Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4
By the time that the Lima had been released, Panther West Winds of Byfleet, Surrey (UK) had established a reputation for building exciting cars in the upper price bracket which had excellent standards of finish, blistering performances and a 'vintage' air about them.
Cars like the J72, De Ville and Ferrari FF sold well but the company needed a cheaper and more readily available product for the masses. The Lima was the answer, as it had the vintage style of the other Panthers (although this time it was not based on any specific car of the past) and was fitted with Vauxhall Magnum running gear.
Another advantage was that the finished product could be sold through selected Vauxhall dealers which helped Panther and also gave a new dimension to Vauxhall's showroom range. If anything was missing from the Lima it was outright performance from the single-camshaft 2.3-litre Magnum engine, and so the car missed out somewhat with its obvious competitors, the Morgan +8 and the Caterham 7.
Although DTV performance parts were available on some cars and there were even rumours that the twin-cam HS Chevette engine was to be installed, Panther's answer to the critics was the Turbo
Lima, which was announced at the 1978 NEC Motor Show. The Turbo
differed from the standard car in that it had wider wheels, revised instruments to replace the standard Magnum units and an AiResearch turbocharger
fitted to the 2279 cc engine.
As you would expect from a car with around 150 bhp on tap, the car was phenomenally quick in a straight line with a top speed approaching 125 mph and the ability to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6 secs. Fuel consumption can be frugal, averaging out at 28 mpg. By late 1978, the final prototypes of the Turbo
were being homologated and the public were soon to behold a very exciting and enjoyable car - although it was built in such small numbers few would ever get to enjoy it.
Production lasted from 1976 through 1982 with only 897 cars being produced. A later Mark II model used a purpose-built chassis. The body was built of fibreglass in a roadster style reminiscent of an Allard
Panther Lima Quick Specifications:
Front mounted, water-cooled straight four (Vauxhall). 97.5mm (3.84in) bore x 76.2mm (3in) stroke 2279 cc (139.2 cu in). Maximum power approx. 150 bhp. Cast Iron cylinder block and head, 5 main bearings, 2 valves
per cylinder operated direct by a single overhead camshaft. Single carburettor and AiReseach turbocharger
Four-speed manual. Ratios 1st 3.3, 2nd 2.145,3rd 1.414, 4th 1. Hypoid-bevel final drive 3.730:1.
Front - independent, with wishbones, coil springs, anti-roll bar
and telescopic dampers; rear - rigid axle with trailing radius arms, transverse linkage bar, coil springs, and anti-roll bar
Servo assisted discs front and rear.
14in x 61n.
185HR x 14.
Body and Chassis:
2 door, 2 seat.
Dimensions and Weight:
Wheelbase 97 in track; front 52.30 in; rear 52in; length 142.13in; Width 63.39in; height 48.03in; ground clearance: 4.53in; dry Weight approx. 1900lb; turning circle 32.2ft; fuel tank capacity 10 gals.
Maximum speed approx. 125 mph; ,acceleration 0-60 mph 6secs; fuel consumption approx. 28 mpg.