Opportunity Lost: DeTomaso Pantera

neighbors-pantera

We have come to learn through our own mistakes, that when you have a chance to buy a great find, don’t hesitate and don’t delay. Reader Jim C. found that out for himself recently. For years he had seen this DeTomaso Pantera hiding under a cover in one of his neighbor’s driveway. He stopped on several occasions and knocked on the owner’s door, but never got an answer. Finally after all these years, he saw the owner out with the Pantera, so he stopped and talked to him about it. After having it for 15 years, he was finally thinking of selling it, but wouldn’t give Jim a price.

neighbors-pantera-interior

For several weeks Jim stopped and asked how much he wanted for this Ford powered Italian and each time he would get the response, “I don’t know”. Not wanting to create animosity with his neighbor, he gave him a business card and told him to let him know when he had a price in mind. Just three weeks later, Jim saw a flatbed tow truck driving by his house. His curiosity got the best of him, so he went out to see where the tow truck had gone and to his surprise, it was loading up the Pantera.

neighbors-pantera

The owner had never contacted him nor gave him a chance to make a counteroffer, which Jim was prepared to do. His situation reminds us yet again that when a seller is willing to let go of their barn find, come with cash and don’t give up easily. We are sure Jim is kicking himself for letting this one slip away, and we would be too. Hopefully he won’t beat himself up too much though, as we have made the same mistake ourselves. We want to thank Jim for sharing his story with us!

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Comments

  1. Dolphin Member

    Either that, or get better neighbors.

    I could be wrong, but I’m not sure I would want to deal with a seller like that, especially if I had to live down the street from him while owning ‘his’ car.

  2. Brian

    I can’t count the number of cars I have inquired about and was told they were not for sale, only to later find them in the junkyard! This was back when junking a car would net you $50-75!! He shouldn’t think twice about it because you just can’t deal with people like that. There are plenty of cars for sale out there that are … for sale!

    • Dj

      You’re exactly right. I’ve had that happen to me several times. And it didn’t matter how much cash I flashed in front of them. You couldn’t buy if you wanted to. The last I tried for a year trying to buy it. 1969 GTO. I would call, go by and she’d tell me next week every time. It was finally gone but that was after I got pissed and told her where to shove it.

      • Brian

        I finally decided that there are a segment of people who really like the attention they get from people who stop and ask if a car is for sale. Many times it seems like they are older people who don’t get out much and probably just like the company. I once stopped to inquire about a 66 Barracuda that was sitting with about a dozen other cars next to a rundown house. The guy who came to the door was at least 0 years old. He said nothing was for sale, but I couldn’t be upset about because he was so friendly and we talked for at least an hour about the history of the area (which he had personally experienced). I stopped again many years later but the cars were gone and the house was cleaned out and abandoned, so I assumed both the man and his wife had passed away.

        Doesn’t seem like this was the case withthe story above, but it’s always fun when a disappointing experience turn into a fun experience!

  3. Axel Caravias

    Was in the same boat for years….but it was a 300sl roadster.. The owner did not wanted to sell till one day I found the parking spot empty!… Car was gone.

    I guess *Sh%#*$ Happens!

    Axel Caravias

    • Dolphin Member

      Now THAT hurts.

      So sorry you didn’t get that roadster. What a car that would have been or, if you got tired of the car, what a retirement fund it would have turned into.

  4. favedave

    Having lusted after Panteras for years, I finally got to drive one. I have never been more disappointed in a car. It literally was like driving a buckboard. The 2 owners I knew also had a never ending string of mechanical issues which were never satisfactorily resolved.

    So maybe Jim was the lucky one.

    • Rolly Doucet

      Favedave, you’re right. I work on three Panteras, regularily, and I get to drive them. They look good parked, would be a nice addition to a collection, but to drive one really turns you off. I got the same emotion once when I drove an early first series Corvette, complete with king-pin front suspension.

  5. Will

    I have owned a Pantera for about 15 years.

    It is by far the best car I have owned. It was my only car for many years.

