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I am on the fence and need some input.

I am in the process of restoring a very clean (straight unmolested body) pantera with nearly no rust.

It is very low miles but has been sitting for 20 + years. Engine runs great, trans shifts sweet. But the paint is very tired, cracked, I need to replace original rusted exhaust manifolds, tear engine down put new valve springs,water pump rebuild brakes, clutch go through all electrical. All the crap that comes with a car that has been in storage for years. I am okay with all that, but here is my question:

How important is it going to be to keep this car bone stock and original. Do I search for clean uncracked original exhaust manifolds? or go with some nice headers? It has a nice teak aftermarket steering wheel, do I put the original one back on, or leave it alone? Original pantera cooling fans will not keep the car cool enough to drive in Florida, do I keep with the originals or put on after market? The car has the original air cleaner and carb. Do I keep them on the car?

My plan is to play with the car for a year then sell it. I want to do the car in a way that would appeal to the largest market. I have another pantera besides this one which is mine to keep.

So would you keep it as original as possible, or remove the rubber bumper and slap on some Euro bumpers?


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I am naturally a hot rodder. I like to make my cars more driveable for across country trips -- and through this prism I make my choices on what to do with my car as far as upgrades go. This does not make it right or wrong, you've got to know what turns your crank and go with that.

Mopar, Jaguar, and Ferrari people are in the camp that if it is not original it is not worth doing. Originality is king and any deviation is an abomination. Non original motors, transaxles or transmissions, non original paint -- these are all things that are frowned upon at these other marques for the high dollar cars. So far the Pantera is not in that camp and there are a lot of people who do modify their cars, so it is not frowned upon.

Now down the road it is another matter all together. There may come a time that an original numbers matching orginally painted car will be worth huge money. You never know, anything is possible. Again, if having original everything is what interests you, then by all means go down that road. I doubt that many all original Panteras are good at cross country touring, but if all you want to do with the car is drive to the local drive in car show, then this may be a good choice.

Food for thought and good luck!

Since your goal is to flip the car, the answer is completely different than if you going to keep the car.

As far as I am concerned, any modification that is going to make the car more reliable is a good one to make. If a small change is also going to make the car look better then I think that is good as well, especially if you have the original parts to go with the sale of the car.

Or course, If you were going to keep it, I say do what you like. I could care less what other people think of my modifications, abomination or not. I do not care about resale value for my car since I do not plan on ever selling it. HOWEVER, If I were to buy a car to sell, I too, would be careful on the changes I would make.

I have seen your other cars, I do not think that any changes you make will be an issue since you do high quality work!

Take care, Scott
Improving safety, reliability, and power will not hurt resale - they'll actually improve it. "Improving" the appearance might be a matter of taste, but tasteful easy to undo changes should actually improve resale. A quality paint job also improves resale - just take some pictures so you can show the buyer what's underneath - I'm always leery of a freshly painted car with no photo-documentation on what it looked like before and when stripped.

When you do sell, just send the original parts along with the car so the new owner can go back to totally stock if desired.
Originally posted by Quickitty:
I want to do the car in a way that would appeal to the largest market.

Based on my dealings with buyers my advice is keep it clean, straight and original. Make everything work like new. Keep the carb & air cleaner. Put the money into parts that will increase the cars value & help you sell it. Mods that look stock are OK (GTS exhaust, Phoenix radiator, Meriah fans). Upgrade the brakes as documented elsewhere, & upgrade the shocks. Install a breakerless ignition. If you repaint - repaint the original color. Parts replacement that can be seen, like shiny new u-joints or fresh weather stripping, give a buyer a good feeling.

There are upgrades that you would not recover financially when you sell it (they add no value to the car) such as aftermarket wheels. You and I realize the value in a wheel upgrade, because we see all the guys pulling their hair out trying to find good 15" tires, but somebody new to the Pantera market does not realize their value, they actually value original wheels more.

