Lot #5033 1954 Packard Mitchell Panther Supercharged Concept Car
Packard in the Fifties introduced a series of show and concept cars that quickly propelled them to the forefront of advanced American styling and design. The Panther appeared in 1954, combining in a single dramatic concept the vision of the Packard concept series. Designed by Dick Teague, the Panther was built by Packard contractor Mitchell-Bentley Corporation which was simultaneously building the acclaimed limited production Caribbean convertibles. The Panther carried on Packard identity with several features including the characteristic notched curve of the grille's upper opening, a Packard feature over nearly the marque's entire life. The body sides were lower, with a graceful accent ridge sweeping down the sides, accentuated by lowering the entire body over the frame. The hood began with a full width overhang patterned after the Caribbean's hood scoop, its expanse ending in Packard's first use of the wraparound windshield. The Panther design was so successful and well received that three more Panthers were built subsequently. The first Panther built served as a show and concept car for the 1954 season and was displayed throughout the US and also crossed the Atlantic to England and possibly to Italy. The second became the Daytona Panther driven by Jim Rathmann on Daytona Beach where it recorded and official speed of 110.9mph and a later unofficial speed of 131.1mph. This is the first Panther built. One of only two of the four Panthers to be powered by a 359cid Packard straight 8 with a McCulloch centrifugal supercharger making 275hp. Innovative fiberglass body. Acquired by Mitchell Corporation from the Imperial Palace Collection in 1991. Fully restored by Mitchell Corporation, the original builders, and displayed in the company's corporate museum. Beautifully liveried in silver-gray with gray leather upholstery and gray carpets. 1996 winner of the Preserving the Vision Award at the Eyes on Classic Design Concours. Class winner at the Meadowbrook Concours. Recently acquired directly from Mitchell Corporation, it is accompanied by a file of original photos showing its body construction and assembly, press and show photos, original auto show handouts, copies of several magazine articles and other Panther memorabilia including an original uncut Panther key with integral keychain. It is beautifully restored and freshly detailed with its mechanical systems refreshed so it runs and drives as intended.