The Pantera Place
"Your de Tomaso Connection"
The History of #1887
I found my 1971 Pantera #1887 in Alabama and purchased it in June of 1998. The car was manufactured in July of 1971 the same month Elvis Presley's yellow Pantera, #1954 was made. Yes, the King owned a Pantera too! Elvis knew which Italian machines were coolest!
An article was published on the #1887 in the Winter 1989 issue of Mustang Illustrated that gives some history on the car. In May of 1990, the Pantera Owners Club of America reprinted the Mustang Illustrated article about #1887 in the POCA news letter as the feature story. The car was sold new at the Oklahoma City, Fred Jones Lincoln Mercury dealer in March of 1972 to Dr. Don Rhinehart. The original color was sea green (lime) and it still has the original owners manual and warranty card.
View of how #1887 probably looked in its original sea green color in 1971
The old Fred Jones Lincoln Mercury building (they moved to a new location in 1999)
Dr. Don Rhinehart sent me a great note about the car in October of 1999. He said that he had really enjoyed owning the car and on a number of occasions the speedometer had seen 155 mph. This Pantera was the second Pantera to be sold in Oklahoma. In 1977 Don had the car painted dark blue. He also said that he wished #1887 was still in his garage. While Dr. Rhinehart owned the car someone stole all four wheels while Dr. Rhinehart had the Pantera parked in front of his house for just a few minutes. The car was usually locked up in the garage and this was one of the few times he had parked it in front of the house. I'm not sure if that's how the car ended up with the Weld wheels.
After Don Rhinehart's ownership the car was owned by William Verner of Mcalester, OK for awhile and then sold through a dealer in Oklahoma City. In December of 1999 I had an opportunity to talk to William about the car. William has owned a number of Panteras but remembered #1887.
The history of the car gets fuzzy at this point, but for most of its life from around 1978 through 1988 it was apparently stored in an Oklahoma feed barn. I don't know how the car ended up in the feed barn, but sometime before the car was stored, it had been repainted with a $5,000 super brandywine red candy paint job by Waldon's Paint in Tulsa.
The car was purchased by a new owner Ed Phillips of Shawnee, Oklahoma, who needed only to wash, wax and clean up the interior to put the car in show condition (Shawnee, Oklahoma is home of the first Sonic Drive-In). Ed also pulled the engine, had it rebuilt, added Comp Cam 292, Performer intake manifold, Holley 600 carburetor, Hall big bore headers, big bore tail pipes, valve covers and an air cleaner. VDO gauges were installed to replace the stock units. Ed Phillips was the owner of the car when it was featured in Mustang Illustrated in 1989. I have not been able to locate Ed Phillips.
The car made its way down to Texas and was purchased by Steve Hixon in 1991 with the engine out of the car and in pieces. With 46,000 miles on the car, the engine was replaced and transaxle serviced. The new engine was built and the transaxle serviced by Frank Hanran. Frank is still very active in the SCCA race world. The car was repainted with a new dark red brandywine paint job and the big bore tail pipes were replaced with stock units. I had an opportunity in June of 1998 to talk with Steve and Frank about the car. Frank remembered the car but unfortunately couldn't remember much about the engine build but the engine does have an aggressive cam and sounds great. Steve owned another Pantera for many years that he recently sold.
The car was sold in 1994 to Drew Altermare in Alabama with 51,000 miles on the odometer. Drew did lots of great update work on the car, e.g. new weather stripping, trunk liners, Pantera Performance aluminum SVO master cylinder, clutch slave cylinder, radiator clean, new logos, etc. Drew installed a really nice Alpine radio but with the 351 Cleveland throbbing behind you, the radio is best used with the engine off. The car spent its life at Drew's house snuggled between Drew's 1978 308 GTS and his 1972 Dino 246 GT Ferrari.
The first picture I saw of #1887 at Drew's house.
Click image to view
With 53,000 miles on the odometer the work on the car continues now that it's in my Atlanta garage. The work that I've completed includes a new throttle cable, Crane roller rockers, Crane adjustable studs, Crane push rods, refurbishing of cooling fans, cooling fan and headlight relay mods, new clutch master cylinder, Koni shocks front and back, removed spring shims on the front and back, new polyurethane A arm bushings, new lower front ball joints (expensive), new clutch, new ZF transaxle seals, new Holley 600, new MSD plug wires, repair of the Accel distributor dual point setup, new Dunlop SP Sport 8000 335/35/ZR17 and 245/45/ZR16 tires, new ANSA exhaust, new radiator core, new brake pads, replacement of the lower front valance, inspected and repacked the front wheel bearings, Vitaloni GT5 mirrors, new alternator, Vortex 900 amp battery, Timken tapered roller bearings upgrade for the back axles, new half shafts, new upright bushings, new back ball joint boots, new Pantera Performance upright lower shaft assemblies, serviced the steering rack and replaced the boots, replaced all of the coolant hoses, replaced the shift gate, Pantera East wheels, upgraded A/C system with a Sanden rotary compressor, new headliner, Euro disk type horns, replaced all of the missing handbrake linkage and cable and other small items.
The car is almost stock except for the 16"/8" Pantera East Campagnolo reproduction wheels on the front, the 17"/11" on the back, engine work and the GT5 hood cooling vents. I found a stock set of Campagnolo 7" and 8" wide wheels and had them repaired and refinished as backup stock wheels.
Don't let this long list of upgrades and obvious substantial extra expense above the purchase price of the car scare you away from owning a Pantera. Most of the things that I've done and expense occurred are things that I wanted to do, not must do things. I have some Pantera buddies that do not spend any money on their cars other than gas and oil changes. But most Pantera owners can't resist refurbishing and upgrading everything! I just like working on the car and I'm always finding things that I want to do to make the car just a little better.
People that like exotic performance cars can easily catch the "Pantera fever," so unless you want to own one you should avoid Pantera contact!