Car Slut Confessions: Pantera Perversion

When I was a tween, I was an avid babysitter.  It seemed like a total racket, all I did was play with other people’s kids, eat their food and they gave me cold hard cash!  It was awesome.   There was this one family, however, that had 5 high strung kids where you really had to work for it.  But the first time I sat for them, the dad slapped a $20 in my palm & then drove me home in this:

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I was in heaven.

So when I got home, I jumped out of this car and ran inside to tell my dad about this awesome “Ferrari looking” thing that sounded like “a muscle car.” But he responded, “Yeah, I heard you in the driveway. That’s a Pantera and it’s a piece of crap.”  I was heartbroken.  How could it be bad when it looked and sounded so good? I mean, check out the interior:

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But, Dad wasn’t entirely wrong. In the early 1980s, the Pantera was hardly a collectable car.  A collaboration between the Italian DeTomaso company and Ford Motors, it was initially kind of a flop when released in 1970.  DeTomaso wanted in to the American market and Ford needed something sexy quick to maintain its image against Chevy’s Corvette. So they slapped this baby together (some say too quickly), popped a Ford V8 engine in it and sold it for 1/2 of what the Italian exotics were going for at the time.

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However, the car, particularly in its first gen, had plenty of problems.  The main one was that they were being sold it Lincoln-Mercury dealerships. That’s today’s equivalent of selling a Tesla roadster at well.. a Lincoln dealership.  So when you’d bring your Pantera into the dealership for work, the mechanics would open the hood, panic and cry.  Elvis notoriously got so annoyed with his Pantera that he shot it when it wouldn’t start.

A pal at Super Car Sunday let me sit in his badass ride!

A pal at Super Car Sunday let me sit in his badass ride!

Nowadays, that’s not the point.  Panteras can now be well maintained and run forever if cared for by the right owner.  And it is important in automotive history.  It was one of the first times an American auto company pushed the limits of design and performance by working with a foreign group. For me, it marked a point in history where my Ferrari-loving father and I would disagree about a car for the first time. It was also the beginning of a long, lustful affair with this car which, much to my dismay, is now really worth something.  Too bad I didn’t stash all of my babysitting cash and buy one when I was 13 because to me, this car is still the coolest.

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If you’re wondering what sound angels make, it goes a little somethin’ like this:

 

 

 

 

1 Response

  1. Dean says:

    Another similar deal was the Cadillac Allante Body made in Italy by Pininfarina and flown to the US for running gear. Only 21,000 units produced over a 7 year run …

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pininfarina

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