Mansfield collector’s Panther De Ville car set for big screen stardom in Cruella
A Mansfield collector’s prize luxury classic car is enjoying screen stardom with a starring role in the latest instalment of the 101 Dalmatians series.
Peter Mayo sold one of two Panther DeVilles in his collection to the makers of Cruella – which was released in the UK on Friday – when it will stun audiences as the wonderfully over-the-top vehicle of the title character Cruella De Vil, played by Emma Stone.
“It’s probably one of the most beautiful cars that was ever made,” he said. “Only 58 were ever made.
"When you go out, people hang their heads out of the windows to take photographs!
"When it was new it was also one of the most expensive cars in the world. In 1974, when they first came out, it would have cost £18,000, when you could get a Jaguar for £3,000.
"You could buy two Rolls Royce Silver Shadows for the same price!”
Unsurprisingly, such an extravagant car attracted equally ostentatious owners, with Elton John, Oliver Reed, George Foreman and the Shah of Iran all owning a Panther De Ville at one time or another.
Peter, 57, who runs his own engineering firm, began collecting luxury cars around five years ago and now has 14 – including a Bentley Continental R, a Panther Lima and J72, and one of the only six Panther Rios that were ever made.
“My De Ville is immaculate,” Peter said. “It’s not even got a pin-prick mark on it. The interior is brand new. I don’t take it out very often…
"When the car was new, the licence plate was 1 EOV – which stands for Essence of Vanilla, as it was originally owned by the owner of Bird’s Custard!
"The company made some really eccentric cars. They even made a six-wheeled car – which was supposedly the first 200 mph car. They were great at marketing!”
Peter is also press secretary of the Panther Car Club which meets for rallies all over Europe. About three years ago he drove one of his Panthers from Monte Carlo to Mansfield in a day.
“It’s 17ft 6ins long with a huge bonnet,” he said. “It has sweeping lines and each DeVille was hand built to individual customer requirements
"They’re just great cars and good fun.”