What Car Does Cruella Deville Drive? The Panther De Ville

May 29, 2024

Produced by Panther Westwinds, a British specialty car maker, the Panther De Ville was manufactured between 1974 and 1985. Designed by Robert Jankel, the car was aimed at appealing to nouveau riche customers, with notable owners such as Elton John and Oliver Reed. Approximately 60 De Villes were hand-built, including eleven two-door convertibles and one unique pink and gold six-door limousine.


"Cruella De Vil's Car" by pixiepic's is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/.

Design and Engineering

The Panther De Ville featured a wheelbase of 142 inches (3,600 mm) and was constructed with a tubular frame. It was powered by either a straight-six engine or a V12 engine from Jaguar Cars. The exterior design was heavily inspired by the Bugatti Royale, characterized by flowing wing lines and large headlights. Contrasting the vintage exterior, the cockpit offered modern amenities. In addition to Jaguar suspension, the car was equipped with power steering and automatic transmission. Despite its quick and easy drivability, poor aerodynamics limited its top speed.


"Cruella de Vil's car" by millersjon is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/.

Interior and Custom Features

Panther De Ville's interiors were lavish, often including features like TV sets and drinks bars. The doors were sourced from the BMC 1800 family car, adding a unique touch to its design.

Cultural Significance and Appearances

The Panther De Ville was prominently featured in Disney's live-action movies "101 Dalmatians" (1996) and "102 Dalmatians" (2000) as Cruella De Vil's car. The vehicle also appeared in the film "Cruella" (2021). For these roles, the original Jaguar engine was replaced with a small-block Chevrolet V8 to ensure durability during stunt driving. The cars were hand-painted by Alexander Mitchell for their film appearances.

Historical Context

During the 1970s and 1980s, the luxury car market was rife with competition, and Panther Westwinds aimed to tap into this market by targeting the nouveau riche clientele. The design of the Panther De Ville was inspired by the Bugatti Royale, an attempt to combine pre-war styling with contemporary amenities, making it a unique proposition in the luxury car segment.

Technical Specifications

  • Wheelbase: 142 inches (3,600 mm)
  • Engine types: Straight-six or V12 from Jaguar Cars
  • Tubular frame construction
  • Jaguar suspension, power steering, and automatic transmission
  • Lavish interiors with modern features like TV sets and drinks bars
  • Doors sourced from BMC 1800 family car

Cultural Impact

The Panther De Ville’s role in Disney movies has cemented its status in popular culture. Its inclusion in films like "101 Dalmatians" and "Cruella" showcased the vehicle’s unique design and adaptability for movie roles. The car's use in these films, including the necessary modifications for stunt performance, highlights its cultural significance and lasting impact.

European Luxury Car Market

Positioned within the broader context of the European luxury car market during its production years, the Panther De Ville was a standout vehicle. Priced twice the cost of a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, it was a luxury car aimed at the super-rich, with its bespoke nature exemplified by the limited production numbers and custom builds.

Unique Builds and Customizations

Among the unique models, the pink and gold six-door limousine stands out. Such custom builds underscore the bespoke nature of the Panther De Ville, catering to the personal tastes and requirements of its elite clientele.

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