"Your de Tomaso Connection"
The 2001 Atlanta's 5th Annual Italian Car Day
By Mike Dailey
Atlanta’s Fifth Annual Italian Car Day was held on Saturday, November 10, 2001 from 10 AM to 3 PM. Registration was $10 per vehicle and was open to Italian Cars, Italian Motorcycles, and true European exotics (designated open class). The event was organized by the Atlanta Fiat Lancia Club.
The venue was at the beautiful Van Pugh Park, located on a peninsula overlooking the eastern shore of Lake Lanier near Flowery Branch, GA, just a 45 minute drive northeast of Atlanta
Registration included a hot lunch and a raffle ticket for door prizes to be given away at the end of the show. Extra lunches were $5 each.
The show honored each marque with a beautiful "People’s Choice Award" trophies. This year they added an additional People’s Choice award for "open" class, "best modified" and, for the first time, the coveted "Best of Show" trophy! Each registered owner received one voting ballot so the winners were chosen by their peers. Each ballot had a place for you to cast one vote for each of the marques in the show.
This voting method is interesting in that the wining car may not be the most correct car of the marque, e.g. the most original, perfect and accurate example of a given marque. This happens because people from one marque are voting for what is appealing and tasteful to them in another marque, so it is more curb appeal image, than if the car is concourse prefect. But when most of the voters are Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Alfa owners, a lot of non stock stuff on your car will distract. .
The Atlanta Pantera group met at the Atlanta Donut Derelicts in Atlanta and formed up for the drive to the lake. Mike Dailey, Bill Grable, Jim Hedrickson, Tony Tripoli and Jeff Udelson met at ADD.
The Panteras forming up at ADD. Mike Dailey on the left and Bill Grable on the right getting his beautiful red Panterea parked.
The first five Panteras line up while we wait for two more cars.
We delayed our departure some while we waited for one other Pantera owner and Dave Lees but then had to leave to make the show start time. Dave Lees, realizing he was late took a short cut and formed up with the caravan along the way, making it a group of six Panteras. Dick Koch didn't have his Pantera ready yet so he tailed along in his street car along with Steve McLain that has been looking for a Pantera to buy.
While we were driving along north of Atlanta an innocent Pantera owner, Howard Suddeth (who none of us knew, yet) just happened to take his light blue Pantera out for a Saturday drive. Not knowing about the car show, he is stopped at a light and he sees a line of six Panteras go by! That had to be some sight to unexpectedly see a whole herd of Panteras zip by. None of us saw Howard as we flew by and he spent the next fifteen minutes trying to catch up with us and ended up at the car show too! It was great to meet another new found Atlanta Pantera owner! Howard's car is the second Pantera from the right in the image below.
By the time we got to the car show we were a little late so we had to cruise though the complete Van Pugh Park car show area, only to find out the only parking left was at the entrance area. Talking about making a grand entrance with a line of six thundering and ground pounding Panteras. We circled the show site and parked in the front part of the show area with our Panteras lined up together.
Jerry Pentaleri (the dark blue car on the right) from Greenville, South Carolina met us at the park with his absolutely fantastic 500 HP Pantera after getting lost on I85 trying to find the park.
View of Jerry Pentaleri's very outstanding Pantera and his fuel injected, 396 CI, 500 HP engine. Jerry's in the background while Dick Koch helps with the front hood.
John Holmes drove his super Pantera to the show all the way from Raleigh, North Carolina making the total Pantera count, nine.
John Holmes' awesome yellow Pantera
Steve McClain wishfully looks at Tony Tripoli's fully restored Pantera
From the left to right the cars are; Jeff Udelson, Mike Dailey, Bill Grable, Jim Hedrickson and Tony Tripoli. This image gives a nice back angel shot of Jeff Udelson's beautifully restored, very stock and super clean red Pantera.
Jim Hedrickson's Pantera with super pearlescent white paint. Jim bought his Pantera for SOLO2 racing.
Bill Grable's Pantera outstanding Pantera back on the road after ten years of storage. The car was completely restored before going into storage.
Line up of the cars. Dave Lees' car is the light blue car on the end of the line up.
And the People’s Choice Award goes to the scarlet red Pantera! Thank you Pantera East for those beautiful Campy wheels!
These views give some perspective of the event size. The top left image is from the Pantera area looking down the parking lots. The other images are taken in sequence along the parking areas. Over 110 cars were registered at the show plus many other cars that were parked but did not register. We all had a great time and it was interesting to talk to the owners of the other marques. I found that the owners of the other marques were very interested in our Panteras and all of the history behind the de Tomaso marque.
Photos by Mike Dailey and Jim Hedrickson