    Of course, it suffers from the same problems that any 40 year old has, but it seems to age better than most. Before the Pantera, I had a 67 Mustang Fastback. The Pantera had rust issues, but nothing like the Mustang. Panteras had heavy undercoating, which Mustangs did not have. They rust in a few areas, but the rust is easy to fix. Mustangs have many more rust areas.

    Panteras are modified more than most cars, so if you drove one that was harsh, it was probably from the mods. Stock Panteras are quieter and smoother than a C5 Z06 Vette. I’m making that comparison because my neighbor had a Z06. His car drove very similar to my Pantera, except of course for his car being newer, electronic, more reliable, etc.

    A Pantera that has been gone through end-to-end, without going crazy with mods is a very nice car to drive.

  6. Jeff

    He should have offered the market value for the car instead of continually asking what the neighbor wanted for it. It seems to me the buyer was hoping that he could get it for below market price.

  7. Jim

    He didn’t want to sell the car to a neighbor. That doesn’t surprise me. I wouldn’t either. I guess he just didn’t have the heart to tell him that, which was a big mistake.

  8. Les

    Very familiar story. The owner always thinks you want to “steal” the car for almost nothing and feels they could do better with a complete stranger. Also..Maybe the owner didn’t want to see the car around the neighborhood as it brings a bad memory?

  9. Jeff V.

    I have always lusted after these, American power in a Italian body. I believe FORD imported them 71-74 the latter being the “L” model. From what I have read they were kinda tempermental and had issues (ZF transaxle), def a “weekend type toy”. A buddy had a new mid 80’s Pantera GT5S in Florida when I was living there, this car was “badass” it looked like 200mph sitting still jet gloss black w/wing and expensive after-market rims. You felt great riding around in it cruising the beaches.

  10. AMCFAN

    What most do not realize maybe it wasn’t about the money. Maybe the seller didn’t want to sell it to someone “up the street” Having it for 15 years would have had some emotional attachment and would be heart breaking to see it running around in the same ‘hood.

    Happened to me. A local guy had a Rebel Machine 390 4 spd. One of only two Machines sold at the local AMC dealer in town. The guy bought the car new and enjoyed it untill having a family etc. He never sold the car and kept it put away. Fast forward to 1990 when a young kid in his twenties found out about it by word of mouth. (Me) It was said the guy would have liked to have $1500. for it. I met with the guy and he showed it to me but when it came to price it was no longer for sale. A year later it was at a regional AMC car show. Turns out I knew the guy who ended up buying the car. The original owner simply said he didn’t want someone local with his car. He sold it for less then $1000.

  11. ninja3000

    Happened to me, too. Nice ’68 Mustang coupe, 289, pretty good shape. The owner was a neighbor/friend of my father-in-law. Guy yeah-yeahed me for a year after I offered him to set a price, then it disappeared. He had it hauled away for junk! Never found out why he wouldn’t sell. (He was mob-connected, though, and I thought perhaps the Stang was stolen metal.) Too bad for me…

    • rancho bella

      Or………maybe a body in the trunk.

  12. P Trout

    Well, the good news is, there is always another one.

    even if it is, gulp, questionable…..

    http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lgb/cto/4206603393.html

  13. Bruce Turk

    I guess we all have these stories– I offered a guy $600 for beat up 63 Saab GT 850 and he said I was nuts, it was worth $2000— and sold it a week later for $700! Then I drove 6 hours for another car– a piece of crap that he said was in great condition over the phone and wanted $500; I offered $100– he said I was crazy and sent me packing, then gave it away for FREE to someone else a few weeks later…. Oh well.

  14. rancho bella

    Dude…………in live in Encinitas. Thanks be to the gawds I’ve never seen this……………my friggin’ eyes !!!!!!

    I bet I have passed on five very reasonably priced Pantera’s in as many years. The last was a push button model, one of two hundred something brought into the U.S as the first cars. The price was 29K and in nice condition.
    Seems to me people get mesmerized by the sound of a V8 (Example:Pantera or a Tiger) and think there
    is something magical. I sold my Tiger last year. I was no longer mezmerized.

