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Pantera vs Viper Driving Experience

Discussion in 'RT/10 and GTS Discussions' started by Victor96, Nov 15, 2020.

  1. Victor96

    Victor96 Enthusiast

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    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. GA- Viper

    GA- Viper Enthusiast

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2020
  3. wkooiman

    wkooiman Enthusiast

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    I currently have 3 fun cars - 98 GTS, 65 427 Cobra replica, and a 72 Pantera.

    The Pantera is amazing. It is very fast. It topped out at 160mph in 1974 (road tests), and that was with a stock 351C. Mine has aluminum heads, cam, 4" crank, Dart block, so to be honest, I don't really know how fast it is. It is comfortable. I recently did a 3,500 mile road trip. It averaged 18-20mpg. I know - gas mileage shouldn't be a big deal, but it shows the car is efficient. They handle like they're on rails.

    Maintenance can be a problem if you don't do the work yourself. You don't want to pay a mechanic to educate himself on these cars. For instance, the rear wheel bearings are sealed ball bearings. They're easy to change, if you know how. If you don't, you'll be scratching your head. Fortunately, the Pantera clubs are great. No matter what's wrong, someone knows how to fix it. All parts are available - as long as you're not trying to do a concours restoration.

    Mine was my only car for about 8 years. I had a 98 Mustang Cobra that I never drove, so I sold it. I commuted from Houston to Dallas every week for a long time.

    Lots of options on upgrades too. For instance, stock wheels are magnesium by Campagnolo, but they are only 7x15, 8x15, or 10x15. So, you can't fit big brakes, and you can't buy the better tires. But there are very nice aluminum copies of the Campys in 17" and 18".

    I bought mine for $20K, but that was 20 years ago. About 10 years ago, you could still find nice drivers for $35K. Now it's closer to $50-60K - and that's just for a nice driver.

    Spend the money to get a nicer car. There are lots of little things to fix, but the fixes are pretty easy. But don't buy a rusty car. They had heavy undercoating from the factory, so if you see a rusty car, it had a bad life - like parked in the grass under a tree or under water during a hurricane, etc.
     
  4. Victor96

    Victor96 Enthusiast

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    Great list of fun cars! If I had the funds those would be my three cars as well. They all have history that ties them all together. Fortunately, there's a shop about 45 minutes away from me that works only on Panteras.
    Is there one you tend to gravitate to more from your three cars?
    Thank you both for the great info.
     
  5. JBD

    JBD Enthusiast

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    I had a 72 pre-L for eight years. I had new rocker panels welded in (rusty) and upgrades on the cooling fans and controls.(fan motor bearings failed) Otherwise a fun tight car. moved to 94 Viper for eight years, then 2004 for the last sixteen years. Wife not hot on the idea of 2014 Viper so I still have the 04. Definite power and top speed advantage with viper. I liked the mid engine on the Pantera and told myself that if an American company made an "affordable" mid engine (I lusted after the Ford GT in 05/06 and the latest GT version, but they are out of reach for me). I put a deposit on the new corvette (I had seven of them 68 to 79 models back in the back in the 80's) in November 2019 and still can't get a confirmation date on the progress of my order. I will keep the Viper.
     
  6. wkooiman

    wkooiman Enthusiast

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    I like my cars for different things. The Cobra is very nice when the weather is nice, and especially at night with the stars out. It's not so fun in the rain. It's like a 4-wheel motorcycle with 500hp. The Viper is my daily driver, and I love it. The Pantera is just different - hard to describe - short hood, very low, handles like a go-kart, feels like an old, all metal car.

    Picking a favorite is like picking a favorite kid.
     
  7. MoparMap

    MoparMap VCA National President Venom Member

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    This is very true for me as well. My 3 cars are all pretty wildly different. My first car was a 71 Vette that I'm trying to keep "original" in the sense of stock style parts with only limited upgrades. No real engine or suspension mods, maybe just better quality replacement stuff like silicone gaskets and some poly bushings here and there. It's really more of a boulevard cruiser and I really do love the way it looks. It's fun enough to drive, but not really something I want to beat on. It's also my only automatic transmission. The next is a 67 Dart that is my experimental car that I do anything and everything to. I bought it with a 318, a 4 speed, a 7 1/4 rear end, and almost no real interior. It's since had the interior almost entirely replaced or refurbished, gen 1 Viper seats installed, a 5.7 Hemi put in under the hood, an 8 3/4 rear end swapped in, a Viper T56 installed, and converter to fuel injection (put a carb on the Hemi originally because I didn't have the money to do a high pressure fuel system the way I wanted back when I was doing this in college). I've also pretty much completely rewired it with a scrap harness I got from work so I have a modern sealed firewall bulkhead connector and quality wire. New terminals on basically every connector too so I make good contact with everything. I've also made a small secondary digital dash/infotainment system out of a Raspberry Pi that sits under the dash and am hoping to finally put A/C in it one of these days. Then I've got the 04 Viper that is more or less my daily driver. It's the modern race car that is everything the old cars aren't and handles like a dream with power to spare for days.

    My favorite is whatever car I happen to be driving at the time. I love the way the Vette looks and I like the classic driving experience (not that I was alive when it was new, lol). It was also my first car so it will always be special. I love the Dart for all the work I've put into it and the pride I get when everything is still working. It's a great cruiser and fun to wind up in straight lines and gives me a little mix of that classic driving experience with a modern powerplant. The Viper is unparalleled in performance compared to the other two and is wildly fun to really wind up and enjoy. I can throw it around corners and goose the throttle with full confidence it will do what I want and hold together. Each one is great in its own way and is my favorite when I'm behind the wheel, though they can also be frustrating at times too, lol.
     
  8. Victor96

    Victor96 Enthusiast

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    Well that settles it. I'm keeping my Viper and saving my pennies for a Pantera. They're just both great cars in their own way. Thank you all for the great feedback and insight.
     
  9. ViperY05

    ViperY05 Enthusiast

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    I own a 1974 Pantera GTS, chassis number 003 and one of only 85 exported to the US. I also own a 1972 Pre-L Pantera that is currently undergoing restoration I also own a Gen 3, 2005 Viper. The 2005 Viper is my third. My first was an original 1992 and the second was a 1996.

    I love all three of these especially the Viper. The 74 GTS has the 351 Cleveland and Weber Carburetors and is a lot of fun to drive and fast. Both Pantera's are Ground Pounders and turn heads or draw a crowd when ever parked or at a show.

    The 72 that I am restoring is going to be the best of both worlds when completed. It will be more of a Resto-Mod. I have adapted the 2005 Dodge Viper dash, console and some of the Interior into the Pantera. I am replacing the 351 Cleveland with a Roush "R Code" 4.6Litre DOHC Engine that is off the DINO at 525HP. Other than the Ricaro seats the interior will be all Viper. the Brakes are Brimbo with all aluminum billet suspension and dual adjustable coil over shocks. Special body modification aerodynamics. The instruments are all AutoMeter adapted to the original Viper instrument panel and center console. There are many more feature that I have incorporated in the restoration which will make it a truly one of a kind and will definately turn some heads when completed.

    Anyone interested in some pictures of the progress send me an email and i will send them to you.
     
  10. Victor96

    Victor96 Enthusiast

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    Anyone interested in some pictures of the progress send me an email and i will send them to you.[/QUOTE]
    PM sent.
     

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