The Pantera Place
"Your de Tomaso Connection"

Atlanta Pantera Activites

By Mike Dailey

(Newest  information is at the bottom of the page) 

August 7, 1999 

A Fun Day With Panteras  

The California Pantera folks are going to think this is kind of strange, but we actually had a gathering of two Panteras in Atlanta!  That's right TWO Panteras!  We think this gathering might be the first gathering of Panteras in Atlanta in many years!

Dan Jones and I met at my house Saturday, August 7, 1999 to caravan our Panteras to lunch. Dan has an absolutely pristine and beautiful red 1974 Pantera.  Dan is an excellent engine builder and has crafted a very fine and very built 351 Cleveland for his car.

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Dan and I had a really great time comparing Pantera notes and driving our cars together. The spectators were totally amazed as we made a low pass down Peachtree Street flying in formation. The sound of two Panteras tooling around in formation is pretty cool but more cars would be even more spectacular!

Next time we are going for a five or more Pantera gathering! Atlanta has a fairly large number of Pantera owners but over the last few years the Pantera activities have been zero.

Atlanta Pantera owners, let's get our cars together. It's fun!

August 14, 1999 

Another Fun Day With Panteras 

Inspired by the last fun day with Panteras, Dan Jones and I rounded up some more Pantera owners for another Saturday meet.   Dan Jones, Mark Drastal and Jeff Udelson met at my house to caravan our Panteras to lunch.  Dick Koch also came by without his Pantera as he is in the process of reassembling his 74 car. Two Panteras were great last week but four cars is really impressive.  

The Atlanta Pantera team, from left to right, Mike Dailey, Mark Drastal, Jeff Udelson and Dan Jones.  Take note you tall folks, at 6' 6" my Pantera fits me fine!  The key for tall people in a Pantera is a thirteen inch wheel and early Pantera thin seats. 

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Picture on the left, Dan Jones is explaining how to make a low  pass down Peachtree Street flying in Pantera formation.  Dick Koch is on the right, Mark Drastal in the foreground and Jeff Udelson on the left.  Somewhat amazed, they are all intensely listening to Dan.  That's ice water and ice tea, it was a Hotlanta day.  Picture on the right, Pantera show and tell!   You know it's show and tell when all the hatches are open!

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Mark Drastal's beautiful Pantera on the left and on the right Jeff Udelson's beautiful 72 Pantera.   

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Four beautiful Panteras, all in a row!  The sound of all four cars running is music to your ears!  After talking Pantera stuff and comparing notes we caravaned to TGIF for lunch.  Dick Koch got to ride as navigator!!  This was Dick's inspiration to get his 351C twin turbo powered Pantera back on the road soon!  The caravan of rumbling Panteras was pretty neat!!

January 15, 2000 

Another Fun Day With Panteras 

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Mark Drastal hosted a Pantera day at his house. The left image is Mike Dailey's Pantera and Mark Drastal's 72 L Pantera.  The center image is David Lees' blue Pantera, John McMahon's peril Pantera and Mike Dailey's red Pantera.  Dan Jones, Dick Koch and Bill Grable are in the foreground.  Bill is in the process of getting his Pantera back on the road after 10 years of storage.  On the right is Mark Drastal's and David Lees' Panteras.

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The image on the left is Tony Tripoli with his beautiful 302 powered Cobra, his Pantera is getting a new engine.  On the right is Bill Bulpitt with his 289 powered Sunbeam Tiger.  Bill lives nearby and saw all the Panteras and stopped.   Dan Jones is on the left, Bill is on the right with the hat.  Don Head is looking on in the background.   Don has two Panteras that he is restoring.

I gave Bill Bulpitt his first ride in a Pantera and he was surprised at the tightness of the Pantera body, no rattles, but lots of other good engine sounds!!!  

We all had a great time and had a chance to wish Dan Jones "happy trails" as he is moving back home to St. Louis in a few weeks.  Dan drove his Pantera all the way home to St. Louis last weekend.

 September 23, 1999

1999 Road Atlanta Historic Races 

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The Road Atlanta Historic Races were held September 23rd through the 26th.  The left picture is pit row and the view looking Southeast to turn one, the next picture is the view in front of pit row, the next picture is looking West to turn twelve, the picture on the right is in front of the Michelin Bridge looking North and if you look closely you can see Johns McMahon's Pantera entering the Bridge area during the open track time.

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John McMahon with his 1972 Pantera in the Road Atlanta pit area.  The very bright pearl color of John's car is difficult to photograph in the bright sunlight!  It glows!

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John McMahon's Pantera engine bay.

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Dick Koch, John McMahon and Bill Engwer discussing, what else?  Panteras!

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Road Atlanta track.  Go to Road Atlanta WEB!

August  26, 2000 

Another Fun Day With Panteras 

As part of our ongoing Atlanta Pantera activities Dick Koch hosted a Pantera day and volunteered his house as the meeting place. It was the best day so far in Atlanta with over nineteen people and nine Panteras in attendance.

We had people drive in from Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee. The goal of the meet was to give owners and non-owners an opportunity to meet again, talk about organizing more Atlanta Pantera events and to see Dick’s car that is in the assembly process.

