This week join us as we take a ride in Gary Corcoran’s prized De Tomaso Pantera along the mountain roads overlooking Los Angeles.
Back in 1980, Gary was a recent college graduate who just had landed his first professional job. The company’s employees were offered a $250 automobile allowance as a perk after three years of employment – and that presented some opportunities for a young enthusiast. Subsidized rides are a nice benefit to anyone, but especially so for people like Gary.
“I looked at a number of Corvettes, and I always loved exotic cars and looked at 246 Dinos,” Gary adds, “I actually came across [the Pantera] at a Ferrari dealership in Newport Beach while driving along Pacific Coast Highway.” Taken aback by the hard-edged and aggressive lines of the then-unknown car; he had to get a closer look to figure out who’d made the thing that caught his eye, and he promptly educated himself on the merits of the Pantera soon afterward.
Having built a few American muscle cars back in high school, the Pantera’s Ford-derived 351 Cleveland V8 and ZF gearbox meant Gary could handle maintaining the otherwise exotic mid-engine sports car with ease, and he hasn’t looked back since, stating, “Although I paid the same price – about $20,000 – that I could have spent on a 246 Dino, I’ve never regretted the decision, and today the Pantera enjoys a great increase in value and appreciation no matter where I go.”
Gary enjoyed his beloved car for years, but as we know, life manages to get in the way sometimes. If wanting fun cars is a disease, then marriage, kids, and career were the vaccines that kept Gary from succumbing to the plans he’d laid out for the Pantera. That’s a dramatic way to put it though, and eventually (after 20 years of ownership and a few thoughts of selling along the way) Gary was able to get some work done to his hibernating Pantera.
It began innocently enough. Gary brought his car to Don Byars at Full Throttle Panteras for some fresh paint and a few mechanical odds and ends, but that doesn’t seem to be Don’s style, so a full ground-up restoration resulted in the stunning red example shown here. Finally able to thoroughly enjoy – and share this enjoyment with his two lucky sons – this machine, Don knows it was worth waiting for.
“It’s really a joy to drive, not as a daily driver, but as a weekend toy it’s hard to beat the Pantera for the looks, the sound, and the handling,” explains Gary, “When I’m gone from this earth, I hope that my sons will continue to enjoy the car as much as I have and that it’ll stay in the family forever.