I thought I'd go ahead and start a thread on our Pantera. We have all these pics on our website, but it's cool to see it all in one thread here on the forums. We never had a plan for the Pantera. Just wanted to have one because they are super cool. What you'll see here, is the evolution of our car. It's not a restoration or planned build. It's simply five years of joyous Pantera ownership.

January 2004, Jaime and I purchase a Pantera after seeing a gathering of them at Peterson Automotove Museum. I knew about them growing up, as my father always lusted over Panteras. But this group got Jaime's heart racing too, and that made it much a much easier sell. We found #3427 in Utah.

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March, 2004. Sold the original wheels and tires and bought some used PIMotorsport wheels to hold us over while our Team 3 Wheels were being made.





Found that a little valve under the dash near the heater core had been leaking for years. Tore the carpet up and found an unlpeasant mess.



We sanded all the rust out, treated the metal and sealed it:

April 2004, our Team 3 Wheels and Kumho tires showed up. We repaired a rusty inner wheel housing, replaced two motor mount bolts, put in new wheel bearings, new suspension bushings, added PI Motorsports heavy duty half shafts, added Pantera Performance Koni shocks, a new Holley 650 double pumper, new PIMotorsports clutch master, stainless clutch lines, stainless brake lines and PIMotorsports carbon kevlar brade pads.

Had the Pantera dynoed at Powertrain Dynamics in Huntington Beach. It made 328rwhp. Not bad!



September 2004: 09/12/04 - The Mallory Unilite module failed on the weekend. We somehow managed to limp the car home, but it wouldn't move from the garage again until a new module was installed. I also installed a new resistor and power filter in an effort to make sure the module wouldn't fail agian. I hasn't failed again, btw, in five years!

It was time for the cooling system to see an overhaul. The Pantera was fine so long as traffic was moving, but given a hot day and bumper to bumper traffic, it would run hot. So we installed an aluminum high flow water pump from Summit, put on all new coolant lines, an aluminum Fluidyne Radiator (made custom brackets to lean the radiator foreward for better airflow and cooling) and duel Flexlite sucker fans. It was a solid two days worth of very hard work, but man did it pay off! I drove it that day for over an hour in high heat, all through town with the air conditioning on and temps never went above 180 degrees (where the thermostat opens). Fantastic!

November 2004: The stock front bumpers are a bit blocky because they house the turn signals. We purchased some new Carbon Fiber front bumpers from PIMotorsports. These aren't made to house turn signals, so their shape is simple and elegant. We installed the PI bumpers, then removed the turn signals from the stock bumpers and mounted them behind the front grill. Jaime fabricated the new brackets, and I welded them in.

We also replaced the side Ghia emblems with correct, OEM Ghia emblems. The real emblems are a little smaller, and look better on the Pantera.

And lastly, Jaime recarpeted the engine cover/trunk liner (I still need to take pictures), while I cleaned and painted the front brake calipers.


January 2005, one year of Pantera ownership: I switched the stock tail lights out for some GroupIV tail lights with blacked out trim. The look is a little smoother.

The carburetor float level was very high for some reason, and a spark plug fouled out. So I adjusted the carb, threw in a new set of plugs, changed the oil and it's running like a champ! I also took my favorite set of pictures of our car.





October, 2005: Replaced all of the gauges in the Pantera with new Autometer Phantom Gauges. Used Autometer's blue LED's to light them. Merged a universal fuel level sender with the stock Pantera fuel sender, and now have a functional gas gauge, yay! Also installed new water temp and oil pressure senders that were included with the gauges.



December 2005: We've been working on the interior, and this time we were focusing on the center console. We wanted to design a center console that would have the stereo mounted horizontally and have cooler switches. I handled reworking the fiberglass and the specifics of how everything would fit together and still allow easy access to the backs of the switches and gauges. Jaime took care of the upholstery. I think it came out pretty good. We are still waiting on our switch labels to come in and there are a few things that we will change soon, but it's on the right track.

September 2006: Had a lifter ticking so I decided to adjust all the rockers. Bought a new intake that is lower so that the Panteras original engine cover will fit. The new Edelbrock Performer intake is also more "streetable", offering more torque at lower rpm's than the old Torker intake it replaces. The old Detomaso valve covers were cracked and leaking, so I replaced them with some Ford Racing tall valve covers. In the process of swapping intakes, I also found that the brake booster vacuum line was resting against one of the header tubes. When I bent the hose to move it out of the way, it cracked and broke in two! The heat made it brittle. I replaced the hose and routed it away from the headers this time. That could have been bad! Also replaced the fuel filter while I was in there.





