[DeTomaso] Pantera Top Speeds

Darryl Johnson johnsondarr at hughes.net
Fri Nov 23 15:55:06 EST 2012

Never posted to this forum before so if no one gets this but David in
Durango maybe he can forward or supply a response.

I've run the Mojave Mile at the first four events. I can tell you that I
have many timing slips showing 174 to 178 mph. However, my best time was my
very first ever run at the very first Mojave Mile. I did 183 mph with a
decent tail wind and perfect cold low pressure conditions. However, since I
was supposed to be doing my "qualification" run of no more than 165 mph the
staff wouldn't let me keep the timing slip. In fact they weren't real happy
that my qualifying run was way over the 165 mph mark. I guess my adrenaline
and inexperience had my right foot clamped to the floor and didn't let up
until well through the timing zone at the end of the mile. Since I know the
team at MKM and they like the Pantera as a crowd pleaser they forgave me and
allowed me to continue at their events. MKM has since changed that policy
and let a friend of mine in a modified (improved) NASCAR T-bird bust out and
still gave him the timing slip.

All subsequent runs that day and at three other mile events had roughly the
same timings as mentioned before, 174 to 178 mph in the standing mile. I can
tell you that my configuration of engine, trans and aero has kept me in that
mph zone to the point that until I make a change I'm stuck. Basically, I'm
running a big block Ford (545 ci) with dual plane intake and QFT 950 CFM
carb, Hoosier R6's (345 35 18's in rear) on 18" Forgeline's. The ZF is
modified with a 3.77 ring & pinion and a tall .064 fifth gear. I've also run
smaller rear tires with Toyo TR888's in 335 30 18 with slightly less top
speed (several runs at 172 to 174). On the dyno I run 557 HP w/610 ft/lbs of
torque at the rear wheels.

Given the above I hit top speed at about 7/8th (guessing) of a mile and then
drive through the end max'd out or flat out at the above mentioned trap
speeds. Basically, I am under torqued or not enough horsepower at the top
end of the curve. I make most of the power with my dual plane intake and
heads (Edelbrock aluminum SCJ heads) in the 3,500 to 4,500 rpm range. I need
that moved way higher in the RPM range to 3,500 to 6,000 RPM. With new John
Kaase P51 heads and an updated cam and single plane manifold I should do
that easily and run 750 HP at the crank. I estimate that with these mod's I
would run in the high 180's to low 190's. I would move most HP development
up in the top end of the RPM range - 3,500 to 6,000. To sum up my issue,
just when I need the most HP or torque mine is tipping over and dropping off
and my torque multiplication from the ZF is at its lowest. Getting to 200
MPH in one mile takes most car's depending on AERO efficiency 800 to 1000
HP. I believe each time I've run I was the fastest normally aspirated car
competing beating all Corvettes, etc. that had no power adder. However, Twin
Turbo Ford GT's RULE AT MOJAVE at 226 mph or better. All standard or stock
Ford GT's (a friend has one there) can only get into 5th and low to mid
190's. Mile and a half "Magnum" mile's they get to 6th and 204 to 206 mph. A
friend, Ron Wade may bring his Twin Turbo Saleen S7 and see what he can do
next spring.

Aero for my car is not good. While the Pantera's frontal image from an aero
perspective is quite good (small w/low drag co-efficient) I have a widened
car (10 in. in the back) with a wing, front chin spoiler and side scoops.
Bottom line is that the car is dirty from an aero viewpoint. If I get
serious or near 200 MPH I'll remove the wing and scoops. The chin spoiler is
in steel and molded into the front. At top speed the car was stable as a
rock and needed no effort or special handling to go straight down the track
at high speed. Very calm and stable. Next stage or step is working to find a
reasonable way to "belly pan" the car and build a rear diffuser. Problem is
the Pantera is real dirty underneath w/stuff handing down or unevenly
placed, etc especially mine with front and rear cross bracing being the
lowest points.

