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In cooperation with the Graz University of Technology the structure of classic car accidents as well as the causes and consequences of accidents were analysed in detail.

In this context a comparison of the brake delays for selected vintage cars and newer vehicles was carried out. Great outcome for the Pantera :-)

The brake deceleration measurements for the Pantera (9.92 m/s2) is almost as good as with vku [2)modern cars.

Unfortunately in German only, but have a look at the tables pages 179 to 182.




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  • vku (2)
Last edited by bluepant
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  • Die besten Werte erzielte ein DeTomaso von 1976 mit einem Maximalwert von 9,92m/s² und einem Mittelwert von 6,26m/s². Eine ebenfalls hohe maximale Bremsverzö-gerung erreichte ein Porsche 911 von 1980 mit 9,34m/s².
  • the report talks about a De T P build 1976..

The table gives disk dimeter 285 mm (sounds like the original) and 4 pistons as original and on rear disks as well, no info on mods (well they might not know about it.., could have called me). The tire DOT I cannot convert to tire sizes right now needs more research, guess you folks know..

Also not clear if brake main cylinder and our wild brake pressure leveler is in scope. But assume it is....then TOP data we got on the car. Porsche in 1980 had app somewhat 180 HP Din, and 3 liter engine..



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  • mceclip0

The stock Pantera brakes were always very good "warmed up", but not hot.

They suffer mostly from lack of vented rotors and just a change to something like a Porterfield 4s street pad helps with more braking and less fade.

In the day, most suspension/brake performance was limited by the tires available. Today even just production street tires are better then race tires of the time.


I think that the Popular Mechanics article of around 1978 showed the capabilities of the Pantera very well?

One can debate what a "high performance" vehicle is. Going faster is generally what everyone thinks of BUT I personally won't drive any car that can't be driven easily, stop fantastically, and responds instantaneously to where you point it and where you want it to go.

That's my definition of high performance, not to mention having some kind of an eye of economical use of fuel.


I'd always prefer to have a 500hp car. In my experience it can get you out of trouble quicker.

Last edited by panteradoug

Nice Find! That really is fascinating, and great news, and confirms one of the reasons why the Pantera is my dream car. A 40+ year old supercar still has more than acceptable performance in this day and age, if you know how to use it... I'm guessing that the person doing the braking tests was not your average guy off the street ( I don't read German so haven't deciphered the report.

The Pantera had disk brakes at all four corners, which was an advanced specification for 1971. Unfortunately in an era when even the Mustang and Cougar where equipped with ventilated front disks, the Pantera had unventilated (i.e. solid) front disks, thus the Pantera’s brakes ran hotter. To cope with the heat the front brake pads were equipped with high temperature (i.e. race car) linings. Unfortunately those linings didn't stop well until they were heated-up.

The rear brake calipers were undersized; it was impossible to lock them up under any circumstance even though there was no proportioning valve in the rear brake hydraulic circuit. After testing the brakes Ford engineers decided to better balance the braking performance by installing a proportioning valve in the front brake hydraulic circuit, thus limiting the power applied to the front brakes … rather than improving the rear calipers! Thus the Pantera’s ultimate stopping capability could not be controlled by the driver; no matter how hard the driver stomped on the brake pedal braking force was limited by a hydraulic valve.

Hurst/Airheart, a leading manufacturer of racing brakes, tested the OEM Pantera brakes back in the 1970s. The first stop from 60 mph required 219 feet and 225 pounds of pedal effort, which is an extremely high amount of pedal effort. With each consecutive stop both the braking distance and the pedal effort decreased. Upon the eighth consecutive stop the Pantera achieved its advertised stopping distance of 133 feet (from 60 mph), and pedal effort had fallen to 115 pounds. Of course, in a “real world” situation such as a “panic stop” a driver does not have the opportunity to “pre-heat” the brakes with seven practice stops.

As the test progressed brake-fade set-in with the next (ninth) consecutive stop. There was therefore a fine line between optimum braking performance and the on-set of brake fade. One last point I wish to mention, Hurst/Airheart concluded from their test that a Pantera’s ultimate stopping capability was limited by the brakes, rather than being limited by the amount of traction provided by the tires (PI News, volume 3, no.4, pages 27-32).

Citing this test, Pantera International’s founder Fred Matsumoto referred to performing a panic stop with the Pantera’s OEM brakes as a religious effort; he wrote you stomp on the brake pedal and PRAY that you stop in time (PI News, volume 14, no.2, page 14)! It befuddles me that these are the same brakes that some magazine testers praised, in fact one tester described them as “the best production car brakes in the world” (Motor Trend, March 1972, page 106).

There is however an explanation for the variance in opinions regarding the Pantera's braking performance. Panteras (and other Ford/Lincoln/Mercury vehicles) delivered to magazines for testing were maintained by Bill Stroppe's shop on Signal Hill in Long Beach California. Bill Mason, a Stroppe employee at that time, explained that they were aware of the Pantera's brake issues, and thus they would "pre-heat" the brakes before handing the cars over to the magazine editors for brake testing … to insure the best results during the magazine's brake fade testing. The results were therefore "skewed" in the Pantera's favor.

Last edited by George P

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