The Panther Rio was launched in September 1975 and was made using Triumph Dolomite mechanicals, a hand-beaten aluminium skin and an 1850 cc engine but finished to Rolls-Royce standards with Panther’s coachbuilt quality for exclusivity. Only 16 were built between 1975 and 1977 plus a rarer Rio Especiale using the high-performance Dolomite Sprint with 2.0 litre 16-valve engine as its basis.
The simple reason so few cars were made is down to the selling price at the time, which was around £10,000.00, which back in 1976/1977 was an awful lot of money, and far more than a Jaguar XJ12 or Mercedes 450SE
It had the very highest level of luxury appointments with Connolly Leather, deep pile carpeting and burr walnut internal fittings in the finest hand-crafted limousine traditions. It was engineering for safety with superb handling, a 115 mph maximum speed and 0–60 mph acceleration in 8.7 seconds whilst also being smooth, quiet and with the fuel economy and manoeuvrability of a compact family saloon. Parts were used from other cars, the headlights are Ford Granada Mk2, the rear lights are from a TR6 etc.
There are around 5 or 6 cars left, and I own two of them, Panther Rio MYL 363P as shown above (Known as Millie), and Panther Rio Especiale SAY 300R, which is the best Panther Rio in existence. MYL 363P was the third from last car made, and SAY 300R was the second from last car made, so they are sister cars, and the two last cars sold within the UK
As you can see below, the interior of the Rio was very high end, beautiful, and to a Very High Standard