The Pantera Place
"Your de Tomaso Connection"
The Third Year With #1887
Today, June 12, 2001 is the third anniversary of my Pantera purchase. Over the last year Iíve accomplished all of the important upgrades and repair goals that I set for the car at the beginning of the year.
The two most significant items completed was the suspension/drive train rebuild and upgrading to new wheels and tires. The Pollygraphite bushing installation was completed on the back A arms and Koni shocks installed. The back uprights were converted to Timkin roller bearings, new upright bushings were installed with new lower upright shafts, the upper A arm ball joint boots were replaced, new half shafts installed and new boots installed on the steering rack. The anti-sway bars were removed and the bushings were cleaned and lubed with anti-seize. After the rebuild was complete the wheel alignment was done on all four wheels.
16"X8" and 17"X11" Pantera East wheels with Dunlop SP Sport 8000 245/45ZR16 and 335/35ZR17 were installed. The new wheels and tires along with the complete suspension gives the car a great ride and outstanding handling.
The cooling fan wiring was modified and relays added up front with a direct fused #10 power wire from the battery. Three relays are used, one for the passenger side fan that comes on first, one for the driver side fan that stages on second and one for the third sucker fan that is located on the back of the radiator. The stock cooling fan motor was refurbished and one new high powered Kysor fan motor installed on the passenger side.
The headlight relay modification was completed that off loads the headlight current from the headlight switch and the very expensive high/low beam switch to relays.
I replaced the old battery with a 900 amp Vortex Champion battery that really turns the engine over with authority.
I finally got around to painting the rocker panels black so it looks like a real Pantera now. I also replaced the side marker housings on the back end and the gear shift gate. I found some stock Campy wheels and had them refinished so the car would have a set of stock wheels available if I ever need them.
I had three repair items to do this year. I didnít get the coolant hoses replaced soon enough and one of the front hoses started leaking. The hose project became a major priority and every hose was replaced. It is a very nasty job but I now fully realize it is a must do item on many Panteras. The carburetor accelerator pump diaphragm started weeping fuel and it was replaced. The radiator that I had re-cored last year started weeping coolant at one of the temp sensors. I removed the radiator and the original shop redid their soldering job on the end tanks and the sensor mounting threads.
It was a good year for getting things done on the car and I completed a lot of other little items that are not worth listing here, e.g. clay baring the car and improving the wax work. One very small detail. I removed the ANSA logo stickers from the sides of the chrome exhaust tips because I've recently seen some cars where over time the stickers damaged the chrome in an outline of the sticker. I'm not sure how it happens and the chrome on my two-and-one-half year old exhaust system was fine.
Over the last three years I've driven the car 3,633 miles including the 230 mile trip from Tuscaloosa, AL to Atlanta, where I bought the car.
This coming year the main goal is to replace the headliner and upgrade the A/C with a rotary compressor. The headliner I have is attached OK but has some wrinkled areas. Itís not a very fun job and is super messy so it has been at the end of the "to do" list. The A/C rotary compressor is on order.
Overall, the car doesnít look like the car a bought three years ago and it drives like it is on rails. I loved it before, but all the work this last year has moved it to a completely different and higher level. I guess I never thought I would end up doing so much work on the car three years ago when I bought it, but it continues to be a lot of fun. Now Iím at the point that I canít stop fiddling with it, e.g. a little detailing here and there, upgrade here. It looks like there is no end in sight.