Funky motoring facts with Brian Payne

If you were around it the later part of the 1960s through to the mid 1970s you may remember they were heady times…. seems like anything was possible!

For we Aussies it was the golden days of such local iconic vehicles as the Chrysler’s Chargers, Ford’s GTHOs, the General’s Monaros, Bolwell’s Nagari to name just a few.

From overseas we saw a range of Lambos to make your eyes water, and then there was the De Tomaso Pantera from 1971.

At that time it was an enticing $US10,000, designed by an American Tom Tjarda, while working for Ghia in Italy, so not bad credentials to start with.

Then add a touch of good ole’ American know how, with an ever reliable Ford 5.7 litre V8 and power train, it sounded like a no-brainer, with mid-engined exotica being all the rage.

Sadly, the Italians were having a bad run with their Russian steel suppliers, and the legacy of rust-plagued local cars of the era, (think of the Fiats and Alfa Romeos etc.) and you’ll get my drift!

Additionally, early examples were plagued with minor mechanical problems, but this was soon resolved.

A prominent owner of an early production model one Mr. Elvis Presley, is said to have actually shot his Pantera when it doggedly refused to start.

I guess it could have been the original Hound Dog!

By 1975 imports of the Pantera to the United States ceased, although it remained in production until the early 1990’s.

Today they are quite collectable, and if you know a handy tradesman with lots of skill in rust repairs, probably worth a punt at around $US50,000 to $US60,000.

So if you’ve saved your money for a rainy day…and live in Central Australia…why not joined Elvis in the list of illustrious Pantera owners?