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  1. #1

    Pantera vs Viper Driving Experience

    My eye is wandering again...since 2005 I've switched cars from a 1967 mustang fastback, to a 2012 Dodge Challenger 392, and finally to my 1996 GTS B/W Viper. I wish I had the finances to have a garage of 5 cars but I don't have the finances or space. So I'm limited to 1, perhaps 2 weekend cars. So far the Viper has been my favorite. To me it blends the muscle and racing history of the 1960's with just enough of today's technology to keep it a raw driving experience with better performance and reliability. Ever since I bought these cars and taken them to cars and coffees the early 1970's DeTomaso Panteras have always caught my attention every time I see them.
    So...has anyone in this forum owned both a GenII Viper and a Pantera? If so could you share your thoughts on which of the two you enjoyed owning and driving more.

  2. #2
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    I have had an eye on Panteras for many years but I can't say I have ever own or even driven one. But years ago I did do some research on them. From what I uncovered is that the car in it's stock form leaves a little to be desired. Cooling would be one thing but there are quite few other issues the plague them as well. Very prone to rust if memory serves me. Of course there are fix's available out there. Anything can, with enough time and money can be over come. Well sorted cars are at a premium and one must remember your dealing with a 45 year old vehicle that was limited production to begin with. Still a very cool looking car and I would love to add one to my stable.
    2000 GTS built/Paxton:Sold
    2013 GTS
    2010 SRT10 Coupe

  3. #3
    Yes I saw that episode with Jay Leno. It was very informative and going along the lines with what MadMachinist said about stock form having cooling and rust issues. For reliability, it would have to be fuel injected and come with upgrades done by a previous owner. As far as parts availability, surprisingly it seems as if all parts are available according to the Leno episode. Which is not the case with our Vipers. Mad Machinist your right they are not cheap. For a car in which all the kinks have been sorted out they are going for 75k to 120K. I would love to keep my Viper and add a Pantera. But with the price of the Panteras I think it's one or the other. The Viper is unique and has been so much fun to drive and own so the Pantera would have to check these categories with higher marks.

  4. #4
    Enthusiast GTS Dean's Avatar
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    I think Bob Woodhouse was auto-xing Panteras in the 80's and early 90's until his CPD store started getting Vipers. Bill Pemberton can probably share some insights since they had a lot of track time together.
    96 GTS. Viper Days Modified Class. Fresh motor 10-2020!

  5. #5
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    Desert Venom Racer's Avatar
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    Yep, I purchased a 72 Pantera back in 1978. It felt as fast as my 96 GTS, but it did have engine modifications. Handled very well with its low center of gravity and mid-engine mount. Very loud and warm inside the cockpit. As stated above, they were notorious for rust problems in the rear frame. I had a Pantera expert inspect the car after I purchased it and he said it had some of the worst rust he had seen. Not something that was obvious to my untrained eye. I sold it after a couple of years as I did not have the budget to fix. Doing it over again, I would definitely get a pre-purchase inspection by an expert.
    Washed-up Viper pilot.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Venom Racer View Post
    Yep, I purchased a 72 Pantera back in 1978. It felt as fast as my 96 GTS, but it did have engine modifications.
    So after having driven both the Pantera and 96 GTS, is there one you would pick over the other? Assuming the Pantera had mechanical/cosmetic issues sorted out.

  7. #7
    I have owned 2, 1972 Pre- L Panteras. The last one I owned for 25 years and sold several years ago. I love these cars. The styling is timeless, the mid-engine and low center of gravity make for great handling. And performance even in stock configuration is very good, and being a Ford 351 Cleveland open to all kinds of modifications. Parts availability is still very good with lots of venders producing correct replacement parts and oodles of 21st century upgrades. Body panels are becoming harder to find but still out there. And yes, Panteras like all Italian cars of this time period are/were prone to rust issues. Including all body panels, suspension and subframe attachments. Most of the worst cases are long since scrapped. But every once in a while, one of these rust buckets shows up for sale. And would cost far more to repair (if even possible) than the car’s actual restored value. Overheating issues with the early cars were sorted out, and no worse than any car if properly maintained. The cars actually are very reliable, with only the problems of any soon to be 50-year-old car. British and French electrics are occasionally problematic but simple to repair and upgrade. Working on the motor with the distributor up under the firewall is not fun, and not great for senior bodies. Access to the water pump and harmonic balancer and more can be done through a panel accessed inside the passenger compartment. My 95 RT is much easier to access and work on. But the Pantera has zero computers to worry about.

    As far as comparing it to a GTS, I cannot help you here. But I will tell you that even with a statistically much faster RT Viper my Pantera with only minor performance mods seemed quicker, and better handling. The Viper just feels bulkier. This is just my seat of the pants driving impression.

    I miss the hell out of my Pantera, and have considered buying it back from the current owner. But it or any Pantera of a pristine condition will, cost $100K or more. So, I have actually been looking for a 96/97 BW GTS. I will still keep the 95 RT as I thoroughly enjoy the “roadster” experience. And basically have 2 Vipers for the price of one Pantera.

