2017 Spa Classic in Pantera

This weekend it's Spa Classic, going there in the Pantera. Being between jobs means plenty of time, so left home already Thursday morning, for a relaxed drive of the approx 1000km over 2 days. But with some detours planned.

Attachments

Photos (1)
Original Post
So first 180 km in Denmark, to the ferry to Germany. Hope they build that bridge before I die! Ferrys are supposed to be 20 min apart, so on convenience they beat the UK/France engineering marvel, Eurotunnel, by a mile. Last time I used Eurotunnel it took me 4+ hours to cross. At the ferry I was first in line. Meaning the car in front of me got on the previous ferry, and they had decided to skip some ferries to save money, so waited 40 min. Got on board, didn't go where directed, found a spot where no cars beside me, with children opening doors. Good. Lots of thumbs up and "Nice".

Attachments

Photos (1)
Back in the car, GPS on now, German highways in front of me. No speed limits. How amazing in this day and age. So a possibility to do all sorts of crazy things. My rule is to drive sensibly on the way out, and test the car on the way home, that way a breakdown will not ruin your trip.

Well rules can be broken, even my own rules. Because a very straight very empty no limit stretch of highway suddenly appeared in front of me. Hhmm. Why not? Maybe it would rain on the way home... Wanted to test top speed. By that I mean rpm based. The 600 HP should be able to get me to 300 km/h, but I set myself a 6000 rpm limit, so knew I wasn't going to get near that.

So I floored it. In 5th, no need to shift down with that kind of power. 200 came fast, 210, 220, 230@5500 rpm. Then something not expected happened. The hood opened! So I could see nothing at 230+. Quickly reduced speed hoping my gopro and laptop wouldn't blow out, pulled over. The fact that I have a damper on the front hood probably reduced the drama. Maybe I hadn't closed it properly, or I need to adjust things? Regardless, sensible cruising below 200 from now on.

Took it easy, 130-150 km/h, A/C steadily clicking on and off, nice.

I noticed something strange, my engine room mounted vacuum gauge (a necessity as readers of my book will know), visible also from the driver's seat, had a low reading, not a good sign. When driving normally it was half what I expected, and at idle it was zero. Well a zero vacuum engine can't run, so the gauge didn't reflect the situation in the engine. Either the gauge was faulty (it's turned 90 degrees, maybe it doesn't like that) or there's a small leak on the hose. That hose also feeds power brakes and brakes were fine, so I think it's the gauge that needs replacing.

No cup holder in the Pantera, so had to invent one, squeezed my non-driving shoes under the passenger seat, keine hexerei…

Attachments

Photos (1)
So drove on, gas in the tank, schnitzel in the stomach. Time looked good, I would get to where I wanted at 4pm, could maybe watch icehockey world cup.

Not to be. It's starting to be a tradition for me to have major issue on the first day. Not every year but day one of my first LMC trip in this Pantera is a day neither my wife nor me will ever forget. She got very quiet as the issues happened, that's rare. And last year in the Longchamp, major fail that required hours of work. And those years, like now, it's not as if it's the first trip in the car, Longchamp is almost daily driver, and Pantera has been on 4 trips already this year with nothing to fix at all. But apparently these German highways test us to the limit. As I would experience.

Stopped for gas again, filled up, paid, back in car. Ignition on, push start button. Nothing. Not even ignition, gauges and warning ligts dead. Hhmm, reminded me of Longchamp last year. Oh s... . Thankfully I was in a not very busy gas station, and not many people interested in my problems. Time to fix the Pantera. I pulled it backwards away from gas pumps, but stayed under the roof, rain was threatening.

I had an idea of what the problem was. This winter the ignition switch failed on the starter circuit. Mike Drew very cleverly said: "Replace it" but in my wisdow I thought it's only the starter circuit, I'll replace that with a push button. And I did. I should have known not to leave a failing component in my car! Mike was right.

So took the steering column down, just like on the LC, and used a test light, yes ignition circuit faulty. So put in three wires, hanging down into the foot area of the driver, when connecting correctly, I could start and drive. Hurray, mobile again.

Attachments

Photos (1)
So out on the highway, happy to be moving again. But also knowing that for every minute I got further away from home. Well, too early to give up.

But while I was driving, I got a better idaa. The Acc circuit still worked, why not short that to ignition circuit, so I could start and drive and not have wires hanging? Of course I had to make sure first that the steering wheel lock did in fact disengage when key is in Acc position, otherwise it could really end in tears. It did disengage.

So I would redo my temp solution when I got to a hotel. Lots of queues I drove around, so decided just to find nearest hotel. Found one with no food but a nice garage.