Darryl Johnson

-----Original Message-----
From: detomaso-bounces at realbig.com [mailto:detomaso-bounces at realbig.com] On
Behalf Of David in Durango
Sent: Friday, November 23, 2012 11:10 AM
To: panteras
Subject: [DeTomaso] Pantera Top Speeds

Hi kids,

Shortly after acquiring my Pantera, I caught the "salt fever."  I have
followed this aspect quite closely for some years.

Jack's summary (quoted below) is quite accurate, and I can only add a few
"facts" . . . .

1) I was never quite sure of the powerplant in the Bloomberg car: destroked
cleveland or boss 302?  dunno.  Met one of the Bloomberg fellows - nice
folks and they have done us proud.

2) The Carapi / Holgersson effort on the salt.  As I remember it, Holgersson
finally clocked a 219ish run, but Carapi thought he could do better.  Carapi
did log a 223 (?) or maybe a 221ish but spun the car at that speed and the
effort ended.  It takes some attachments to go for a ride like that!

3) When I had my Kirkham, I found a listing (craigslist?) for a black
Pantera-ish car.  It sounded a LOT like Junior's car so I called on it - the
listed asking price being close to the value of my Kirkham.  I reached a
son-in-law to be and we talked a short while.  I was given a phone number
and Junior Wilson himself answered the phone.  We talked for about an hour -
the bottom line being Jr. wanted the Kirkham and two wheelbarrows full of $.

During the conversation we did discuss some of the urban legends
surrounding Jr. and his Silver State adventures.  One of my favourite urban
legends was a night run near Las Vegas to see if the car would pull redline
in fifth gear.  It did.  Jr. thought the car would now allow a 200+mph
average at the Silver State.  When I asked him what the car was geared for
and he answered: "F&*$king 260."  No documentation for sure, but an
interesting hour with a Pantera legend.

4) DJ's big block car has run 172 or so in the standing mile (documented)
but I'm not sure what gears he runs.

That's what we know, for now.

David in Durango
Veni, Vidi, Veloce

"Junior Wilson's elephant-block Panteras went well over 200 many times. He 
once held the unofficial Silver State Open Road Race 'record' for rear-tire 
blowouts above 200 mph without injury or significant damage to the car, at 
six. But sadly, he never made it to Muroc Dry Lake or Bonneville to set 
official records All his exploits were on public highways, most during
open road events 'recorded' with radar guns.

Jr built at least three cars, and as time went on the machines became 
progressively more modified. One iteration that crashed and broke his leg
and arm 
(yet another blown rear tire, it's said) looked more like a Group B 
roadracer than a Pantera in spite of the stock tail lights. In that monster
he told 
me in a shakedown run he'd once touched the tach's redline in 5th on the 
interstate south of Las Vegas very early one morning. With his modified ZF &

tires, that would be 265 mph! With 4" dia open exhausts on a 572" Boss 429
6000 rpm, it must have sounded terrifying. He said he only passed two 
cars.... whose drivers probably needed fresh underwear afterwards.

After three tries, in 2003 Al Bloomberg came from WA to set an official 
Bonneville D/GT record with a destroked 299" Boss 302 in a pushbutton
209.227 (8800 rpms in 5th gear with a stock ZF!) The only mods to the car 
were small front tires, tall rears, 300 lbs of lead in the front trunk plus
pronounced fwd rake, 7 degrees of caster and NASCAR roof rails. An air-dam 
and deck spoiler would have helped but would also force them them to switch 
out of the stock body class. In 2006, Al ran the D/GT record to 209.958 
(one-way at 211.196) still with a destroked Boss 302, now running three full

miles at 9000 rpms in 5th. Then he retired the Pantera as the World's

Bjorn Carapi and Kjell Holgersson came from Sweden twice with a radical 
big-block Chev-powered Pantera (record in A/GT is 250 and change). They got 
close in 2006 but no record (I don't remember the speed). No DeTomaso to my 
knowlege has run Bonneville since. It is a MAJOR money-pit. FWIW- J Deryke"

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