This is the trend I see, more heads are turned by unmolested cars than by modified ones; or to put it another way, people are turned-off by modifications. The cars that earn top dollar are the cars that look and operate like showroom new. If the car needs work, like the AC doesn't blow cold air, or the suspension squeaks, the steering has play in it; the dollar value drops fast. I purchased my Pantera specifically because it had certain expensive modifications (brakes & suspension), but in today's market I would be the exception, not the rule. The buyers are changing and it is probably the media that is responsible for the change in buyer attitude.

If Chip Foose customizes a 1964 Impala it will become a valuable car because Chip Foose has earned a valuable reputation. But if you or I customize a 1964 Impala, it would be just another modified 1964 Impala, worth maybe $5000 if it has 4 good tires, nice paint & a nice interior. However if you or I restore a 1964 Impala to showroom condition, the value will go up up up. That is today's market for classic cars, and it is dictated by the buyers and the media, not the owners.

Garth's advice to photo document everything is sound advice. If you replace parts that can't be seen like a throw-out bearing, take a photo of it AND keep the receipt.

(Jay I moved the thread AND changed the title, I hope you don't have a hard time finding it!)

Good luck

I agree completely with what George said so eloquently.

I strongly believe that the "investment-grade" Panteras will all be near-stock (minor hidden mods acceptable). Collectors often pay higher prices than car-guys for originality and if you want the money, give those with the most cash what they want.

As is often said "they're only original once".

Just remember that an original car is like a virgin, it's only original once. Some owner some day will throw all the orig parts away, and make the way he likes it. So the question is just: Are you going to take its virginity or will it be the next guy?

On a more serious note, I'd say it depends on where it is today. I have Denmark's, perhaps Europe's, most original 1st gen Camaro, that will never change. I bought it for that exact reason, it had an engine room that no "racer" had touched, all the orig parts were there. To turn that car into a street machine would be a sin. My current Pantera has race engine, 17" etc. I like the original'ish look it has, but I don't think twice, if I want to improve it. Still, I hold on to the useless mirrors, and the only reason I can think of to do that is originality.

If in doubt: It's only original once...
Thanks, you guys are Awesome!!
You have pretty much confirmed what I suspected.
George, you hit the nail on the head. Keep it as stock as possible. Although it has been sitting, this is a very clean pantera, to the point that I was going to feel guilty making any changes other than what is needed for safety and reliability (and paint). Thanks to you, and no problem moving the post. I think you even corrected some of my poor gramer, Cool! Wink
Scott, thanks for the kind words regarding the work I have done on my other cars. These cars have a huge amount of potential and character, it is nice to be able to bring that out of the car for others to see. I'll be calling and ordering a set of those Camero mirrors for my wide body here soon. They will fit that car well.
Mark, "investment-grade" is a pretty high standard in my book. This car has "investment-grade" potential and I see clearly now, that is were it has to go.
Garth, I'm taking as many photos as I can, every step of the way.
Mark, (DeMopuar) I agree, that is where I was begining to question what mods I should do. I have done Jag's, was big on Mopars for many years, currently finishing a 66 vette, all to bone stock spec's. Pantera folk seem to be a little more open to mods, but this car ultimatly needs to stay original as possible.
Mikael, I agree with your thinking. My pantera, the one I am building for myself is a wide body conversion with a 408 stroker, it is going to be pretty wild. But the yellow 73, is just too clean to mess with.
I will clean it up, Paint as needed, do the mechanical mods to make it reliable and safe while keeping is as stock and original as possible.

Thanks again, you guys know these cars better than anybody and I value your thoughts and opinions.
Hey Jay pm me with how to contact you we are close maybe i can give you a hand, if I remember correctly . I agree with George keep it original but do the safety upgrades and make it run well. Let the next person do what they want to make it theirs. IMHO leave the bumpers I would rather have mine than the small ones 1974 L big ft because when you do a side view they look right.
Great question ...

I think it all depends on the Marketplace you are targeting your car at.

