1977 Panther Lima

SI Convertible 2.3 L

Vehicle values by condition

Condition 4
#4 cars are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped.
Condition 3
#3 cars could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 car, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior.
Condition 2
#2 cars could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 cars that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws.
Condition 1
#1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best car, unmodified, in the right colours, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours.
Insurance premium for a
1977 Panther Lima SI Convertible 2279
valued at £9,100
£144.41 / year*

History of the 1976 - 1978 Panther Lima

1976 - 1978 Panther Lima
1976 - 1978 Panther Lima
Panther Lima (Convertible), 1976-1982

The Panther Lima was in production from 1980 until 1983. Styled in house by Bob Jankel, it is a front-engine, rear wheel drive sportscar seating two adults.

The Lima was Panther founder Bob Jankel’s concept of an affordable sportscar. It followed his previous J72 – a Jaguar based SS100 replica – and was intended to offer the same experience at a more affordable price. The body was to be constructed of GRP, though it used the windscreen and doors of the then contemporary MG Midget as a basis. Under the skin lurked several components from the Vauxhall Viva and Magnum lines, including the 2.3 litre slant four engine of the Magnum. From the Series 2 model, there was an all new steel tubular chassis too in place of the original, which used the modified floorpan of a Vauxhall Viva as its basis. By the standards of a small producer such as Panther, production was high, with over 500 being built in the first three years of production. 897 would eventually be built over six years, including a handful of turbocharged examples and automatics. Panther would subsequently replace the Lima with the Kallista – a similar theme, but less expensive to produce and reliant on the Ford parts bin for its drivetrains and switchgear.

The Vauxhall Magnum upon which the Lima was based was highly rated in its day, and so it comes as no surprise that contemporary testers praised the dynamics of the Lima too. Quick and entertaining, its gearshift better than the Vauxhall by dint of its linkage and its cabin well trimmed, Motor Sport magazine was highly impressed by the Lima when it was tested in 1977. Less nimble than a Caterham but with far more comfort, it was summer up as a Morgan without the compromises, an easy to maintain sportscar which offered fun aplenty. That holds true today too.

Underneath it’s almost all Viva or Magnum from the engine to the brakes, so any decent supply of Vauxhall spares should keep your car on the road. We’d recommend joining the VBOA as well as the Panther Car Club with this in mind. Doors and screen frames are straight from the MG Midget, and again these are easy to source. Other panels may be obtained via the club if any members have spares, or can be reproduced. Beware that GRP cracks and crazes, and this is a specialist job to repair – so check any potential Lima carefully before buying.

Series 1 Limas are more highly prized by collectors, while they ack the tailored chassis of the Series 2 they have a larger fuel tank, better handbrake, and often higher compression engines. Series 2s are thus where the best bargains can be found. Timeless colour schemes will always sell well, whereas a beige and brown car with tan trim might struggle to find a home. This, however, can mean it’s a far better bargain if you’re looking to hang on to the car and thus don’t care about its resale potential.

While the Lima is leagues ahead of any home build kit car, the fact remains that apart from a Morgan this represents the closest competition. Something like a Triumph-based Burlington Beretta might offer the same view down the bonnet (And the Lima was originally meant to be built around a Spitfire, but Triumph wouldn’t play ball), but you’re at the mercy of whoever first built it. Of course, it’s possible to consider the MGB as a competitor, but while the Panther looked old, the MGB really was old by the time the two would have competed new.

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