    And I forgot to mention it, there is a great network of Pantera owners across the country all very eager to help with any issues. You being in Cali this is the most active group of owners. Many having tech days to actually perform repairs for the mechanically challenged.

  8. #8
    GA-Viper I was hoping you would reply. I had seen you post a reply about insuring our cars on another Viper forum and you mentioned your Pantera. Very insightful info regarding ownership. Yes from what I have been reading there's a solid network of Pantera owners in my area. There's a Pantera shop/dealer about 45 minutes from my house I think I will visit and hopefully test drive one. Or I can be patient and wait for my 96 B/W GTS to go up in value and then replace it with a Pantera if I end up preferring it over the Viper.
    Thank you Viper community.

  9. #9
    VOA Mamba Member
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    Easy choice for me; Viper GTS all day long.
    Washed-up Viper pilot.

  10. #10
    I’ve owned and tracked both. I ran my Pantera about a decade and I’ve been running my Viper almost 10 years. My Pantera was a 74 and my Viper is a 97. I track maybe 8-10 times a year. It’s really an apple to orange comparison. The Panera was archaic when it came out in 1970. My Pantera would beat you to death after a weekend at the track. The heat in the car was horrible. The water lines ran through the center of the car to the radiator in front. I always tried to be last on grid because I’d cook in the car at idle.
    The 351 was a grenade waiting to blow. There were several modifications you had to do running external links oil lines to keep it alive. The linkage to the ZF was another bunch of adjustments that had to be constantly fiddled with. I never hurt my transaxle but I was careful and religious with fluid changes. I ran the aluminum heads from Australia and a Parker Funnel web I think it was called. The engine was very sexy when you popped up the rear deck. Parts had to come from Utah or California and engine parts came from Australia.
    I remember going to meet other Pantera guys and always being amazed that none of our cars were square.
    After every weekend there would be an endless list of things to fix. The quality was what you would get on a 60’s Fiat. The welding on the one side of the car didn’t match the other side.
    On the plus side of things my lap time were fairly close to what my Viper does now. The P car was about 2950 lbs. and probably an honest 425 hp with a broad and flat torque curve.
    My Viper is a limousine in comparison. There’s no drama, it’s much cheaper to run, there’s good support from our vendors, you can get parts at an Autozone and if I ever run out of talent or luck at the track I’ll be driving myself home. I do miss my Pantera. The guy who bought it from me still has it. I’d buy it back if he ever decides to part with it.

  11. #11
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    I would have to say that the Pantera is an extremely beautiful lady , but she wanted a lot of attention, alot of attention. Bob Woodhouse did numerous things to his over the years and many of the issues he fixed , modified or completely rebuilt ( he had doors on the car that felt like they weighed less than a coffee can ). All that said , it was hard for him to send off this Italian starlet , but once he got his new 96 GTS mistress , Miss Pantera was just left on the garage apartment, ha. Years later , after racing the GTS, then numerous Comp Coupes and acquiring a few new Gen Vs before settling on his current one , there is no doubt the Pantera will live in his mind as one of the first girls he kissed, but he has been able to do so much more with the Vipers !

    Oh, and by the way since Bob W. used the Pantera and the GTS to autocross prior to going road racing, and he was immediately much quicker in the Snake that it made it hard for him to go back to the Pantera ---- and off it went to California.

    End result, if you want a motoring mistress that fully satisfies and doesn't need constant attention, keep the GTS --- and she will likely be worth more in the future too!
    Retired and time to get back on track ---literally!

  12. #12
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    I believe I raced with Bob with the Pantera Club at the Track in Parhump. I believe it was
    RED ? It was fun racing with the Panteras in my Gen 1.
    1996 Nextel CupCar FS
    2003 Comp Coupe FS

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Pemberton View Post
    I would have to say that the Pantera is an extremely beautiful lady , but she wanted a lot of attention, alot of attention. Bob Woodhouse did numerous things to his over the years and many of the issues he fixed , modified or completely rebuilt ( he had doors on the car that felt like they weighed less than a coffee can ). All that said , it was hard for him to send off this Italian starlet , but once he got his new 96 GTS mistress , Miss Pantera was just left on the garage apartment, ha. Years later , after racing the GTS, then numerous Comp Coupes and acquiring a few new Gen Vs before settling on his current one , there is no doubt the Pantera will live in his mind as one of the first girls he kissed, but he has been able to do so much more with the Vipers !

    Oh, and by the way since Bob W. used the Pantera and the GTS to autocross prior to going road racing, and he was immediately much quicker in the Snake that it made it hard for him to go back to the Pantera ---- and off it went to California.

    End result, if you want a motoring mistress that fully satisfies and doesn't need constant attention, keep the GTS --- and she will likely be worth more in the future too!
    I just ran across this, Bill you summed it all up perfectly, as noted here, the styling and design of a Pantera is timeless, beautiful, and even after that 8 years of doing upgrades to her, that 96 GTS was its master.
    Bob Woodhouse

  14. #14
    Enthusiast GTS Dean's Avatar
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    I'm very glad you stopped by to comment Bob! See you at the track.
    96 GTS. Viper Days Modified Class. Fresh motor 10-2020!


 

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