My view is the following:

There are basically three marketplaces that you would be aiming at if you want to keep it for a period of time and have a mind to sell it:

1) If you want to sell the car as an original "show" car - then keep the car as stock as possible. This is the type of car that is primarily intended for a collector and is not meant to be driven regularly. It is meant to show the car as it was off the showroom floor with maybe a few miles on it. This type of car is meant for a top dollar but narrow market. An interested buyer here would have the money to spend for this type of car but there would not be a wide audience.
In this case, subtle non-obvious safety upgrades are good. (eg. Porterfield brake pads and SS brake lines are good BUT KEEP the STOCK Master Brake cylinder. Rebuild it and rebuild the original calipers.
The engine compartment should be entirely stock (upgrades here are would be visibly obvious). Upgrades to the A/C system are not worth the effort or cost as this would for an original "show car". Changes to electrics (wires, fuses motors etc.) - keep it original ("if it ain't broke don't fix it") - Not a safety item and not worth the cost or effort. Just make sure everything works and is bone stock or obviously so.
"L" front bumpers tended to get the undermetal rusty, with dried out and "wavey" rubber. Make sure the front bumper looks clean and not wavey. Good non-wavey bumpers are a challenge to source but are available. Alternatively, restore the original.
"L" cars did not have an chronic overheating probelm - the engine cooling sytem was largely sorted out - but change the hoses. If the radiator is shot - Get an original looking one. Forget a Fluidine.
Original wheels and tires (or tires that fit and look originalish - a toughy here).
The "L" exhaust header tended to crack at the webbing. Repair it. If the original exhaust is rusted out. Replace it with a new one. They are still available from the vendors.
Changing out all the old weatherstrip rubber for new looking rubber is a good idea. Polish up the bright metal work.
As far as the original paint goes ... My view is if it just has subtle chips and scratches (No rust in the bodywork) - DO NOT REPAINT. KEEP THE ORIGINAL PAINT. Spend the effort in a touching up the chips and scratches - give it a good professional paint detailing polish and wax. The cracks that appear in the "A" and "C" pilars are part of the originality. On the other hand. If there is rust in the bodywork, some dents etc. Then document (as suggested) the condition of the body and go for a repaint that is as close to the original colour as can be done. Since the car was originally painted in enamel ... Do not repaint in 2 stage colour/clear. Use a single colour coat system. Also, Do not change the colour. If it is yellow, keep it a yellow colour as close to the original as possible. Remember, the body was painted in one colour almost in its entirety. A colour change would be obvious.

2) If you want to enjoy and then sell the car as an "originalish" driver car. In my opinion, this is a type of car that superficially looks original and has subtle quality DeTomasoish upgrades to make it look and work better (upgrades typically sourced from the DeTomaso vendors). The car could be driven and shown. This type of car would appeal to the widest market. There is can be a wide range to an "originalish" car.
The car you are talking about looks to be an "L" car. L's had many of the "issues" sorted out and would be a good driver right out of the box.
Changing out all the old, cracked, torn weatherstrip rubber for new looking rubber is still a good idea. Polish up the bright metal work.
In addition to what I mentioned for 1), a Brake SYSTEM upgrade is good (Master, pads, lines, maybe even calipers). Working A/C is a good upgrade; compressor, hoses etc. (with original configuaration - ie, no front condensor). Maybe a quality smaller steering wheel (the original made the driving area feel tight for taller drivers - you don't want to cut these buyers out). Upgraded radiator (eg. Fluidine or Phoenix) and hoses. Wheels and tires that are Campys (eg. 8" wide rears to 10" wide rears) or look like Campys (quality aluminum campy clones 10x17 and 8x17). Once again, I would keep the engine bay bone stock. Stock motor, intake, air cleaner etc. - The stock motor worked and works well out of the box. All the engine bay requires is a clean-up. Keep the trunk as it was. Replace the cracked exhaust header with a newer vendor market header (not worth the welding) that is jet-hot coated. Replace any rusted exhaust with a new original unit.
I would keep the "L" bumper look. As in the case for 1) it all depends on how good the original front bumper is. An after market replacement is OK provided it looks "originalish". I would not go into the expense of filling all the holes and repainting for the Euro bumpers on an L car.
As far as the original paint goes ... My view is if the body has subtle chips and scratches (No rust in the bodywork) - DO NOT REPAINT. KEEP THE ORIGINAL PAINT. Spend the effort in a touching up the chips and scratches. The cracks that appear in the "A" and "C" pilars are part of the originality. On the other hand, for this type of "originalish" car: If there is rust in the outer bodywork or oxidized paint or excessive "waves" or dents etc.- then document (as suggested) the condition of the body and go for a repair/repaint. Colour in this case should be one that is appealing to the marketplace. White, Red, Blue and Black are good. (My car is original factory orange but I do not think that colour or DeTomaso lime-green are attractive to the larger non DeTomaso marketplace) Any non original colour repaint should hide the original colour paint as much as possible.

