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Nicolas Alexacos
Politia Greece

Tel:  +30 6945 159602
LIVE adverts (80)

1978 Namco Panther, Farmobil Citroen based, sole survivor For Sale

This advert viewed 5304 times
Price POA
Ad Type For Sale
Category Military
Make Namco
Model Panther
Year 1978
Country Greece
Region International
Telephone +30 6945 159602
Status Trade
Date 01-Jul-2020
Ref C916508
In 1957 Greek automobile manufacturer Petros Kontogouris won rights to produce Farmobil. The Swiss-designed multipurpose vehicle featured an all-steel body with reinforced crossmembers, removable doors and folding safety glass windshield. Its power was produced by a BMW Isetta 700cc engine and delivered to the rear wheels via a Porsche-designed 4 plus reverse gearbox. Each wheel had an independent, coil-based, double-action, shock-absorber mounted suspension. Kontogouris managed to raise production which attracted international attention. In 1962 Chrysler made Kontogouris an offer to buy and support his company which was accepted. Chrysler was so impressed with the Farmobil that decided to promote it in the US as ‘a forest ranger, a mountaineer, a crop sprayer, a safari wagon, a tractor, a power plant’ that like a ‘motorized goat’ could ‘handle hills, ravines, mountains, poor roads and no roads'. Despite its rising popularity, the costly BMW and Porsche parts made production economically unfavorable. Even though Kontogouris persisted on the ingenuity of the Farmobil’s design, Chrysler withdrew all support and production ceased in 1966.

In 1972 he founded Namco automobile company to mainly distribute Citroens in northern Greece and the surrounding Balcan region. He soon made an agreement with Citroen to manufacture Pony in Namco’s Thessaloniki plant. The Pony was a light passenger utility vehicle that was based on Citroen’s Baby Brousse, an evolved version of the 2CV for several developing countries under the ‘basic world car’ project. The 2CV was already tremendously popular for its front-to-rear cylinder suspension that permitted level cruising at all terrains. Moreover its light weight allowed to be transported via helicopters as practiced by the British Royal Navy. These features were offered in Kontogouris’ Pony more than in any other Baby Brousse derived vehicle thereby turning it into a world-wide success. Although Pony's production numbers kept rising, Kontogouris was more interested in revisiting the Fahrmobil. He figured that if he incorporated Citroen’s technology to the Farmobil platform, he could create an ultimately versatile multipurpose vehicle. His idea gave rise to the Panther.

The Panther's abilities were best applied in the military. It was light enough to be dropped by parachute onto the battlefield and travel at 50km/h. Its 4x4 drivetrain with centrally positioned LSD and 2CV suspension system allowed level cruising as well as climbing 50% slopes. With the windshield dropped and spare frame removed, it could carry a 500kgs oversized payload or several soldiers onto its flat surface. Its Citroen AM2A 602cc engine was situated well above the ground and operated independent of ambient temperature due to its Citroen air cooling system. Two prototypes were built which did very well during trials. However, despite its very promising military career, the Panther never made it into mass production as the Greek state was more keen on supporting import-oriented military contractors.

This is the only Panther in existence. It was given by Kontogouris to a close friend who owned a private military vehicle collection. Being respectful to its history, the collector kept the Panther exactly as it left the factory yet fully operational. It is now offered for sale for the first time ever. Viewing is available by appointment.

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