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The show was pretty good.  It was a little light on content and a lot of details were glossed over.  However, it is bringing awareness of the marque to the average car enthusiast who might not have known about these cars.  The car was purchased without the original twin turbo 360 Chrysler motor.  They did manage to find the original motor in a auto salvage yard.  They didn’t mention anything about the gearbox, although there might have been a quick glimpse of  it on a pallet near where the motor was found.  Gale Banks who worked on the project originally, was involved with supplying new turbos and restoring the intercooler.  The car was run at the Willow Springs racetrack.  At the end of the show the car was unveiled at the Petersen Automotive Museum.  They called this car the predecessor to the Viper.  It was definitely worth watching.

I watched it and the Galpin Auto Sports guys seem to be it bit more rational than many of the other 'reality tv' auto shows, although they were previously featured on 'pimp my ride' so that should tell us something! Yes there were still plenty of scripted cliche's, loosely based historical facts and false drama.

Now, do I believe they called around local junk yards and miraculously found the original Shelby test mule engine just sat there on pallet under a pristine tarp for 30 years? The $7,500 they paid the old guy was probably more like hush money!

In parts of the show it's all about originality and keeping it the way Shelby touched it, "hey we can't rebuild the engine as it wouldn't be original any more" "we had the exact shade of Shelby white matched by PPG" where they then duly go and bolt up an ugly drop tip delta wing on the car just crudely re-drilling the decklid after paint and then go one step further and slap on a Wilwood brake kit.

But I'm sure now it has attained a little more TV fame and has the "original" engine back where it is supposed to be it will become the 'one of one' most expensive Pantera ever! In what is probably the most representative part of the related Shelby history "don't let the truth get int he way of a good story"


I was disappointed about the facts. But in one hand, exposure about a Pantera is always a good thing!! I have an old Hot Rod  magazine from May 1986. It has an article about this car. The car in that article is a 1983. No wing, original campy wheels, no side gills in body, it's in black and white  print. So not sure about color. The engine is a 340, not 360. I don't believe the story about finding engine either. 

I cringed about the Miami Vice joke. I'll bet they don't know the "testarosa " in that show was actually a customized Pantera!! That's in a different issue of same magazine. 

Gotta get the rest of my chest!! The Gale Banks connection is all true. He is a legend in turbo motorsports. But It seems he got duped in this story of that being the car. And the museum it's now sitting in doesn't seem to check the facts either. With all respect to Galpin, it's a shame when the episode is all about sadly missed the mark. 

Last edited by chrisriley

I believe I had seen that car before, either in one of my old POCA, PI issues, or Pantera books.   I thought that I saw the ZF near where they found the motor but they glazed over that part.  Watched it again just to be sure.  So, it looks like they got motor and ZF for $7500.

So much for keeping the car original.  They had no problem drilling extra holes in that deck lid and installing aftermarket brakes on it.

Mike Drew pointed out to me the ZF came with the engine, which actually adds even more doubt in my mind to authenticity. According to Mike, Shelby owned a number of Pantera's with Dodge power, so maybe there was more than just this one mule?

Last edited by joules

There’s an article in the car in the June, 1993 POCA newsletter. I just read it last night.

You can download the newsletters from the POCA website (if you are a POCA Member).

It might be (but it's not) the same issue where Mike Drew describes his trip from Oklahoma to the Las Vegas Fun Rally on his motorcycle.....

Then I see this!


PACK-RAT Alert!!!

Hot Rod Magazine, May 1986, page 79 has a full article on "Carrol's Revenge" a twin turbo Mopar 340 Pantera. I think it's this same car but haven't confirmed that. The article includes some track data.

(The amazing part is I actually found the magazine when I went looking for it....)




This is the original article I was referring to..... But you can also find it in the June, 1993 POCA newsletter (which may be easier to access).


Last edited by rocky

I offered a detailed build history on that car and said I would help with the restoration. The show had some AmeriSport video history in it, but no mention of the real build history. That car had 0 to do with the Viper development. Very sad, truth has little to do with television and making money. 

By the way there were 2 twin turbo Chrysler powered Pantera-s  built, one red GTS and that white GT5-S. I rode in the red GTS and Carroll and I spent several hours in his office and plant talking about allot including his history with deTomaso. I do not talk about these past relationships, but the representation of that car's history was sad. 