  15. jim s

    having parted out good motorcycles because i did not want anyone else to ride them. i understand some sellers not wanting to sell local. as a buyer i lost out on cars/motorcycles for some of the same reasons. also used to be able to buy old stuff with “walking around money” but not anymore.

  16. ronhale

    I purchased my Pantera new in 1974 as a getting divorced present to myself. I really wanted a Ferrari Daytona, but I couldn’t afford the $24,000 price. Out the door the Pantera was only $13,500 (which was double the price of a new Corvette). I still own it, and I still think that it is one of the most beautiful cars ever built. Quality control was standard Italian for the era. Of the first 3000 miles of travel over the road at least 1000 were on the back of a flatbed truck taking it to the dealer. Once sorted, however, it proved dead reliable and a forever joy to drive.

  17. Hugh Casey

    I own a 1973 Pantera and it is awesome. In spite of the fact that it has a Ford 351 Cleveland it is still an exotic car and requires regular maintenance and does not ride like your family car (It has 4 wheel independent suspension with coil overs (mine has Koni’s) and poly graphite bushings so it rides more like a race car. How much time do you think Ferraris or Lamborghinis spend in the shop and at what cost? The Pantera is among the top performers at a bargain price compared to other cars in the same class.

  18. scot

    ~ ‘buy old stuff with “walking around money” but not anymore’ @ jim s
    that is the truth by damn. used to find lots of neat stuff on used car dealers’ back line. things they wished they hadn’t taken in trade and longed to liquidate for anything offered.
    aaahhhh- them good’ol days. got to be right on the trigger!!!!

    • DougM Member

      Scot, you are so right! I thought I was the only one that preferred to shop off of the BACK line at any lot.. all the odd and unusual or misunderstood foreign stuff was always parked back there…the 3.8 Jag sedans, Fiats, Austin Healeys. I even remember back in college a lot that had a 53 corvette on the back row. No motor. It may have been a 54, but the dealer swore it was a 53. Of course, I had only a few hundred dollars, and he wanted $1,300 for it. Later it was gone and he had traded it for a motorcycle! I had to settle on the 64 Triumph TR4, not running, but very straight and no rust for $300.

      • jim s

        last time i tried to buy off of a dealers back lot they wanted $150 ” to do the paper work ” on a running parts car. but a long time ago i used to get a lot of midgets/sprites off back lots for next to nothing with no paper work fee as the dealer was glad to move them. problem now is the price of scrap metal is driving the market.

  19. Mike

    I’ve had my Pantera for about 15 years and it used to be my daily driver and it was super reliable, never once was it on a flatbed either. I don’t drive it much now but it is fun to take for a Sunday drive around sunny San Diego every once and awhile and keep it in running condition plus it’s not going down in value so no reason to part with it just yet. As for that monstrosity on craigslist, all I can say is WHY?

  20. paul

    The guy probably was afraid that if the new owner his neighbor had a problem with the car he would never hear the end of it. Most of us here know what we are getting into when we buy a car that has been sitting for years.

  21. Mark E

    Well, you can’t take a person’s word that they’re going to call you either!!

    My father had a “friend” who had a pair of ’66 Thunderbirds…a landau coupe and a convertible. He also had a nice ’42 Packard convertible. Since I owned a Packard also at the time we’d meet each other at the Packard club meets and occasionally I rode with him or he caught a ride with me. I positively KNEW I told him SEVERAL times that I was interested in all his cars if he ever wanted to sell them. Well, a few years after moving away from my home town you can guess what I found out: he sold all three cars to a “collector” (read flipper) from Texas who paid about as much as I was going to offer for just the Thunderbird convertible for ALL THREE CARS!! Grrrr…. >_<

  22. Mike Cardoza

    Think the tow truck said Ecology……………………………………Junk….

  23. Brian

    I finally decided that there are a segment of people who really like the attention they get from people who stop and ask if a car is for sale. Many times it seems like they are older people who don’t get out much and probably just like the company. I once stopped to inquire about a 66 Barracuda that was sitting with about a dozen other cars next to a rundown house. The guy who came to the door was at least 80 years old. He said nothing was for sale, but I couldn’t be upset about it because he was so friendly and we talked for at least an hour about the history of the area (which he had personally experienced). I stopped again many years later but the cars were gone and the house was cleaned out and abandoned, so I assumed both the man and his wife had passed away.

