1978 Panther 4 door
1978 Range Rover Panther
The Panther Westwinds company was founded in 1972 by Robert Jankel, and produced low-volume
specialized exotic replicars. Their first model was the Panther J72 launched in 1972, a replica version
based on the Jaguar SS100.
Through the 70's several other exotic Panther Westwinds created models were launched; like the
Panther FF, Panther Lazer, the Bugatti Royale inspired Panther De Ville, Panther Rio, the nearly
900 produced Panther Lima, the extreme 6 wheel ultra exotic Panther 6, Panther Kallista and
Panther Solo. All of these Panther models were designed and produced with Panthers high level of
craftmanship and good taste seen from a 70's and 80's perspective.
In addition to Panther Westwinds Ltd own models, Mr Jankel also started to coachbuild conversions
of luxury marques like the Range Rover.
In the beginning 4 door conversions on standard wheelbase models were converted. Through the
last part of the 70's and beginning of 80's the number of different variants available really increased
with; 6 wheel conversion, widened, extended, landaulets, convertibles etc etc. Whatever the wealthy
customer had of taste Panther delivered.
Especially the 6 wheel extended Range Rover, often widened, was one of the popular Panther The Panther J72 was the first model to Panther Westwinds Ltd
conversions to Middle East customers.
The blue Panther 6 wheel conversion at the right was made for King Khaled of Saudi Arabia. These
large Range Rovers were often used for hunting with falcons in the Arabian deserts. This is one of
three 6 wheelers owned by the King Khaled, built by the Panther Car Company (from 1980) in UK.
As can be seen here with extended rear wings, flared wheel arches and restyled rear doors.
Protective lamp guard front and rear, and scuttle-mounted Ducellier swivel spot lamps. The chassis
had an 10 inches extension in the center and 35 inches at the rear to fit the third axle. Heavy duty
suspension, long range fuel tanks and extra guard for the engine sump and tanks.
The basic engine output was increased 20 percent by fitting modified cylinder heads, tubular exhaust
manifolds, tuned carburettors and special air filters. The engine has an up-rated cooling system to cope
with the extreme desert conditions. A TorqueFlite 727 automatic transmission is installed.
Inside the 6 wheeler is completely retrimmed with dark-blue Wilton carpet and blue Connolly hide.
The dashboard and air-conditioned fascia is also retrimmed. Blaupunkt radio/cassette is mounted
high in centre of the dashboard for convenient operation.
Electric windows front and rear, electric antenna etc. A special rear seat, exclusive to Panther cars,
has been fitted with two large armrests. The right-hand side holds a set of four coffee cups and
with leather piping. The headlining is made of traditional West of England cloth.
Also within reach in this cushy back seat are the rear seat air-conditioning controls, a Quintrix
color television, a Sony Betamax video cassette recorder/player and a refrigerator.
Panther 6 wheel - widened - lengthened
When a new Range Rover arrives in Panthers workshop, off come the body panels, wheels and roof;
out comes the engine, seats and most of the interior. Then, as a final mark of disrespect for this
glorious machine, the back end is sawn off. This surgery is part of a remarkable conversion operation
which turns a £14,000 Range Rover into a £70,000, six-wheeled dune hopper for wealthy Arabs.
Converting Range Rovers for the Middle East market is one of several projects underway at Panther
Car Company in Byfleet, Surrey. Kim Young bought the ailing sports car company in 1980 and used
its coachbuilding experience to forge a niche in the lucrative conversion business.
The company was already lengthening Mercedes for long-legged businessmen when Panther hit on
the idea of converting the prestigous Range Rover.
After all, if you can convince wealthy tycoon they need a lengthy Mercedes, you can surely persuade
an oil sheik he needs a six-wheel drive Range Rover.
If you add a few luxuries, like television and an elevating rear seat which rises through the roof, then
the package becomes irresistible — even at £70,000.
The first step in the conversion programme is to strip the Range Rover down to its chassis. From
there, the engineers at Panther proceed to rebuild it to their own specifications.
The Arabs are partial to spacious vehicles, so an extra foot has to be added to the width of the new
Range Rover. This is achieved by adding six inches each side of the bonnet and roof before reassembly.
To take the extra set of wheels, the vehicle has to be cut away from behind the rear axle. An extra
length of chassis carrying the third axle is welded on, giving the vehicle an additional four feet in length.