3) This is for a quality driver car that is primarily for your own use but possibly with the intention of selling down the road. This third group is for the marketplace that is DeTomaso Pantera knowledgable. You would probably get the same dollar as 2) but the marketplace would be among the DeTomaso aware. You may not get all the money back that you invested in the car.

This type of car purely and simply looks like a car that DeTomaso built as a Pantera, L, GTS, GT4, GT5 or GT5S. It is fully sorted out - and has no "buts". Everything works and works well. Hop in and drive. (David Berman's GT5 comes to mind, or Will Dimello's Grp 4)
For example: it would use quality parts such as "Pantera Electronics", upgraded shocks and springs, Upgraded "Willwood" brakes, upgraded engine components (intake, carburtation, etc.), upgraded interior (i.e. GT5 or GT5S leather interior in an early car.), upgraded wiring and electric motors etc.

Summing it all up: If you intend to sell, just like any presentation or sale - know your market and marketplace and target you product for that market.

Personally, I would go for the largest market and let the market bid for your car - which means my suggestion is 2).


Originally posted by A Hudson:
Let me just pile on the advice to keep it stock looking, limiting mods toward reliability and safety.

Auction prices have supported this, as have recent 'wanted' queries. The market seems to have less tolerance for 'personalization'.

this is the fact : personalization...this means also that what "you" like mostly won't like another probably no value , worse, less value as original parts are missing....

I daire to say , IMHO, and without offending someone , the worst thing i see are those bigger aftermarket wheels.... as if they are wannebe Ferraris from the '90ties... what i see are 4 big wheels and a car i mean, again ,a personal feeling.

My friend bought a GT5S in the US...ok, a bit cheaper then mine...but with horrible wheels , what do you guys call it , redneck wheels ? Smiler,
now.. if he want"s the originals...? he will be still have bought cheaper???? don't think so...

no, safety , yes , as you want to drive the car , coilovers,brakes,tires....HP,yes,manifold,carb... internals... but keep the look "cleveland" Big Grin
This is my opinion no offense intended. Come on guys the Pantera in the world of exotics is not knows as a really well built car. The factory used really nasty looking vinyl for the interior. The brakes are not very good. The car sits up too high. They overheat. Their electrical system sucks....... ETC. This is the exact reason most owners perform mods to their cars. Most mods are simple functional things like upgrading the cooling system. BTW in my book installing a fluidyne radiator is not considered a mod. Its a must. Many owners get rid of that ugly vinyl and replace the interior with leather. I have seen some interiors so well done that they look stock but in leather. Others have turned their cars into the rice burner looking thing. One thing I hate are those ricky racer seats. They look wrong for the car. Definitely not period. The bottom line for me is that its ok to modify it as long as the period thing is retained.

BTW this is the main reason I am becoming less and less interested in Ferrari / Alfa. Those guys look at even the hose clamps and bitch that they are not original. That is rediculous.
ItalFord ...