    Doesn’t seem like this was the case with the story above, but it’s always fun when a disappointing experience turn into a fun experience!

  24. swm

    For years I pestered a guy about his 65 Lemans 326, four-speed. So did dozens of others who saw it sitting beside his house in the weeds. He gleefully would tell us it wasn`t for sale.
    Finally in 2008, he got hit in the economic downturn. He even advertised it, but it had sat so long the frame was rusted and many parts had been stolen, nobody was going to give him anything near the $10,000 he demanded. Then he got angry because all the people who had been after him `were liars and cheats`. Eventually, he house was repossessed and the car disappeared a few weeks after he left.

    • Brian

      It probably landed at the local junkyard, if lucky, and a some people got a few parts off it before it got squashed and mailed to China.

  25. C Bryant

    Got a kick out of the reader that got nothing out of the first series Corvette. I’ve had a 53 and two 54s as well as one of the 68 L-88s 40 years ago(the 68 then) and I’ll take the 54s any day.One was Pennant blue and you really had crowd problems gathering around and had problems keeping your head getting too big for ya’.
    Sold a warehouse 35 years ago and at the time almost bought a Pantera at a great price but I put in a few calls and heard more then once that the early ones had a real wiring problem and don’t buy if it hadn’t been rewired.Did a 180.
    Ever ridden in a 6 cylinder Corvette with the top down and listen to the exhaust?Nothing like it.In half of the California traffic I’ve been in,you go the same speed as a Cobra(especially on the 405)

  26. Uve Benhad

    I used to get excited about the classic sitting outside…until I learned how much cars deteriorate sitting in the elements. Now I keeps my ears and eyes open for the garage finds. Seems to be working…got nearly 20 cars now.

  27. Brent

    Under these circumstances, I would have asked the seller what he paid for the car, and would have started with that as my offer. You can always go up from there (if the car warrants it).

  28. DougM Member

    I found a 64 Chevelle Malibu convertible, original SS, black with red interior. Kinda rough, but not much rust, no motor. I tried to buy it… the guy would not sell. I left him my card and one day about a year later I got a call. It was the owner, and he said, “Hey, if you still want this old convertible, come over and get it! I’m tired of looking at it, and I just want it gone!!…Free!!” Well, you can guess that it didn’t take me more than an hour to get over there and relieve this guy of his eyesore!! So, persistence and grit is what counts. You win some, you lose many, but the more cars you ask about, the closer you get to the one that works out!

    • scot

      ~ a good story and a good ending. i once saw an excellent ’63 Buick Skylark coupe in front of a favorite watering hole in Kirkwood, Mo. and left a note under the wiper. the reason was that i had a Skylark and Special, both convertibles, both 215cl aluminum Fireball V8s. my interest was forgotten since i didn’t see the car again until over 3 years later the lawyer for the owner’s estate called me. the deceased gentleman’s son had found my business card with my phone number among his dad’s effects. on his instructions the executor called and scheduled our meeting in the old guy’s garage where he sold me the very clean gold and black, sub-60k mile Buick and a mound of related ephemera for the huge sum of $750. i never considered offering less and only wish i would have met the original purchaser.

      • Koolpenguin

        Great story, but I’m more impressed that you dropped the word “ephemera” in your posting:)

      • scot

        ~ you are welcome, Koolpenguin.
        . it turned out to be quite a treasure trove of odd Buick literature, memorabilia and other things. it has led to a long, interesting fascination/obsession with the aluminum Fireball V8 and its long life in Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Rover, Land Rover, MG, Morgan, TVR, Triumph, Repco/Brabham race cars, and even Mickey Thompson’s stock-block Buick 215-powered 1962 Indianapolis 500 entry and 8th place qualifier, driven by rookie Dan Gurney.