Last edited by kirkevans

I highly doubt that Shelby ordered any cars directly from DeTomaso sPa in Italy. Given A. DeTomaso's prickly nature and his long memory for those who screwed him (or attempted to). Ref. the incident when Shelby contracted with DeTomaso in 1963 to build a batch of P-5000 single-seat sports-racers, designed by Peter Brock, for a proposed FIA spec series using the 5-liter SBF.  The prototype was a disaster- DeTomaso's Italian builders couldn't read Peter's SAE measurements so instead of hiring a translator, they 'winged it' and a human being couldn't fit in the completed machine. Shelby refused to pay for an undrivable car & it was scrapped.

Peter Brock was sent over to Modena shortly after and the first successful P-5000 was 98% completed by Carrozeria Fantuzzi only a few hundred feet with a second not far behind when Shelby abruptly called Peter back to California and rescinded payment-again- sticking DeTomaso with the bill for the two P-5000s (plus the prototype). The single 'P-7' sports racer was either built years later under shadowy circumstances or simply renamed. The spine-frame chassis of Brock's P-5000 became the chassis used- along with an unused prototype Ghia coupe body- as the '65 Mangusta. It was so named because DeTomaso hoped to run Mangustas against Shelby's Cobras in International sportscar competition. Then the FIA cancelled that racing class.

Shelby used the Ford money intended for the P-5000 Sports Racers to supplement his Cobra program and they won the World Sportscar Championship that year- earning DeTomaso's undying dislike. Then along came the GT-40..... All this would make a good reality TV series today, 50 years later and all the principals deceased.

Shelby purchased all of the Pantera directly through the factory. I placed the color choices personally because all of the S cars were shipped directly to AmeriSport, there were 6 or 7 total. His personal GTS ended up in Georgia, and it still looks exactly the same as it left my shop. The red Turbo GTS ended up in New Zealand. That car was quite a monster when it boosted. It had a lot of Turbo lag until they spun up. Not a friendly driver that much I can tell you but fast. The white S car in the show intended to have a supercharged Windsor in it which was going to be our production motor for 1989. Unfortunately the program never got funded because of the Black Monday stock market crash. I took that car with a stock Windsor engine that came in it out to California to Shelby. Because the car was never EPA, they used it as a drone to save it from The Crushers. Unfortunately that happened in August of 88 I believe and the first Viper prototype was shown in January at the Detroit car show in 1989. This was hardly the development car for anything that had to do with the Viper. The V10 was still under development when the Prototype was shown in 89. As far as the p500 history, there's a complete other side to that story which I was told personally by Carroll Shelby in his office at Chrysler along with some other fun facts. There's always two sides to the pancake. As far as the down tipped wing and the appearance of that particular white-on-white Pantera, that was our best seller from that time period. I had many orders for the white on white combination. The car had all the original AmeriSport items as it left my shop including the VIN tag which shows up very briefly in the show. There's also footage of my engine assembler a very quick shot of myself and one of my employees that was pulled from some news footage from the AmeriSport History video. A lot of the still shots in the show were also pulled from my DVD. Most of the work on that particular car I did personally back then because it was Shelby's car. I remember it clearly. That is a quick real history of this white S Pantera.

Last edited by kirkevans

Chris-Reilly, most of the post came from an article written some years ago by Peter Brock himself, supplemented with photos and their comments from Phillipe Olszyck's 2006 book on racing DeTomaso cars. Peter also gave a rather informative talk on the subject during one year's POCA Fun Rally when he was the main speaker. He's about the only major player still around today, and a nice person to talk to.

As far as Shelby's side of the story, when he was still around he mentioned in an interview that Ford had ordered him to pull the sports-racer money and use it on the Cobras, which were far closer to success than the unapproved new sports racer series. So he reportedly said, 'OK- I'll take the heat. Hope things work out' and chopped DeTomaso off. As mentioned, the Cobras- thanks to Brock's Daytona coupes- won the '65 WSCC championship to help rescue Ford's loss that year with the GT-40s.

As it turned out, the FIA class in which the sports racers would have competed was in the process of being cancelled; maybe Ford at their level were already aware of this and saved a mil or two. But we enthusiasts did get the Mangusta in return and I suspect DeTomaso turned a profit on the whole deal in the end.

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