Got the new engine cover put on. Wow does that really clean things up! Looks so much better back there. Had a loose throttle linkage. Fixed it and can finally tell how much of a difference the new intake makes. Much better! Throttle response is much improved along with low end grunt. Feels more fun to drive.

October 2006: After last month's intake install, the Pantera started having a real pinging problem. I double checked the timing, vacuum lines and everything else. Just couldn't see anything wrong with it. I pulled the plugs and found that the #1 spark plug was coated in oil. I also noticed that the intake gaskets were leaking a little bit of water out of the water passages in the heads. I decided that the intake gasket was probably leaking oil into the #1 cylinder. My understanding is that it doesn't take much oil in the combustion chamber to cause detonation. I also discovered that 351 Cleveland heads do not have water passages on the intake side, so the heads on my Pantera aren't Cleveland heads. The numbers on the heads reveal that they are actually 1970 302 Boss heads. Cool!

I bit the bullet and pulled the intake and valve covers, and reinstalled everything. I also added oil baffles to the valve covers because the rubber baffles built into the grommets were junk. I took the advice of my on-line Pantera buddies when installing the intake this time, using a couple new tricks. Seems to have worked perfectly. No water leaks and the install went smooth with the use of things like alignment studs and quick drying cement. The pinging was reduced, but still noticeable. Friday I picked up a couple cans of Mopar Combustion Chamber cleaner. This stuff has a great reputation of being able to clean out detonation causing carbon deposits. I used two cans and now all of the pinging is gone unless I ease onto the gas in too tall of a gear. This week I'm going to pick up another two cans and see if I can get rid of the pinging entirely.

Ram Air! I mixed PIMotorsports' Pantera side air ducts and Vararam's Street Ram Air Intake system to build my very own Pantera Ram Air intake. Works like a charm. I am shocked at what a difference it makes, even under low speeds. Feels like there is a ton more torque. Got sideways in first gear while test driving tonight, something that hasn't happened before. At low speeds there can't be much, if any. ram air effect. I can only guess that the more important difference is fresh/cool air? It's probably ten degrees cooler tonight than it has been for a while. Fall is in the air. No matter the reason, the Pantera was a blast to drive this evening. I couldn't be happier with the end result.



April 2007: I took out the door locks and installed remote door poppers in preparation of shaving the door handles. I also installed a new window regulator system from Vader Racing. Both are really nice updates to the Pantera. I can now use a remote to open the doors (no more door key, yay!) and the windows roll up and down in seconds!

August 2007: The Pantera has always had a flat steel gas pedal and normal looking rubber pedal covers so I thought it was time to dress it up a bit. Ultimate Pedals makes great looking Pantera pedal kit so I thought I'd give them a shot. I'm very impressed! Super high quality, great looks and they're grippy, thanks to the rubber inserts. Very cool!



We finally got some traction on the Pantera door panels. Because of the door poppers, we no longer need the door lock on the inside of the Pantera door.

The factory door panels were made of some kind of plastic/fiberglass material that hasn't stood the test of time very well. They were warped, cracked and brittle. So Jaime and I decided to go the hot rod route, and make our own, flat door panels. They don't wrap around like the factory ones did. This means that the door lock hole and surrounding metal will be exposed so they needed to be cleaned up and finished nicely.

In the pictures below, you can see the original door lock hole and surrounding, unfinished metal. I welded up the hole with new sheetmetal, filled the seams, sanded and repainted semi-gloss black. Jaime cut the new door panels out of wood, sewed up a new cover (half UltraSuede, half UltraLeather), put in the new panel clips and installed the new door panel.





September 2007: We finished both door panels and armrests, kick panels and the rear firewall cover.





This weekend we installed the Cat Eye Quad Headlight Kit from Amerisport Industries. The kit converts the huge factory froggy looking headlights to more modern, low profile headlights. Expensive, but amazingly high quality. Installation would have been straight foreward if our Pantera didn't have a couple frozen headlight adjustment screws, and a oddly sized headlight bucket hole that didn't have enough clearance. At any rate, after working the majority of Saturday on the conversion, Jaime and I were eventually victorious. The car looks awesome with the headlights on now (yay!) and night vision is greatly improved.



December 2007: I welded in three pieces of 2" x 1/4" Steel Plate down the length of each door sill area for chassis strengthening. The holes for the old seat belt plates are covered up since I'll be converting to a 3-point seatbelt system. Jaime finished up the center firewall piece and we finally fit the new roll bar. The seatbelt tabs at the top had to be cut off, ground, rewelded and repainted to match up with the seatbelt bolt holes. I drilled and tapped the 1/4" steel plate on the floor for the roll bar to bolt to. Everything is extremely solid and tight fitting.





