The Panther was built by Panther West Winds Car Company started in 1972 by Bob Jankel. The main model was the aluminum bodied J72, which was styled from the Jaguar SS100. Offered with a range of Jaguar engine options including the inline 3.9 & 4.2 and the 5.3 liter V12. An estimated 376 Panther J72’s were built between 1972 – 1986 with this model representing a 1977 Series 2. The Panther is noted for its high-quality construction and at the 1973 London Motor Show won the Silver Award for coachwork beating the likes of Rolls Royce; impressive to say the least.
The exterior has several design elements that owe their inspiration to the early 1930’s Jaguar SS100. These include sweeping clamshell fenders, a long louvered hood, rear mounted matching spare wheel/tire, large freestanding tri-pod headlights with wire mesh screens, front fog lights, “tubular” bumpers, a chrome luggage rack, side exhaust that exit in front of the driver’s side rear wheel, and a canvas rear boot cover to finish off the interior compartment.
DETAILS—THIS PARTICULAR 1977 PANTHER J72
This Panther, chassis # 648 was acquired by the current owner in 2013 from the previous California owner of ~20 years. The car was in running / driving condition, but in need of mechanical and cosmetic improvements because of minimal use and long- time storage. The car received a complete respray 5 years ago in “Glacier White,” the factory color, and in 2021 cosmetic improvements included a new burgundy interior utilizing Rolls Royce Connolly leather, replacement of wooden floors and the addition of Wilton wool carpet in color coordinated burgundy. Within the past few years the Panther benefited from upgrading the factory hardware with stainless nut and bolts (where appropriate) and other fasteners.
This Panther features a Jaguar dual SU carbureted 4.2 liter engine mated to a Borg Warner 3-speed automatic transmission. Front suspension is independent with wishbones, coil-overs, anti-roll bar and telescopic Koni shock absorbers all around. Rear suspension is live axle with trailing arm, transverse linkage bar coil springs. The original Vauxhaul rear end has been replaced with a Volvo 240 including Volvo disc brakes, front brakes are Jaguar discs. A manual steering rack replaced the troublesome power unit. Chrome 15” wire wheels with Panther center logos are mounted on Toyo tires with that show virtually no wear. Photos in the listing show the extremely clean undercarriage including the floors, rust/damage free chassis and undercarriage, and front and rear suspension components.
The cockpit features recently upholstered bucket seats in lovely Rolls Royce burgundy Connolly leather with black piping, color coordinated Wilton carpets and other trim completed in 2021. The aluminum dash contains a full complement of Smiths gauges includes speedometer, tachometer, oil pressure, water temperature, fuel, and voltmeter behind the 4-spoke leather wrapped steering wheel with a Jaguar logo. 3-point harnesses are installed for both driver and passenger, and a number of Jaguar bits are fitted to the interior including the shift lever, parking brake, ash-tray, and dash switches/toggles. A functional Pioneer radio mounted is mounted below the dash with hidden speakers. Lighting systems and electrical items are fully functional.
The mileage showing of ~12,200 is the reported by the owner as the actual mileage accumulated since the car was manufactured in the 1976 and the condition supports the low mileage. However, due to the age of the car the mileage is being represented as TMU (Total Mileage Unknown). The car recently passed California’s strict smog test and has been safety checked. The Panther is currently on “Non-Op,” and carries a clean California title in the owner’s name.
The Panther was entered in a local All British Meet receiving an incredible amount of attention for its uniqueness and nostalgic appearance. If you’re looking for a limited production collectible vehicle for occasional use, local shows, or to enjoy on sunny days, this may well be the car for you!
The Panther received a complete respray in Glacier White approximately 5 years ago. The car presents very well, has extremely high gloss paint and has had no partial repainting or damage since being repainted. The body is solid, free from damage and has good panel fit for a vehicle of this type and era. There are no signs of previous or current damage. When not in use, the car has been garaged by the current and previous owners.
The 5-spoke wire are wrapped in 15” radials. All glass is excellent. Both bumpers are free from damage with excellent chrome. The remaining exterior trim, and other exterior parts show very well including the attractive large, vintage style chrome headlights, rear luggage.
The striking burgundy interior recent refurbishment including reupholstery of the seats in Connolly leather and Wilton carpet, both trimmed in black piping. The carpet, door panels, gauges and interior trim are all in excellent condition. Especially attractive is the Panther’s dashboard containing a full complement of gauges, an aluminum dashboard with a prominent “Panther” logo, and a 4-spoke leather steering wheel. Seat belts with harnesses are fitted for safety. The multiple photos reflect the beauty of the fresh interior. The top is the only part of the car that has not been refurbished as the owner enjoyed the car in the pleasant California weather. The existing canvas top is in place, and while torn in various places due to age, can be used as a pattern for a replacement. The frames for the side curtains are also included in the sale.
The engine compartment is very clean with the Jaguar 4.2 liter engine remaining in its stock configuration and offering excellent performance when fitted to this relatively lightweight Panther. Transmission is stock Jaguar, a Borg Warner, 3-speed automatic. The underside shows solid floor pans, chassis, and other components.
The car starts immediately, idles smoothly, shifts properly with excellent shifting and no noticeable drivability issues or mechanical problems. The J72 has excellent power, does not hesitate and idles smoothly. The Panther tracks straight and stops as designed. Steering is tight and relatively light, especially once underway, due to the size and weight of the car. We do not feel the need for power steering and brakes and do not enjoy the lack of feel on some of the overly power assisted cars of this era. The emergency brake is fully functional and adjusted properly. The car does not overheat, even in our warm California climate.
The lighting system is fully functional as are wipers, functional radio, and working heater / defroster. The Panther passed the required California safety inspection with no findings / needs.
- Recently passed California smog
- Passed the California required safety inspection for working wipers, turn signals, lights, brakes, etc.
- Clear California title in the owner’s name, filed California “Non-Op”
SPECIFICATIONS – 1977 PANTHER J2
- Manufactured by Panther in United Kingdom
- 2-door roadster body type in aluminum
- RWD (rear-wheel drive), Automatic 3-speed transmission
- Gasoline engine with displacement: 4235 cm3 / 257.5 cui, advertised power: 141.6 kW / 190 hp
- Dimensions: outside length: 165 in., width: 68.5 in., wheelbase: 111 in.
- Base curb weight: 2778 lbs., Gross weight GVWR: 3197 lbs.
- Performance: Top speed: 120 mph (factory estimate);
- Accelerations: 0- 60 mph 6.6© 1/4 mile drag time15.9 seconds (factory estimate)