Unusual Vehicles is a segment that looks into the history of an unconventional car to see what made it memorable. Vehicles with an uncommon number of wheels have been popular throughout the car industry and the Panther 6 is a prime example. Designed by British manufacturer Panther, this weird motor came with six wheels. The configuration was inspired by the Tyrrell P34, making the Panther 6 one of the most unique vehicles ever built.
The Panther 6 was the creation of Managing Director, Robert Jankel, who had a taste for ludicrous machines. The marque became known for building extraordinary vehicles such as the Felber Ferrari and Lazer. After seeing the Tyrrell P34 Formula 1 race car at the 1976 British Grand Prix, Jankel set to work on designing a new vehicle that would be his most outlandish creation.
Jankel enlisted the help of Vauxhall creators’ Wayne Cherry and Geoff Lawson to design the Panther 6. Enamoured by the six wheel configuration of the P34, Jankel believed the layout could wow potential customers. Even after Tyrrell stopped producing the P34 in 1977, Jankel remained undeterred.
The company incorporated a 8.2-litre Cadillac Eldorado V8 that outputted 365bhp. Jankel claimed the Panther could reach a top speed of 200 mph, though this was more for publicity than an accurate figure. The V8 took components from several vehicles, such as an air-conditioning system from an American Mack truck and an interior panel inspired by the Aston Martin Lagonda. The combination of British and American engineering made Jankel confident that his car could become a public success.
The Panther 6 debuted at the 1977 London Motorfair, with Jankel extolling its benefits. “I am very serious indeed about it. We don’t build motor show gimmicks, and this car will be in production by the early part of next year.” By the end of the show, Jankel had claimed to have taken 15 orders.
However, the car was a long way from being finished, due to suspension difficulties. Only two Panther 6s were ever produced, the show model and a white left-hand-drive version.
Although the Panther 6 never made it onto the road, it can still be admired for its unique design.