[DeTomaso] Giaganto NOS and used parts score!
MikeLDrew at aol.com
MikeLDrew at aol.com
Tue Jun 16 12:20:11 EDT 2009
Have I got a story for you!
First of all, let me back up some 20 years. The day I brought my Pantera
home from Hall Pantera, after showing it to my parents, I drove it to a
nearby gas station. Imagine my surprise when on the way there, an absolutely
stunning, looks-like-new yellow '71 Pantera came burbling by in the other
direction! I flipped a U-turn and met the owner.
Turns out he lived only a block and a half away from me, and had just
purchased the car a few days earlier from his next-door neighbor. That fellow,
it turns out, had had that car since new and I had never seen it!
That fellow (named Steve) was a mechanic who worked with Jim Bell at Jim
Bell Engineering. A bit of further background is in order now.
Although there were numerous Lincoln-Mercury dealerships in the San
Francisco Bay Area that handled Panteras, only one really became specialized in
them. Much like Mayberry Lincoln-Mercury in southern California, Bell L-M
became *THE* go-to place for Pantera work in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Jim Bell later moved off on his own and formed Jim Bell Engineering, and
continued to work primarly on Panteras, with Steve as his right-hand man.
Among other things, they built the Round Table Pizza car which raced in the
Nor-Cal SCCA, and is now being brought back to life in Arizona.
Bell later drifted into the BMW camp, and eventually Steve got his entire
parts inventory. He sold some things right away (including a ZF gearbox)
but kept everything else under his house, even after he sold his Pantera in
Fast-forward to two weeks ago; I had my Pantera on display in the Shelby clu
b paddock at the Wine Country Motorsports vintage races, and this guy
walked up to me and told me that he used to own a Pantera many years ago, in San
Francisco. I put two and two together and determined that he was the same
fellow, still living just a block and a half from my mom's house. He
mentioned that he had 'some' leftover Pantera parts and asked if I'd be
interested in perhaps buying them?
Fast-fast-forward to yesterday; I had to take Fernando Bianchi to the
airport this morning, so we planned to crash at my mom's house the night before.
On a whim, I drove around the corner and pulled up in front of Steve's
house and knocked on the door. He led me around to a crawl space under his
house, and there I found a veritable Aladdin's Cave of Pantera parts!
He had boxes and boxes of stuff; inside the boxes were NOS Pantera parts
still in their original Ford boxes, some of them in multiple quantities.
Ammeters, window switches, turn signal lenses, doorhandles, trunk latches, ZF
parts, bumpers, wheels, interior trim pieces, little fiddly things like
repair kits for the window regulators, and on and on and on. There was some big
stuff too, including a pair of rear inner chassis rails, an NOS left side
lower wheel house repair panel (assembly 10671 from the Ford parts book), and
a complete NOS right side inner wheel house assembly, and I mean complete,
even including the brackets for the water tanks.
I needed absolutely nothing that he had, and of course wanted absolutely
everything. I had brought a fair bit of cash with me but had no idea how
much stuff he really had to sell, and thus I was more than a bit short.
Negotiations took place, a deal was struck, and Fernando and I went racing to the
nearby bank to extract cash from our respective accounts (since ATM limits
wouldn't allow me to draw enough cash to pay for everything myself).
And so it was that a few minutes later, we were frantically packing bits
and pieces into my Scirocco, for the short trek to my mom's house where it
would be stored until I could move it all home (yes, she's thrilled at the
prospect of boxes and boxes of dusty old Pantera parts filling her basement!)
I shot a few quick snaps of the first load with my cell phone camera; you
can see them here:
You can make out both of the inner chassis rails, the inner wheelhouse
repair panel, along with a seat and an original Pirelli CN73 tire mounted on a
'72 7-inch Campy wheel (which is already sold BTW). There's also a photo of
the outside of the inner wheel house assembly (sitting upside down and
leaning against the side of my Scirocco).
I brought one load home with me this morning; it will take me awhile to get
the rest this stuff home. I have to put my 4x8 trailer behind my other
Scirocco and go back down there to fetch the rest, which I won't be able to do
until early next month since I'm leaving for Afghanistan again on Thursday.
Once I have catalogued and photographed everything, I'll post a full
listing of all the parts and my asking prices and let you guys get first crack at
it. After awhile, I'll then put the rest on E-bay.
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