Topic: How I came to own a Pantera
From: St. Louis, MO
Registered: Aug 99
posted 12-29-2001 10:44 PM
>I'd like to learn and hear more about exotic Fords. Would the
>Pantera fit in here.
Okay, time for my Pantera story. A few years back, I was on a one
year assignment at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Facility in the
Mojave desert. I joined the DeTomaso email list not really intending
to purchase a Pantera. I just wanted to learn more about the 351
Cleveland I had swapped into my '66 Mustang 2+2. I was newbie when I
built that car and knew nothing about 351C's and was a victim of the
infamous two piece valves. My first rebuilt motor lasted about 4
hours before an exhaust valve head separated from the stem, shattering
a piston, fragging a 4V quench head, scuffing a cam, bending a peened
and polished connecting rod into a pretzel, and punching a fist size
hole in my previously perfect standard bore block. Anyway, I joined
the list hoping to learn more about Clevelands to keep from repeating
an expensive mistake. I had never really considered owning a Pantera
as I thought that, at 6'4", I'd never fit. Plus they were exotics and
must cost a fortune to purchase and maintain.
One of the first threads on the email list, which had just started
up, was how to fit a 6'4" driver in a Pantera. It was responded to
by a guy named Dan Jones who wasn't me but was born in the town I was
living in (Lancaster) and who also stood 6'4". An imposter I thought
but he turned out to be for real and I later met him at a Pantera swap
meet. After thinking about it for a bit, I decided that if I was
ever to own one, now was the time. There was no better place to look
than rust-free California and with the assignment I was on, I should
be able to afford a decent one. I was on a one year assignment for
McDonnell Aircraft (now Boeing) at NASA and was getting paid a hefty
per diem, in addition to a bonus and a raise. Tax free and based upon
living in Los Angeles county, the per diem was particularly nice.
While I was technically living in L.A. county, my rent was only
$350/month, much lower than the average L.A. apartment. With this new
found income, I was able to save an extra $1000 per month, in addition
to the $1000 I was already putting away. I was still living like a
college student and it turns out my one year assignment would allow me
to nearly pay for the car of my dreams.
In another bit of fate, it just so happened that a woman at the
Lockheed credit union on base (NASA Dryden is located at Edwards Air
Force Base) drove a sinister black-on-black Pantera into work on
occasion. I met her one day and she showed me the car and even let
me sit in it. It was a tight fit but I was intrigued at the
possibilities, so I joined the local chapter of the Pantera Owners
Club of America (POCA). Even though I was a stranger, the club
treated me like a long lost brother. Members went with me to check
out prospective cars and one even let me drive his absolutley
imacculate, totally stock (still sporting the original paint), low
mileage, Pantera just so I would have a benchmark to judge others
against. I would later learn this sort of commraderie wasn't unusal
in the club.
The first car I looked at was an absolute virgin of a Pantera, with
an odometer reading just over 16,000 miles. It was red with black
interior and polished Campy magnesium rims. It had a few updates but
was very stock appearing. The owner was asking more than I thought I
could afford, so I kept looking. After attending the Pantera owners
convention in Las Vegas and driving several more Panteras, I returned
to the first Pantera I'd looked at checked it over more carefully.
A club member and I put the car up on jackstands and went over it in
detail. The car was absolutely rust free, except for a spot where
the rear inner fender liner (a structural member) met the frame rail
on the driver's side. There were supposed to be two drain holes but
they were absent, allowing water to stand and eventually rust the
spot. It wasn't bad but the engine would have to come out to do the
job properly. That really didn't bother me, as I was going to pull
the engine anyway to detail the engine bay and safety wire the
transaxle. The car was running a bit rough (turned out to be the
daul points) but that didn't bother me either, since I intended to
work over the engine while I had it out. It took a third trip before
we struck a deal and the Pantera was mine for $25,500.
The previous owner supplied me with the history of the car which I
was able to subsequently verify. The original owner of my Pantera
was from Utah and purchased the car from Mayberry Lincoln Mercury,
an original Pantera dealer in California. He owned the car until
his , when his estate sold the car back to Mayberry. The guy
I purchased the car from, then bought the car from Mayberry in the
late 1980's as investment with only 15,000 miles on the odometer,
paying $52K for the car, plus $4K in taxes. This was at the peak
of the collector car craze, when investors were driving up the prices,
and he had a magazine clipping that predicted the value of a Pantera
would soar to $100K in four years. It did not. Instead, the real
estate market in California turned sour and the investment car market
took a nose dive.
