The Pantera Place
"Your de Tomaso Connection"

Detailing Your Pantera

By Mike Dailey

Iíve been told by some people that my Pantera is pretty clean and I must admit I spend more time than I should keeping it clean and shinny. The Pantera is such a beautiful design; it deserves a little extra care and I canít help myself when it comes to adding some more wax or a little cleaning.  I do the cleaning process every week and then it is not such a big job to tackle.

I do not wash my car with water so for me keeping the car out of dusty areas or rain is very important. I do a dry cleaning process rather that washing.  I avoid driving in the rain because it makes a mess of the suspension, springs and shocks and they are hard to clean.

Exterior, Paint

My first step after dry cleaning the car would be to use clay bar treatment. I used Motherís Clay Bar for the first time last year and the results were impressive. This process is something that would only need to be done once unless the car was left outside in the elements for many days.

My next step after clay bar is to use Meguiarís Deep Crystal System step 2 polish. 

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I start back with this step every three months or so depending on the need to reduce super fine scratches. The polish is a little hard to remove so use a very soft terry cloth towel.  A very old towel that has been wash many times works best. I use a very soft and water dampened terry cloth hand towel to apply the polish and or wax.

From the step 2 polish I move on to the Meguiarís Gold Class wax. The Gold Class wax has some super fine polish mixed with it and adds to the shine.

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After the Gold Class wax I like to give the car a coat of Meguiarís Step 3 Carnauba Wax. 

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The Carnauba Wax has no polish so it just adds an extra coat of wax. When using the wax it is important to let the wax fully dry before lightly polishing it off.

For the final detail I go over the waxed paint lightly with Motherís Showtime polish that comes with the Mothers Clay Bar treatment.

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I also use the Mothers Showtime as a follow up between wax jobs.

I go back to the Meguiarís Step 3 wax about every two weeks or so to keep the car looking great.

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In my opinion a Pantera does not look right unless the front valance and rocker panels are panted black.  When I found my Pantera the rocker panels were the same color as the car and painting them black really changed the appearance of the car.  I used Rust-Oleum Satin Black  #7777.   My front valance was panted when I had it replaced but many Panteras have the front valance smashed, the lower pitch weld bent over or the tow eye hooks bent back.   A little work straightening the pinch weld and tow eye hooks and some paint will help this area.    

Exterior, Trim

My car has stainless steel trim around the side windows, chrome on the front window and plastic trim around the back hatch opening. 

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I use Turtle Wax Chrome Polish for the stainless steel, Meguiarís Step 3 Carnauba Wax on the chrome (including bumpers and plastic light lenses) and Turtle Wax Formula 2001 on the plastic trim including the mirror housings.  See detailing the taillights

Exterior, Wheels

My car has Pantera East Campy wheels. To start the clean up I wipe the wheels down lightly with a damp towel and wax them Meguiarís Step 3 Carnauba Wax. They are over a year old and have never been polished just waxed.  Do not use mag wheel or any other wheel cleaner on the Pantera East Campy wheels.

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For the tires I like to use a light coat of Meguiarís Gold Class Endurance.

Interior, Cabin

I use a soft brush to clean all of the vents and hard to get at areas of the in Interior. 

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Of course the vacuum cleaner is a must to clean all of the carpet areas. I use Turtle Wax Formula 2001 on all of the vinyl areas. 

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Extra clean windows are an absolutely must have item.  I like to use Stoner Invisible Glass cleaner because it does a super job of cleaning glass and will not leave streaks or smudges.  As stated on the can do not use the Invisible Glass on anything other than glass, e.g. it will attack plastic.

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 Small details like replacing the shift gate and making sure all the trim parts look new make a huge impact. 

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The silver trim paint on the dash vents used on the 71 and 72 cars are an item that can be easily renewed with a Pen-Touch silver pen. Pen-Touch produces are available at craft stores.

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A set of new de Tomaso logo floor mats will give the interior a nice clean look.  I use the cheep clear plastic mats over the top de Tomaso mats to keep them new looking. 

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A new headliner really cleans up the look of the interior and most Panteras need a new one.

Interior, Engine Area

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The airflow in the engine area tends to cause dust and junk to collect on the top of the engine, transaxle and wheel houses. The vacuum cleaner comes in handy to clean up the stuff from these areas.  The engine cannot be too clean and I use 409 cleaner and wiped it down frequently.  To keep everything clean all oil leaks must be traced down and corrected.   

The felt on the trunk liner is a lint magnet and needs vacuuming often.  I'm lucky that my car like very few has original thin under coating in the engine bay and looks good with just a coat of flat black paint. 

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If you are very careful Eagle One Mag Wheel etching cleaner can be used to clean the transaxle and other non polish aluminum parts.   Be careful because it stains panted surfaces and will turn non panted iron and steel parts rust color.   

While you are working in this area you might want to add a de Tomaso logo plate on the back lower cross member.  My logo plate has the recessed area panted black and then I used about 150 grit sandpaper to give the raised area a burnished aluminum look.   I found that the burnished aluminum has a brighter look from all angles than if you polish it smooth.  

I give the fins on the de Tomaso valve covers the same burnished treatment but the remaining part of the valve cover is unpainted and unpolished.  Anytime that I have the valve covers off I treat them with the Eagle One Mag Wheel etching cleaner resulting in a dull gray aluminum look. I used the Eagle One Mag Wheel etching cleaner on the intake manifold when it was off the engine recently and it now has a very bright unpolished look.  

The Hall Pantera air cleaner base and top needs regular cleaning and I burnish the unpainted areas with an SOS pad. 

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Shortly after buying my Pantera I replaced the ANSA exhaust system but I didn't have the system powder coated because I didn't want the chrome damaged in the powder coating process.   Over time the black paint applied by ANSA burned off so I coated the system with Plasti-koat Black Hot Paint.  Every year or so I redo the paint.  I ended up removing the logo stickers from the exhaust tips because I've seen some cars where the chrome area under the sticker becomes eroded.   New ANSA logo stickers are available form the Pantera vendors.   

Interior, Front Hatch

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This area usually just needs some vacuuming but make sure the battery, brake booster, brake master and clutch master are clean. I clean up the dust on the radiator top, radiator air deflector and the hatch opening with a damp towel.   Since this photo was taken I used some chrome polish on the brake booster and it cleaned up nicely.

Suspension and Underside

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Cleaning the suspension would be difficult without taking it apart but when I rebuilt the suspension I cleaned up all the parts and repainted them (some use powder coating).   I'm still working on the other areas of the car's underside and it involves cleaning and scrubbing all the grime off the undercoat and painting with flat black paint.  I'm doing a little at a time and it is messy.   I clean the dust off of the suspension parts with 409 cleaner and paper towels.  See detailing and cleaning the underside of the car.