Seeing this mentioned in the "iconic cars" thread made me wonder... how did that happen, then? How did an animated character in the credits to an early 60s British take on a French(ish) cop film end up with THE coolest "rod" -- or whatever you guys would call it -- on TV (much, much better than the Monkeemobile...)? Bear in mind that when I was growing up, I didn't see any bespoke cars in the flesh -- they were in TV shows or the catalogues of die cast makers or plastic kit boxes.
Was the Panthermobile an existing special that was "rebranded"? Did Hanna Barbera (I assume it was them -- everything animated that wasn't Looney Toons or Disney seemed to be) commission the thing to be built just for the "live action" credits to the cartoon show? Was it even a real car -- I guess that credit sequence could have been all model work... it's decades since I saw it.
It had a powerful effect, since it's really the only "hot rod" that I have any urge to build, so can someone tell me the full story?