,000 in 2017 dollars.
Ouch. For that much money I’m surprised they didn’t calibrate the speedometer better, among other issues.
“Do you know how fast you were going, sir?”
The doors were from the Austin 1800.
“If you see a Panther, don’t anther.” –Ogden Nash
A reference book I have says they built these as convertibles with powered, manual, and removeable hardtop, as well as 1 example as a 2 door sedan….for a total of 62.
As far as values, in 1997 these were valued at the equivalent of $45-50 thousand dollars.
Thank you, Paul, except that your framing lately has been skimming off the RH 1/4″ of whatever page is up there. If it’s a photo I don’t usually mind so much, but an article by the stylistic hero of my R&T-loving youth, Henry N. Manney himself, leaves me miffed. MIFFED, I say! And since that’s the side where the footer gives month and year, all I know is it’s some October or another, which means I’ll be combing through my un-catalogued old R&Ts for all my 1970s October issues, just in case …
There really ought to be something you could do about the formatting, though.
It’s your device, as these are cropped and sized to fit just so. But if it’s not right on your page, click the image once to see it by itself, and click again to see it in extra-full size. Does that work for you?
Driver looks like Gordon Murray
Mitsuoka must have one of these in their top-secret lair inside a hollowed out volcano on a small Japanese island.
At one time or another there was a deVille that replaced a J72, and a Rio, parked 2 minutes from my childhood home; the neighbours had an (Allegro) Vanden Plas 1500. We must’ve been near Mitsouka’s SW London outpost!
Use to be one trundling around Hong Kong. Owned by an elderly lawyer I believe. The interior looked like a rottweilier had made love to it. “That’s an improvement” I thought. A titanic of the automotive world.
Would never want one, but really enjoyed the article.
Bright framed door glasses, like the coachbuilt classics, would go a long way to convincing the onlookers…
Cruella De Vil car is a Panhter
I like these. I have no idea why, as I have very little time for most neoclassics…but these are to a completely different standard. Would I buy one? Nope. But I actually think they’re kind of cool.
Great article altogether–Manney had a fantastic style.