Panther Solo is a mid-engined sports car that was made by the
British company Panther Car Company. It was available as a two-seat
coupé, with the option of additional rear seats to make it a 2+2.
SsangYong Motor Company, which had become the owner of Panther
Westwinds, made a concept car called the SsangYong Solo 3 as a tribute
to the original Solo and Solo 2, as well as a racing version called
the SsangYong Solo Le Mans.
1 Solo 1
2 Solo 2
4 Sources and further reading
The first Solo, the Solo 1, was a simple mid-engined rear wheel drive
car. It had a Ford 1.6 CVH Engine (as fitted in the Ford Fiesta
XR2), and was designed as a replacement for the
marque's volume model, the Panther Kallista. The car used relatively
simple technology, had contemporary styling and was clad in a
fibreglass body in order to save weight. However,
Toyota launched its
second generation MR2 around the same time, and the Solo was unable to
compete with this Japanese rival.
The South Korean original owner of Panther Mr Y. C. Kim made the
decision to amend the Solo after taking a vacation in Guam where he
saw one of the early MR2s. A new styling design for the Solo was
created by Mr Ken Greenley of the London RCA vehicle styling
school : with a slightly larger 2+2 layout with a composite upper
body, permanent four wheel drive and the engine being mid mounted from
Ford Sierra Cosworth. This would be called the "Solo 2". The body
engineering designers involved were :- Martin Freestone
(composites), Keith Hunter (underbody & structure), William "Bill"
Davies (details), Mert Wreford (making coffee).
The Solo 2 used the
Ford Sierra RS 1,993 cc
(121.6 cu in) engine with twice the horsepower of the Solo
1. It was mated to the Borg-Warner T-5 (same as in the RS),
which drove a Ferguson four-wheel drive system modified by Panther to
use XR4x4 components, including both differentials. The company
decided also to stretch the wheelbase to accommodate 2+2 seating,
which was partly done by ex-Ford Europe engineers who had worked on
the Sierra Cosworth and XR4x4. March did the aerodynamics,
producing a Cd of 0.33, as well as producing the composite
construction, encouraged by March chairman Robin Herd. One of the
development cars had a twin turbo setup due to the known turbo lag
issues. The theory was that two smaller turbos would eliminate the lag
of one larger turbo.
A troublesome area was with the 4 wheel drive transfer box. This was a
custom made part, the internals were chain driven and the chains had a
habit of self destructing when abused.
The lower body of the Solo 2 was a space frame made primarily of
steel with the upper body being made from aluminium honeycomb
sandwiched between multiple sheets of impregnated glass fibre bonded
with epoxy . The upper body was to be glued using an aerospace
adhesive to the lower chassis. No rollbar was needed. Suspension
used Escort struts in front, while the disc brakes were fitted with
It is not known exactly how many vehicles were built (however it was
between 12 and 25), as sometimes Panther would change the chassis
number of prototype cars. All but three Solos were sold to the public,
two were destroyed, and one is still owned by the owner of Panther.
One vehicle was written off by a motoring journalist who walked away
unhurt from the wreckage.
As of 2011, eight examples survive in the UK, but all are listed as
SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification, to legally notify the
government that the vehicle will not be driven on public roads), with
the last licensed example registered until 2010.
Crash test vehicle
Y C Kim, passed on to his son
D15 OLO (formerly G521 FNO)
Stephen Allan Vine
G308 XAR (formerly SPC 21)
G307XAR (formerly RT 40)
No car produced
No car produced
D5 OLO (formerly H731 HEV)
BNZ 5010 (formerly 11 JKP)
Sources and further reading
^  Archived 20 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
^  Archived 17 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
^ a b c Hutton, Ray. "Preview:
Panther Solo 2", in Car and Driver,
^ a b c Hutton, p.127.
^ Hutton, pp.125-6.
^ a b c d e Hutton, p.126.
^ Olly Smith. "PANTHER SOLO - How Many Left?". Howmanyleft.co.uk.
^  Archived 7 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
Hutton, Ray (January 1988). Sherman, Don, ed. "Preview: Panther Solo
2". Car and Driver. Ann Arbor, MI USA: Diamandis Communications. 33
(7): 125–128. ISSN 0008-6002.