I moved on to installing a new fuseblock in the Pantera. Nothing was wrong with the old one, but this new one is so slick and compact that I couldn't resist. Since I already had the seats and carpet out of the car, I had lots of room to work. The old fuseblock used old style fuses and was seperated into two seperate blocks. One small block just for the window motors, and one large block for everything else. The old style fuses are getting harder and harder to find and I just don't see them having as good of connectivity as the new style.

This new fuseblock was purchased from Pantera Electronics. It's the same size as the larger of the old fuseblocks, but includes the power window fuses as well. The fuse ratings are labeled on the side, and when a circuit is blown a little LED lights up to show you which fuse is the problem. So cool! Installation is easy and everything worked on the first try!







Today I did manage to get the new 3-point retractable seatbelt system figured out and installed. Passenger side is done, drivers side awaits backordered parts from Summit Racing. Going to be so much more comfortable (and safe) than the factory lap belts. I also installed new door latches (not in the picture).

January 2008: The box surrounding the e-brake lever was too big and blocky for our new seats. Jaime designed a new one out of cardboard, then I cut it out of sheet metal and welded it up. Jaime covered it and designed a custom e-brake boot to cover the base of the lever. The ash tray is new as well. It's the same one that can be found in the Vipers. I liked it because it was a lot simpler than the original one, and didn't look as dated. The interior is coming together!

August 2008: I was so taken by Pantera Electronic's fuse block, that I wanted more. Smiler First, I installed Pantera Electronic's LED Front Signal Lights Conversion. These things are bright! In the first pic you can see the new LED panel installed into the original Pantera housing. This is an awesome install. Much easier than I expected. No modifications are made to the factory housing, just open it up and insert the LED's. Run the wires through and put connectors on them. They plug right into the factory harness. The only other thing left to do is install an electronic signal flasher. Pantera Electronics also makes a nifty flasher. It has a Green LED that lights up letting you know that the flasher has power and is operating correctly, plus it makes an electronic "di-doo" flasher sound. The flasher sound is quite loud, great for people with loud engines. It was a litte too loud for me though, so I put a little strip of foam tape over the speaker hole and now it's pefect! Did I mention that these are bright?

Second, I installed Pantera Electronic's Headlight Motor Controller. The Panteras are getting on in their years now, and one of the things that people are having problems with is the pop-up headlight operation. Not only does Jon's controller make the headlights reliable, it addresses a ton of other issues with the factory set up.

While I was messing with the electrical stuff, Jaime got to work on the loop style carpet. She made patterns out of paper first, then cut out the carpet and sewed various pieces together, essentially creating a "moulded carpet" look, only better. The fit is stunning. I'm totally amazed. Not a wrinkle or bare edge to be seen. Fanstastic!











September 2008: Finished putting custom air vents into our new carbon fiber hood that we purchase from Panteras by Wilkinson. The hood is super nice and fits great. It came without vents, and that actually worked out nicely because we didn't want to install the traditional Pantera hood vents. They're very rectangular, and the straight metal grill really makes them look dated. We wanted something with more shape, made from a more modern material. And since we're running the radiator in a more laid down position, we were able to make the vents taller to help release more hot air.

First I had to come up with the design. I designed the vents to mimic the shape of the gap between the back of the radiator and the front of the trunk. Had to leave room for the hood support beams on the sides and in the center. I rounded the corners using a small paint can cap, and adjusted the front most line to have the same curve as the front of the hood (instead of the straight line of the radiator). Jaime found the steel mesh material from an on-line computer store. Comes in flat sheets. Once we had the design and metal mesh, we needed a way to shape the mesh. Made a trip to Low's for a couple planks of wood and some router bits. Traced the pattern onto the wood and made a positive and negative shape for each vent. Inserted the mesh, fit the wood pieces together and clamped them down, pressing the mesh into the proper shape. Primed and painted the vents semi-gloss black with rattle cans.







Next, I traced the design onto the back side of the hood so that I could see the vent position relative to the hood supports.



I used a metal cutting disk on the dremel and cut from the front side of the hood to make sure that all of the lines were perfect. This is the most carefully I've ever cut anything! All the lines came out perfect. Once the holes were cut, I hand sanded the edges and test fit both vents.





Now it was time to finish off the newly cut edge. Using 1/4" pinstriping tape, I followed around each vent hole to make a guide line. Then I outlined the guide tape with a second piece of tape, and removed the original guide line tape. This gave me a perfect 1/4" piece of exposed carbon fiber around each vent hole. Jaime finished masking off the rest of the hood and I scuffed the carbon fiber resin lightly to help the new paint stick. This time I painted with glossy black. Once the paint was dry I installed each vent using a bead of black silicone sealant on the back side of the hood.











Once the silicone was dried we re-installed the hood. Pardon the dust on the rest of the car. We're getting there, one piece at a time!

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