Attachments

Photos (1)
So went to work. Re wired everything, but before I could raise the steering column back up I wanted to protect against shorts with electric tape. I hadn't brought any, asked the hotel, they had plenty of tapes, but more office issue tapes than electrical. During all this, everybody declined on knowing any English, so I had to use my not too robust German language skills.

Still looking for some electrical tape, the old hotel clerk lady suggested going next door, where there was a huge hobby store. I went there, said I had car problems, needed to fix, had electrical tape? Yes he had. I told him I had had his main product, Märklin train set, as a child. He smiled and said anybody that had had a Märklin train set as a child, he would know how to fix a car. :-)

Got the tape, raised the steering column, tested, no start. It started to rain...
I well I didn't care, by now I was sweating like a pig. Lowered the steering column again, one wire had fallen out, tried again, raised steering column. Tested. It worked.

So ready for tomorrow. Quick shower, nearest restaurant, Jägerschnitzel and a large beer. What a day. 3 hours fixing, and of course never knowing for sure if it would work. But now mobile again. The DeTomaso experience. You can't beat it :-).
Great read, the problems not so great. My plan was also to go to Spa in de pantera, but overheating problems cancelled that. Waiting on new alu rad. Now I could go in the porsche but I am waiting for my license plate today last chance fingers crossed. You can always swing by if You want , I live near the circuit of Zolder. Anyway have a great time and keep posting,greets Urbain
quote:
You can always swing by if You want , I live near the circuit of Zolder. Anyway have a great time and keep posting,greets Urbain

Thanks for offer, not sure where that is, and have driven enough today, so next time, but hope you make it to Spa, Porsche or not. Funny, when I was younger I hated Porsches, air cooled in the rear, come on. But now I know the Porsche and my favourite the Cayman, they're the thinking man's supercar, and a potention all year round supercar also. Smiler

That said, just this week I outran a 911 Turbo in my CTS V, the driver looked very surprised and very unhappy Smiler
So woke up in Osnabrück I think, the GPS had found the hotel. Woke up early, had 2½ hour to next rendezvous. Felt a bit guilty starting the Pantera in the small courtyard surrounded by 3 story living buildings, and in the stone/metal garage I was parked in, and me having to rev it a bit, no choke, the noise was deafening. At 6:30. Well it was a work day, so might as well get up…

Thereby I also tested the new solution I had made, key in, in Acc, not Ign, push start button, perfect. But it meant that all current Ign and Acc now ran through a cheater wire, and I only had normal size wire, so it might get hot. We’ll see.
The day was mostly about visiting Simon Vels. Simon has a few DeTomasos, I knew that. So I had asked if I could come by, no problem, but it was a 200 km detour, so with my now not so robust Pantera I wasn’t sure. Well, Mike said you have to go, Simon is a great guy and has many interesting cars. So I went. And Mike was right on both counts.

Simon is retired, and spends his time very well, maintaining a few cars, most of them DeTomaso’s, but he also likes Iso’s, who doesn’t? He has a few Panteras, Longchamps, and other DeTomasos. All in great shape I’d say. Pictures below, Simon are OK with these being posted here, but don’t share outside this forum please.

Simon told me storys and specs on most of the cars, and answered all my questions, both the semi-qualified questions on DeTomaso’s, and also the “I know nothing”-questions on Iso’s. Iso Grifo was my favorite car as a child, had a toy version. Don’t think I’ve ever seen one in real life, well I have now. 427 Chevy engine placed well rear of the front wheels, what a car.

I imagined Simon would say to me, pick one, but never sell it, what would you choose? Probably the Pantera SI. Always liked them, the spoiler in front of the windshield says it all… I don’t think it’s more beautiful than the original shape, but it’s so raw and over the top in an almost modern way.

I’ll let you enjoy the pictures, and if you’re near Amsterdam, I suggest you give Simon a call, again, very nice guy and his cars are worth visiting.

Attachments

Photos (1)
When leaving, the road my GPS suggested was blocked with concrete stuff and signs I didn’t understand. No mention on where to detour a Razzer t Razzer all. GPS took care of that with “avoid this stretch” function, and 2½ hours later I got to my hotel. The parking lot was huge, so I thought I’d park DeTomaso style Wink

BTW, nothing failed today!

Attachments

Photos (1)
Great write-up Mikael! Thanks for sharing your adventure with us. I love taking trips in my Pantera - my last trip to SoCal had a few hiccups, but I'll save that story for another time as I don't want to hijack your thread. Wish I were there with you. Enjoy the journey!
Had a bit of a guilty conscience this morning when I went to wash the car at 6am, parking lot was full, and I had taken 2 spots. Just a bit. But nothing compared to the 911 Carrera conv 4WD where two perfectly able people had parked in the handicap parking space by the entrance.