Your bottom line is RIGHT ON !!!.

BTW I have NOT seen a restored original "1)" car yet. EVERY car, I have seen, WITHOUT EXCEPTION has had engine mods, brake mods, repaint, cooling mods, suspension mods, electrical mods. Owners need to do this to make the car livable and, in my opinion, if they have in mind - sellable. A "1)" car is more of a museum piece - Not the type of car you would want to drive around in regularly.

When I purchased mine in 1990 it was a used ORIGINAL car. The ONLY thing it had not original were the Pirrelli P7s. But, in order to live with it I made it an "originalish" 2). Now, while keeping the original body, I am moving to a 3). BUT, I do not intend to sell it either. I think selling is part of this thread.

Making it a working true original car would be costly and the purchasing audience would be small. I doubt Quickitty would get his money back if he pursued the original route.

I have been following the conversations regarding stock vs. modify. I am in the early stages of complete restoration (all components stripped with exception of front and rear glass). I've owned mine since 1981 and it is (was)bone stock. Because I may consider selling it after restoration, I agree leaving it near stock with the only modifications being safety or reliability related. Should I change my mind to it being a "keeper" then I will modify it to my tastes.
My comments likely will be un-necessary since virtually everyone knows I have modified everything in/on/around our '72L except the main body panels-and I home-painted those. This follows the dictum for ANY Italian-built car: as-received, you get a 95% machine and you are expected to 'make it your own' by completing it to taste.
My 'tastes' have removed over 600 lbs of weight while leaving the car visually a stock early L that's still street legal but far more fun to drive. I don't worry about whether the hundred engine/chassis mods (and counting) pleases anyone since that's a chore for my heirs.....
It seems that many Panteras have upgrades. There's a Pantera L here in Utah with less than 7k original miles, still owned by the same guy who bought it brand new. I haven't seen it in person. It has original Arriva tires, etc. He's having reliability issues with it (maybe due to storage). I think it's really nice, but not for me. I want to drive mine often. Hence, I'm going to modify it as required. Wiring, brakes, engine, etc. will be modified but tastefully. The body will be almost stock but not the stock color.

My grandfather restored old cars (my brother still has a 1928 Studebaker and a 1929 Model A pickup that he restored) and he used to say "you can restore to the last nut, but who wants to drive it?" Hence, he put a balanced crank in his Model A and added hydraulic brakes. Not stock but much safer.

Last edited by George P
I think we are on the same page here.
The pantera that I am building for myself is low, fat and fast burn rubber still collecting parts but it will be there. I will make that bitch my own!! It will be the badest SOB on the road and I don't care what anybody else thinks.
The yellow 73, it's " a brother from another mother" (must be the rum talking)
When a car last this long with mostly original paint and parts, that commands respect. And here is the key, because I know I will be selling it. I need this car to appeal to a large market that is willing to pay for an "investment-grade" car.
I have modified some panteras in the past and have a pretty good feel of what I would do if it was not this clean, or if I was going to keep it. Believe me, it takes restraint on my part to keep from dropping, chopping and rodding it.
This car is about safety, reliability and preservation.
Personally I can't wait till it's done so I can get back to modding my wide body.
The pantera that I am building for myself is low, fat and fast burn rubber still collecting parts but it will be there. I will make that bitch my own!! It will be the badest SOB on the road and I don't care what anybody else thinks.

Thats the way to live right !!... You will be very, very happy with this approach.

I was about twenty back in the day, at a car show. An older guy ( about my age now) had a kick a$$ street rod sitting there as the afternoon jungle rain clouds threatened. I said to him as I walked by, "You better get rollin' here comes the rain".... He said to me, "Son this is my car, I'm not saving this car for anyone, I'm gonna' squeeze every bit of fun and pleasure out of this car that I possibly can until it's all over, I won't regret one minute"...
Words to live by for sure....
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