Panteras from the left to the right,  Bill Grable, Andy Smith, Debra Woumnm, John McMahon, Jeff Udelson, Mark Drastal and Kris Wilson.

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On the left, the view of Dick's car and parts ready for assembly.  On the right the view of the Panteras .  In the third image, Dick Koch checking out parking space for more Panteras! 

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On the left more Panteras.   On the right, lunch time!   Dick's wife, Joann made a really great lunch!   Thanks Joann!.

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After lunch Dick gave a great review and tech session on his car.  All of the parts were organized in neat groups ready for assembly.  In the center image, everyone is checking out Bill Jesser's Pantera.    

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Some mini hands-on tech sessions were accomplished too.  Image on the left, Mickey Burney helps Debra Woumnm with the replacement of the A/C relay.   Center, with Andy Smith's help Bill Grable finds the fix for his fuel gage.  On the right Bill Jesser is replacing a broken coil.  Tony Fasola happened to have a new Pantera coil with him and loaned it to Bill.  What a team! 

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With all his fun, where was my car?  Home in the garage with a bad passenger side back axle bearing!  It looks like the rebuild of the back suspension is now a mandatory priority! 

October 7, 2000

Italian Car Day - Lake Lanier 

The fourth annual Italian Car Day was held at Lake Lanier Saturday, October 7, 2000.  The event was at the West Bank Park on the Buford Dam which is located about 30 miles Northeast from downtown Atlanta. Ferrari of Atlanta made a donation for the traditional outdoor lunch. The Alfa and Fiat Lancia Clubs have done a great job of organizing the event for the last couple of years. All Italian Cars (and Motorcycles) were welcome. Door prizes and people's choice trophies were awarded. Registration at the show was $10 per car and included lunch and a raffle ticket for door prizes.

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Debra Woumnm showed up with her black Pantera and Andy Smith came with his silver Pantera.  The look and sound of the Panteras really stopped the show when they arrived.   Andy Smith won the People's Choice Award for the Open Class. They didn't have a de Tomaso class?

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October 28, 2000

Georgia Exotic Car Mountain Drive

The Georgia Exotic Car Mountain Drive is an event organized by the Southeastern Region Ferrari Club.  The turnout for the event this year was around 150 cars, a big jump in attendance compared to the 40 plus car turnout last year.   The event started at 9:00 am with all cars meeting at Deutschland Automotive in Tucker.   

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The event registration was $15. and included an event plaque, coffee and donuts and event packet.  The main focus of the event was exotic cars on a 150 mile drive through the North Georgia mountains.       

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Only two Panteras showed up at the event, Mark Drastal on the left and Andy Smith on the right.  Mark Drastal just stopped by to see the cars and did not go on the drive.  Two other Panteras were planning to be at the event but were not able to make it.   My Pantera has the back suspension removed for a rebuild so we took my 1986 300ZX Turbo.  

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The cars were grouped by manufacture and in five groups of about twenty-five with a group leader and a tail gunner.   As there was only one Pantera, Andy Smith was our leader with assorted cars, Mustangs and some Corvettes.  It would have been more fun if we had all Panteras.  Release forms were signed by each driver and then another team release form signed by each driver in the group.   The five groups were released in spaced intervals to keep from clogging up the roads.      

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We left Tucker and headed west on I285 to GA400 and then north.  Part way up GA 400 we ran into a massive traffic jam.     

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We stopped at the GA141 exit on GA400 to make sure our group was together.

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The weather was beautiful, the view was great and the roads were twisty.   My Turbo charged engine loves the higher attitude that the normally aspirated cars hate.   

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The first scenic stop and lunch was 95 miles into the trip on top of Brasstown Bald mountain, with a elevation of just under 5,000 feet.  From the mountain top you have a great view of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee.  The road up the mountain is very, very steep with very sharp turns.   Part way up the mountain a red NSX had stalled and was blocking the road.  Luckily his car had died on one of the few short straight parts of the road.

Some of the groups got lost (including ours) on the way to the first stop so all of the groups ended up on the mountain for lunch at the same time.  At this point some of the groups disbanded.  Our group decided to take a shortcut to the next stop, the city of Helen and then head home.  There was a massive traffic jam going through Helen and I never did see our group again on the way back to Atlanta.   

The event was fun but I'm not sure that I would do it again unless some of the things about the event were changed.

The event was billed as the Exotic Car Mountain Drive and there were many exotic cars.   But there were also a few squirrelly drivers in low end cars that I would not consider an "exotic" car class.  On the other hand when you have a bunch of money invested in an true exotic you tend to treat it with some respect.  After some of the groups disbanded at Brasstown Bald Mountain I saw some really bad, extremely dangerous and reckless driving by some very dumb drivers.  In my opinion, if you want to race you need to go to the racetrack and race and not on public mountain roads with blind corners that are jammed with people out for a scenic drive.  That's why we have track days at Road Atlanta.  Hopefully no one was hurt or ran off the road.

I am making some assumptions that the cars I saw were part of the mountain drive group.  I do not know that for an absolute fact, although the type of cars I saw are listed on the Mountain Drive website as registered for the drive.      

I'm not sure how the Ferrari Club could define the term "Exotic" to keep the event more focused but that would be a big event improvement.