The previous owner only put a little over a thousand miles on the car
all the years he owned it. He only had valid plates on it the first
year. The rest of the time, he had non-operating permits. He said
he did take it to shows and around the neighborhood once or twice a
month but that was it. I wasn't sure I believed the mileage. It was
obviously a well kept, low mileage, vehicle but 16,000 miles seemed
hard to believe. However, after owning it for a while, I tend to
believe the mileage was accurate. When I removed the cylinder heads,
the piston tops were so clean, you could eat off them. The vacuum
hoses still had little tags and the paint stripes were still on the
valve springs. Also, the paperwork I had, showed the Goodyear Eagle
VR's were purchased in 1989. They still had the little rubber nubs
all the way around.
Anyway, that's the (not so) short story of how one guy became a very
happy Pantera owner.
1956 Ford F-100 (future project)
1966 Ford Mustang 2+2
1974 DeTomaso Pantera L
1977 Triumph TR7V8 (project)
1987 Ford Mustang GT
1987 Chevy Astro Cargo Van (how'd that get here?)
From: Fort Madison, Iowa USA - United We Stand
Registered: Oct 99
posted 12-30-2001 01:07 AM
Great story Dan. Hopefully I can get down and see your dream car soon. I'd like to see your F-truck also.
From: Reno Nv USA MEM#1240
Registered: Apr 2001
posted 12-30-2001 02:53 AM
Great story,great car too.
I've wanted a pantera since the 1st time I saw one I was only 7 years old.A friend of my pops had one.Its was love at 1st site.
65 coupe,351w,RPM intake,Carter625,shorty headers,2.5 exhaust, Flowmasters,C4,open 8" 2:80,Big Boss 429 hood scoop,Crager SS,Black Suede.
From: Monterey, CA Mustangsandmore Member #437
Registered: Apr 2000
posted 12-30-2001 04:02 AM
I thoroughly enjoyed reading that story! Thanks for taking the time to type it for us!
From: St. Louis, MO
Registered: Aug 99
posted 12-30-2001 10:06 PM
Thanks guys. It was fun to think again about the chain of events that led to me buying the Pantera.
>I'd like to see your F-truck also.
It's in the driveway until I can get around to expanding the garage. At this point it's just a rolling frame and fiberglass cab and hood and a lot of boxes of parts stored away. I have to finish a few other projects before I get around to it.
From: Norfolk, Virginia, USA M&M#166 MCA#47921
Registered: Aug 99
posted 12-30-2001 10:58 PM
Great story Dan. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Dave & Terri
Poison Ivy (Dave's)
'65 Fastback Modified 289 4V, C-4, dual exhaust, styled steel wheels, rally pac, A/C
Blue Belle (Terri's)
'66 Coupe, Silver Blue Metallic, 351W 2-V, 4 speed, A/C, future sleeper.
From: Frederick County, MD
Registered: Oct 2001
posted 01-01-2002 11:02 AM
Oh, yes...memories. For me it was seventh grade in the cafeteria in Jr. High. One of my buddies had a magazine with an ad for what looked like a Ferrari from Lincoln/Mercury called the Pantera. The silhouette was like nothing I had ever seen before, and the $10,000 MSRP was like $100,000 today for me.
Nothing compares to a Pantera, but then nothing compares to a Cobra, GT-40 or any of my other lusts that I can't afford. God just wants me to be humble, that is why he's given me a Mustang. It's just hard to be humble when I drop the convertible top.
I wish you as much enjoyment owning one as I get seeing one. Charlie
From: middle of NC
Registered: Oct 2000
posted 01-01-2002 11:25 AM
Very cool story Dan. I have always wanted a Pantera. European looks, with Ford cleveland iron.
Thanks for sharing.
From: Saco, Maine
Registered: May 99
posted 01-01-2002 08:37 PM
That was a great read, Dan!
I've always loved the looks of the Pantera ever since I saw one parked at Swearingen Lincoln Mercury in Portland Maine in 1974. I remember that like it was yesterday! It was red with a black interior, just like yours.
Great cars! Definitely one of the sexiest cars ever built!
'70 Mustang Mach 1 M code 351C 4V/FMX/3.25 open
'72 Mustang Sprint Coupe 351C 4V/FMX/4.30 Trac Lok
'94 F-150 XL 5.8L/E4OD/3.55 Limited Slip
'97 Probe GTS 2.5L DOHC