The Pantera Place
"Your de Tomaso Connection"
The Evolution of #1887
By Mike Dailey
I found my Pantera in June of 1998 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The car had been well maintained and was mostly in stock condition with new paint and engine redone in 1991. I found that the car has an interesting history.
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#1887 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
GT5 hood cooling vents had been added and the original wheels had been replaced with 7" and 10" wide Weld wheels. I wanted a car with stock wheels but the car was in super condition and I figured that new wheels would be in the future plans for the car. The back space of the Weld wheels was incorrect making the wheels project outside of the fenders.
The Pantera on the first day of ownership
June 1998 The first order of business was detailing the car. The car was very clean but there is always room for improvement. The first major mechanical upgrade was changing the stock Ford rockers to Crane roller rockers and adjustable studs. Next was replacing the tires. The car had BFG 295/50/15 T/As on the back and BFG 205/60/15 on the front.
October 1998 The tires were replaced with BFG HR305/50/15 Euro T/As on the back and BFG HR225/5015 Euro T/As on the front. At this point, I thought I would be able to locate a set of 8" and 10" wide Campagnolo wheels to go with the Euro T/A sometime in the future.
New ANSA exhaust
December 1998 Next was replacing the ANSA exhaust system with a new ANSA system. A new exhaust system makes a great improvement on the image of a Pantera as the system is very visible. The ANSA system was installed using the existing Hall Pantera headers.
The ZF with new seals installed
January 1999 The ZF transaxle was removed and new seals installed and a new clutch was installed while the ZF was out. The Holley carb was replaced.
New front suspension
May 1999 The suspension of the car made creaking noises so the next step was rebuilding the suspension and installing new shocks. I completed the front suspension first and removed the front spring shims to lower the front of the car with the idea that when the back suspension was rebuilt, the back spring shims would be removed too.
New front valance
September 1999 I had the most expensive thing done so far, replacing the front valance.
February 2000 Replaced the Mustang style mirrors with Vitaloni mirrors that were used on the GT5 Pantera.
New back suspension
November 2000 Rebuilding the back suspension and replacing the axle bearings with Timken roller bearings was the next step. New half shafts were installed at the same time. All of the coolant hoses were replaced and the wheels aligned.
December 2000 Found some stock Campagnolo 8" and 7" wide wheels and had them refinished so the car would be complete with stock wheels. I don't plan on using them because Z rated tires of the correct size are no longer available.
New Pantera East wheels
January 2001 After the suspension was rebuilt my next step was upgrading the wheels. I decided on Pantera East 16/8" wheels on the front and 17/11" wheels on the back. It was a big and expensive step but the results were super. I decided to use Dunlop SP Sport 8000 245/45/ZR16 on the front and 335/35/ZR17 on the back.
February 2001 Painted rocker panels black. All 1971 Panteras and most of the other years had black rocker panels. For some reason when the car was repainted in 1991 the rocker panels were not painted black. The black lower body area really improves the look of the car.
Cooling Fan Motor - Fan Relays - Headlight Relays
May 2001 Refurbished one of the cooling fan motors, added a high output cooling fan motor and updated the cooling fan wiring with relays. Added relays to off load the headlight current from the headlight switch and high/low beam switch to relays.
AC system refurbish and upgrade
September 2001 Installed a new rotary AC compressor and refurbished the AC system. Also added a AC pressure switch to shut down the AC if a malfunction occurs, e.g. condenser fan failure.
October 2001 Installed new Pantera East headliner and Euro disk type horns.
November 2001 Received the "Peopleís Choice Award" at the 5th Annual Atlanta Italian Car Day. Thank you Pantera East for outstanding Campy wheels!
December 2001 Replaced the old CompCams hydraulic lifters with new CompCams lifters.
March 2002 Installed all of the missing handbrake parts including new Pantera Performance linkage mount, linkage, brake pads and a cable and it all works.
April 2002 Replaced a defective alternator and cleaned and re-undercoated the under body of the car.
May 2002 Replaced the window cat whiskers on the doors.
June 2002 Purchased a PI MotorSport Group IV tail light kit but found that the umber colored parts of the lights clashed terribly with the scarlet brandy wine red color of the car. I decided to stay with my stock lenses but detailed the light assemblies and replaced all of the light bulbs with the correct Euro units. In August of 2002 I found some stock NOS lenses and I replaced the old lenses.
July 2002 Added a heater shut off valve to improve the A/C cooling.
September 2002 Replaced the back trunk liner felt.
October 2002 The "Peopleís Choice" de Tomaso class winner at the 2002, 6th annual, Atlanta Italian Car Day show.
February 2003 Replaced both back bumpers with a new matching set.
May 2003 Replace cooling fans with Meriah fans.
September 2003 I live in Georgia and own the State of Georgia "PANTERA" plate, but because my car was sold and lived most of its life in Oklahoma I found an original 1979 Oklahoma "PANTERA" plate. Itís great for car shows because it is correct for, circa 1979 when the car was in Oklahoma. Imagine, what if this was the plate that was actually on the car in 1979!
October 2003 The "Peopleís Choice" de Tomaso class winner at the 2003, 7th annual Atlanta Italian Car Day show.
November 2003 Upgraded the power window motors and gear boxes to Ford Aerostar units. Replaced the outside cat whiskers.
February 2004 The highlight of year 2004, the Pantera is featured in Pantera International magazine.
July 2004 The first person to the State License Department gets...... PANTERA!
October 2004 New 2005 Pantera East billet wheels and new Dunlops.
March 2007 ANSA muffler modification.
March 2009 Rebuilt the steering column assembly
March 2009 Repaired the ignition switch terminal
March 2009 Installed the Pantera East Koni coilover system
August 2009 fixed the oil pressure gauge
August 2009 replaced a defective key warning buzzer with chime unit
April 2010 replaced the polyurethane anti-sway bar bushings with Pantera East units
May 2010 Installed Pertronx Ignitor III and ignition relay.
June 2010 Changed out the Holley 600 carb for a Holley 650
June 2010 Installed new valve covers
June 2010 Installed new MSD 8.5mm Superconductor Sparkplug wires
July 2010 Setup the engine for timing at the flywheel and set the timing for improved engine performance
July 2010 Balanced the cooling fan blade assemblies
July 2010 Lubed the ZF selector
July 2010 Re-dyed the carpet
September 2010 Fixed the shifter rattle
September 2010 Modified the windshield wiper motor cover for more wheel clearance
September 2010 Made a trip to the Dent Wizard
October 2010 Installed new PI Motorsports door handle tubs
September 2011 Replaced headrest covers
January 2012 Replaced deck lid struts
February 2012 Installed a handsfree phone solution
March 2012 Installed new door opening weatherstrip
September 2012 Brake caliper rebuild
October 2012 seat rebuild