If the customer insists that his extra wheels actually work—some have them just for show — then a
second drive shaft has to be fitted to the existing transfer box. According to Panther this system gives
a far better performance than running a shaft from rear differential.
The standard Range Rover engine is uprated by 25 per cent to bring it back in line with the original SDI
Rover 3.5 plant. But some customers are still not satisfied. "We've put in Chevy 5.7 litre engines before
and one customer had a 6.5," says the Panther’s representative.
The interior of the new longer and fatter Range Rover is transformed according to the whims of the
customer. Some have leather seats and redesigned dashboards, all have electric windows, sun roofs
As hunting seems to be a popular pastime in the desert, Panther have designed what must be the
ultimate in sporting accessories. At a flick of a switch, the rear seat can be elevated through the
sun-roof to give its occupants a bird's eye view of the prey. This ingenious electrical device enables
the shooting party to fire away without leaving their seats.
Selling such indulgencies appears to be quite simple. Most sales are made through word-of-mouth,
although Panther does have two dealer outlets in Saudi Arabia. After-sales service and advice are
offered, but many customers cast off their playthings within months of purchase, according to Panther.
The conversion team at Panther turn out about ten Range Rovers each year almost exclusively for the
Middle East. The success of the operation has enabled the company to invest more money in its new
Kallista sports car and the ambitious Solo project.
Article from 'Four Wheel Drive' - February 1985:
Range Rover - Panther Desert Ranger - 6x6 - Dubai
Massive rear end of Bel Helei's Desert Ranger. Note sparewheels Panther Desert Ranger with impressive driving in this video
See the ultimate desert driving video inclusive this Panther Desert Ranger from Dubai owned
by Bel Helei by clicking on the video at right
Widened 20 centimeter
6x6 wheel drive, extendened vehicle length
Powerful big V8 engine
Beautiful interior with elevating seats
Originally built for King Fahd in Saudi Arabia
Impressive driving in the desert outside Dubai
The video is originally shown in Norwegian motor broadcast 'Broom' in 2011
Panther Desert Ranger - 6x6
Really a brutal and powerful Desert Ranger conversion with 6x6, extended and widened, with huge tyres ready for the sand dunes
Panther Desert Ranger - 6x6 - 3 door conversion
Special Panther Desert Ranger conversion with rear side door only on right side. Extended wheelbase, widened and 6x6 drive
Special widened and extended body Panther 4 door 4x4 automatic conversion
Pictures from 2011, Saudi Arabia
Widened 9" to increase seat comfort to a maximum
4 door conversion with RRC 2 door - door lengths front and rear
Capacity of 6 persons, in comfort, with 2 foldable seats
Air conditioning systems front and rear
2 glass sunroofs
Refrigerator at rear and refreshment cabinet inside vehicle
Large powerful V8 engine and automatic transmission
Special front end conversion
Impressive at any angle
Extra widened and extended Range Rover Panther conversion
Impressive length and width of this large Panther 4 door conversion Comfortable seats front and rear, with foldable seats in the middle
From the Panther brochure text:
In recognition of growing worldwide demand, our Special Product Division have made arrangements to convert the world famous Range Rover to 4 door specification, and the unit has been given proprietary approval by British Leyland.
Whilst the basic 4 door conversion now gives this remarkable and proven 4 x 4 vehicle total versatility, we can also make whatever other detailed modifications to new or used Range Rovers which may be individually required.
Dash or roof-mounted air conditioning, an electric sun-roof, luxury interior trim, special paint finish, stereo installation and hunting specification are examples of the work which can be done be the same highly skilled craftsmen who hand build the illustrated Panther automobiles.
We also undertake special conversions for military and police applications, including the following:
interior grab rails and running boards, writing desk, filing cabinet, secretarial equipment, drinking
water system with hand basin and electrically powered water supply with outlet, twin 3 cubic foot capacity refrigerators, sleeping berths, dining equipment, cooking equipment with six gas burners, utensils and unbreakable crockery, storage compartment, wardrobe and elevating roof.
Our products have been universally acclaimed as being the best finish and having the highest quality obtainable at any price.
These automobiles from our production range, which are all air conditioned, are examples of Panther's superb craftmanship. They are hand coachbuilt in aluminium to whatever specifications our clients may require, with the interiors appointed in only the finest quality leathers, suedes and carpeting.
Panther did Range Rover conversions untill 1987
Their 6 wheel conversions had fully open wheel arches, not seen on other similar 6 wheels converters.
Available also with widened vehicle body