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Diecast Forums – Forum 43 – Diecast Zone

Posted By: David Holcombe
Posted On: Thursday July 30, 2020 at 6:47 PM
The Packard Panther Daytona by Matrix (pics)
By 1953 Packard's concept car, the Pan American, was ready for an update. The design assignment was handed to young Richard A. Teague, Packard's chief stylist.

What would become the 1954 Panther Daytona was, as Teague remembers, “a lunch hour production. Somebody walked into Styling one day and said, ‘Oh yeah, Teague, come up with a replacement for the Pan American.’ We didn’t have much time to work on it, and I personally built only a quarter-scale half-model in clay, which we placed against a mirror to get the full dimension.

“It was originally to have been called ‘Grey Wolf II,’ in honor of the first Grey Wolf racing car of the early 1900s,” Teague continued. “But some of the grey wolves at Packard didn’t like that, so the name was changed to ‘Panther.’ Then, after a speed run at Daytona, that name was added, too.”

Unlike its predecessors, this new series of two-seat Packards employed bodywork of glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) instead of steel. For Packard in 1954, building the Teague Panther in fiberglass made as much sense as it did to Chevy for the Corvette or K-F for the Kaiser-Darrin. GRP molds cost far less than steel dies, and body parts could be turned out much more rapidly. Then too, Packard had some useful outside resources as potential contractors: Creative Industries in Detroit and Mitchell-Bentley in Ionia, Michigan.

Packard announced the Panther at a round of 1954 auto shows and with a special brochure, much like those that GM issued on its Motorama specials. Equally significant -- and just slightly behind GM -- was a wrapped windshield, a fairly exotic piece of glass-bending at the time.

One of the 1955 modified last two, this Panther also had a detachable roof.

To further establish the Panther’s sporting credentials, Packard installed the biggest engine it had: a 359-cubic-inch straight eight. On the first two examples, this was jacked up to 275 horsepower via a McCulloch centrifugal supercharger. With no modifications other than a racing windscreen, a Panther flashed through the measured mile on the sands of Daytona Beach at the highest speed ever attained by a car in its class: 131.1 mph. It was quite an achievement. Indeed, none of its rivals at the time, including Corvette, could match it. Packard added "Daytona" to the name of the Packard Panther.

Only four Daytona Panthers were built, all essentially prototypes. Mitchell-Bentley modified the last two with "cathedral" taillights and other 1955 details in a vain attempt for the new model year. The Matrix scale 1:43 model is based on these last two.

But the idea never had a chance in the midst of the financial disaster that was Studebaker-Packard in those times. Matrix gave us a chance to hold a small part of that late attempt.

Matrix did some nice detailing on this model.

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Message thread:

The Packard Panther Daytona by Matrix (pics) by David Holcombe #28510
David what a great model. (EOM) by Shel Platt #28510.1
Nice ! A very cool design and replica of this dream Packard. (EOM) by Mike DeTorrice #28510.2

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