  29. Jim C

    My neighbor that owned the Pantera said “this is not going to be a fire sale. I don’t need the money but I don’t have any time to put into this project. I’m going to get online and find out what market value is on this car and I will let you know”. I said ok and left it at that. I was more than willing to give him market value. I guess some of you guys are right about him not wanting to sell it to a neighbor. He either couldn’t stand seeing the car after restoration and kick himself in the behind for selling it to me or he didn’t want to crap in his own mess kit if there were many problems he hadn’t told me about and feared I would say something about it to him. Anyway, everything happens for a reason. I saw him at the grocery store day before yesterday and he wouldn’t even acknowledge my presence. I guess I will never know why and that’s fine. There are plenty of other cool cars out there for sale.

  30. krash

    …bittersweet stories, but I’ve enjoyed reading every one of them…not for the misfortune, but the memory lane discussion of past models…

    thanks to all

  31. Leo

    I have found that when trying to convince someone to sell a car that a stack of 100’s makes a convincing display. I never just “offer” without letting them see the green. Kind gets past the point of BS offers if ya know what I mean. Decide what it is worth and go wave the cash in front of them. More times than not the door gets opened. My in to lots of cars is a deal I have with the local natural gas man. He locates and txts me pictures and address :) . The rest is up to me and if a deal is made he gets moola in his pocket.

  32. Axel Caravias

    Maybe we should learn from the guys at Count Customs… Cash in hand and stalking the owners till they sell. lol

  33. Jeff V.

    At 15 years old walking to HS I spotted the backend of a car in a garage I thought was pretty cool, then it was covered. I was getting the itch bc I was getting my “learners permit” soon and held down 2 pt jobs. I saw the guy one day and he said it was for sale, how much? $500 and its yours, it took me about a month to pay him but then I had one of the fastest rides around school, a 67′ Mustang fastback GT390, this was in 75′. Only other car that was faster on the street was a fellow auto-shop class buddy in his 70 1/2 Z28 350LT1.

  34. ian @ jewelorjalopy.com

    Sometimes theses stories end well. I just bought a 60s Suburban panel truck that had been sitting for 20 years. The ownet finally decided he wasn’t going to restore it. Got a good deal and made a new friend. I also helped a friend buy an e-type Jag from an acquaintance who was ready to sell.

  35. Jackson

    He should have stepped up and made the man an offer. Obviously the owner didn’t really know the value or he would have named his price. The buyers hesitation in making him the offer cost him the car.

  36. Chuck G

    Next time this happens, do alittle home work on your own, find ouit what they are going for and make him an offer. All to often buyers are looking for a steal, and wait for the seller to low ball them an offer, Don’t be afraid to make him an honest offer. The car looks like a top notch car. He deserves a great offer. Skimppers lose. Honest buyers win out all the time.

  37. Brian C

    Years ago I heard a local bank had pulled the line of credit from a classic/exotic independent dealer I knew in the Dallas area, and that among other cars, they had a Pantera that they needed to liquidate. I went to the bank, and was quoted $15,000 for the car, I got the keys, and went out to look at and drive the car. It was a decent example in Red/black with some minor rocker panel rust, that appeared to have been previously repaired. I decided to buy it. When I went back in and said that would take it, they informed me that they had sold it for $13,500 to someone else who had looked at it before me,……………while I was out driving it. It was another independent dealer that they had sold it to, and I knew the guy,….so was a bit hacked off that they didnt wait to hear my full price offer,..(and that a guy I knew got it for less than I offered).

  38. Brian C

    On the other hand,……I did happen to be in the right place at the right time and bought a Superbird for $13,000. It was a lesser model,……Not a Hemi if I recall (is that possible on a Superbird?),…..and a friend of mine who was working at a local new car dealership in sales pried it away from me for a whopping $13,500. Wondering what that car is worth today?

  39. Nickh11

    Just Googled on pantera images and recognized this one. I am the one who bought this car. The owner would not say a price so I had to be the first. After I said the price he said I was really wanting xxx. He knew what he wanted just did not want to be the first to state a price. He countered I said ok and pulled out the cash. I let a corvette deal get away once. Now I buy them and deciderbl later if I really want it.

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