Thought I had to find water for my bucket to wash, but there was enough water on the car to wash it from the night. Then checked oil and water. Then time for shower and breakfast. Priorities...

I'm one hour from Spa now, Group C will hit the track at 10:25, plenty of time.
Hi Mikael,

sound like a outstanding trip. And thanks for sharing it with us ! For me its like sitting on the passenger seat :-)

Visiting Simon is always a highlite. He is a great guy and believe me or not - without him and another handful of people from here - I am not sure if my Pantera would still be with me.
Enjoy the rest of your journey and I hope the weather is getting better

Regards
Marc
So off to Spa. First half was small towns. Stopped for the view. Of the Pantera of course. Then highway the last half, they go up and down like a roller-coaster. Forgot to mention, I got blitzed two times yesterday. But since my front license late lies comfortably in the front trunk, it was freebies :-) In Denmark you can get a fine for driving without license plate, not happened yet, but you can lose your license speeding. Easy choice IMO.

Attachments

Photos (1)
So I had arrived, mission accomplished. If the Pantera broke down now, it would be no big issue, I would get a free transport home and save some gas :-) But to break down before arriving here, would have spoiled the trip.

I had tried to buy track tickets from home. Short version, no phone number online, and the written questions I had about it didn't get answered. So no track time and had to park outside :-(. I had hoped I could charm/pay my way in when I got there, but not enough charm apparently.

So had to walk in with the crowd. Now this forum wants pictures, so that's what you get. So be warned, non-DeTomaso pictures ahead, even non-car pictures ahead, continue at your peril...

Here are a few millions, beautiful shapes back then

Attachments

Photos (1)
Today I walked half the track. With quite some elevation differences. Was at Les Combes, Bruxelles, Double Gauche and Eau Rouge. It was here at Double Gauche I was off 4 years ago in the Pantera. Quite spectacularly, unfortunately I never found any footage of it. I would think that anybody that had filmed it would have youtubed it. Here you can see plenty of tiremarks from people that ran out of asphalt and talent, I’m sure some of the most crazy ones are mine…

Attachments

Photos (1)
When I sat and watched the parade laps, I was a bit annoyed. I should have been there. Most cars were painfully slow, but a few modern Ferraris and three GT40s gave it everything they had. I would have liked to play!

The pictured Ferrari went slow and then parked. Then he got out, opened the hood, closed it and drove off. What a mechanic, Ferrari fixed in 1 minute

Attachments

Photos (1)
Three girls in tight clothes saw to raising the mood for everybody. They were good at it too. I’ve probably seen three better female figures, but right now can’t remember where, but besides their obvious appeal, they were really great at creating a good atmosphere. They danced, laughed, played games, took pictures with a Polaroid and gave the picture away. At their peril. One of them thought it a good idea to have her picture taken with the waiting drivers of open wheelers, one driver forgot to wait, so his rear wheel ran over her high-heeled foot, her shoe came off. Thankfully nothing happened, she was soon back in a good mood.

As you can see below, one of them spotted me taking a picture

Attachments

Photos (1)
So now they insisted to have their picture taken with me. What can you do, didn’t want to ruin the festive mood. They handed me the picture, said I would see the result in 5 minutes. I said to one of the girls besides me that I could hardly wait, got a big smile. The other girl said that I should blow on it to develop it. I said, why don’t you do that? Quickly she blew on the picture with her pursed red lips. Hhmm, I had one more comment in my mind at that time, but I thought it best to keep it to myself, so I said thanks, took my picture and moved on. Here’s a picture of that picture.

Attachments

Photos (1)
So end of a long day. A great day, almost sensory overload with so many fabulous cars and this great track. I walked a lot, was a bit tired. I always say that I’ve never been on a track where it hasn’t either been cold and raining or blistering hot. Today was cold and raining, but very little rain, so no complaints.

On the way out from the track, my Pantera was parked, ready to go. I started it, and many people leaving the track, having seen fantastic cars all day, still stopped and filmed me backing out. A Pantera being started always gets attention, right guys? Smiler

Then back to the hotel, for a hot bath (don’t worry, no pictures) and dinner and maybe a beer. So out on the highway, and then the small roads through towns and woods. When at a cross a Ducati and a BMW Z8 got in front of me. This could be fun I thought. But the Ducati went slow. But then he turned off, and the Z8 floored it. So did I. And then we had a few km of fun through the woods at more than double the speed limit. I must be getting old, I sat there thinking: “I hope he knows what he’s doing”.

Back at the hotel, another stellar parking by me Smiler

Attachments

Photos (1)

Add Reply

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×