Saturday 24th August 2019,

Panther J72 1972 – 1981

1972 saw the launch of the first Panther, the J72. It was a revolution in automotive thinking. Morgan produced traditional style cars but they always had. To begin production in 1972 with a 1936 shape was most unusual. Many pre-war cars were less than beautiful but Robert Jankel chose one of the very best shapes to replicate, the SS 100 Jaguar. What a way to start a motor manufacturing business!

His basic principals were simple. Replicate the great models of yesterday from the best materials. Using up-to-date running-gear and power-trains would guarantee performance. The very best interior finish would satisfy the most discerning members of the public. This would be a very expensive car, designed to appeal to extrovert motorists. It was not designed for the purists, who indeed did not take it very seriously. However there was a solid demand for the car and it sold well.

The Panther J72 was built on a box-section chassis with a tubular steel frame carrying the alloy bodywork. The J72`s appearance was stunning. Two-door, two seater body, side-lifting bonnet panels and huge chrome headlights with modern halogen lamps concealed inside. A large chrome radiator-grille caught the attention at once, as did the full length running-boards and chrome wire-wheels. It was not supposed to fool anybody, it was not an SS100 but it was really special.

The interior was traditional in style but modern in concept. The upholstery was made from the best hide that Connolly could provide. So luxurious was it that the J72 famously won the unofficial `Best in Show` award for interior finish from the motoring journalists at the 1973 Earl`s Court Motor Show in London, beating the Rolls-Royce into second place!

So far, so good. What about the engineering?

Mr. Jankel stayed with the original concept – Jaguar. Three engines were offered. The 3.8 and 4.2 litre XKs or the mighty 5.3 V12, all with automatic options. As performance varies depending on the engine specified, we will deal with the data by ascending capacity.

Panther J72 3.8

Jaguar`s 3.8 litre twin-overhead-camshaft 6-cylinder, with two valves per cylinder in the alloy head. The engine was `E-type` spec and so had triple SU carburettors. The Moss gearbox had four ratios plus overdrive on 3rd and 4th gears. The Borg-Warner 212 automatic transmission was an option, giving three ratios.

The 3.8 XK produced 180 bhp and 185 ft/lbs of torque. A creditable 0-60 time of 7.5 seconds was recorded with a top speed of 110 mph. This relatively low top speed was due to the total absence of streamlining. The 0-60 time was helped in great measure by the lack of weight, the Panther J72 had a kerb-weight of only 1133 kg. The suspension comprised independent coil and wish-bone on the front with live axle rear using coil-springs and trailing arms.

Panther J72 4.2

Jaguar`s 4.2 litre XK engine, producing 190 bhp and 200 ft/lbs of torque. Also using the triple SU carburettor installation, the 4.2 had a kerb-weight of 1136 kg. The top speed was 114 mph and the 0-60 time was 6.4 seconds. Very impressive.

The third engine option was very interesting.

Panther J72 5.3 V12

The XK engined cars were excellent but the V12 put them in the shade. Like all standard V12s of the period it used four Zenith-Stromberg carburettors. Producing 285 bhp and 294 ft/lbs of torque the J72 V12 was a veritable vintage rocket!

The 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds was not helped by a much higher kerb-weight of 1982 kg, however the top-speed of 150 mph was remarkable considering the frontal body-shape. The suspension on this car is the subject of some conjecture. It is logical that Jaguar`s system was used front and rear, especially the Salisbury independent rear-end common to all V12 Jaguars. We are, as always, open to correction.

The wonderful Panther J72 went out of production in 1981 after approximately 370 models had been built. In the author`s humble opinion this was the best car that Panther ever built although the reader may well disagree!

PS: We are very sorry about the poor video quality, but at least we have some shots of the engine bay and interior.

Panther J72 1972-1981 Specifications
Body Type2 seater drophead coupe
Engine PlacementFront
Drive TypeRear wheel drive
Cargo VolumeVery little
Engine3.8 Jaguar XK 12V DOHC
Cylindersstraight 6
Displacement3781 cc230.7 cui
Power134 Kw180 bhp5000 RPM
Torque251 Nm185 ft. lb3500 RPM
Power/weight159 bhp/t
Top Speed177 km/h110 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph7.5 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Gearbox4 speed manual+overdrive3 speed automatic
Weight1133 kg2498 lb
Engine4.2 Jaguar XK 12V DOHC
Cylindersstraight 6
Displacement4235 cc258.4 cui
Power142 Kw190 bhp5000 RPM
Torque271 Nm200 ft. lb2000 RPM
Power/weight167 bhp/t
Top Speed183 km/h114 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph6.4 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Gearbox4 speed manual+overdrive3 speed automatic
Weight1136 kg2504 lb
Engine5.3 Jaguar SOHC 24V
Displacement5344 cc326.1 cui
Power213 Kw285 bhp6000 RPM
Torque399 Nm294 ft. lb3500 RPM
Power/weight144 bhp/t
Top Speed241 km/h150 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph6.5 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Gearbox4 speed manual3 speed automatic
Weight1982 kg4370 lb
GD Star Rating
Panther J72 1972 - 1981, 10.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditEmail this to someone

About Bev Roberts

Speed, the smell of hot oil, the roar of a straight-through exhaust and the scream of an engine at max revolutions. They have all been a large part of my life for almost 50 years. It is time to share my experiences with you, dear reader. Do you want to know more? Read on through my `Full Bio` and many articles.

View All Posts

I was born in Hereford UK in 1948 and brought up in Gloucester UK. I played Rugby football internationally as a schoolboy. At the age of 17, a new and wet driving license in my paw, I entered motor racing. I was supported and financed by my parents and so my journey began.

In 1965 I bought a 1293cc Mini-Cooper `S` and campaigned it for a season. Having quickly made some good friends in the racing fraternity, several interesting opportunities came my way. I joined a sports-car team and raced in the Le Mans 24 hours in 1968 and 1969 in a Lola T70. Mechanical failure defeated both efforts. During that period I owned and raced a `D type` Jaguar and an AC Cobra. In those days cars like that were available and not too expensive, now they reside in museums and private collections. I had a chain of interesting cars through my youth including Jaguars, Minis, Mustangs and Lotus-Cortinas.

As a young driver I had my share of accidents too. Often the car would only be worth scrap-metal value by the time I got it home! I worked for an Aston-Martin/Jaguar dealership for a while, which enhanced my experience and gave me the opportunity to sample some very exotic machines, Ferrari, Facel-Vega, Iso and Maserati to recall a few of them.

At the end of 1969 I moved to South Africa to work on my uncle`s farm but the S.A. government had other ideas and drafted me into the army. After five years had passed I was thanked and released from the service. While I was there I bought a beige Cadillac Eldorado, previously the property of Marilyn Monroe. While I was away on a patrol my girlfriend had it re-sprayed pink! I was unimpressed by both the joke and the bill for the work!

When I returned to UK in 1974 I left it behind. On my return I found that the once-mighty British motor industry was in decline and was headed for oblivion. Motor racing was now very expensive so I turned to commercial transport. Driving large trucks gave me freedom and a chance to see some of the world. I don`t remember ever making a career choice but for the next thirty years a truck was my home. For about ten years in that period I owned two trucks of my own.

I also owned a famous MGB-GT, known as `Lucky`. If you`d like to read `The Story of Lucky` there is an article in Inopian`s archive. I finally retired, due to ill-health, in 2008. Since I had varied knowledge and many experiences on our subject I decided to share the stories of the cars I enjoyed (and hated) with the new generation.

Enjoy Inopian… it is constructed and written for you.

Leave A Response