1974 DeTomaso Pantera
By 1974, I'd sold the Corvette but I still had a hankering for a 2-seater. What I really wanted was a Ferrari Dino 246GT but the 18(ish) thousand dollars they were selling for in 1974 was outside my budget. They were scarce as hell, too. And, according to my mechanic, they were a beast to maintain. Like at 15,000 miles you have to drop the engine for servicing. His suggestion - if I really wanted an Italian sports car - was to buy a DeTomaso Pantera.
The Pantera was a mid-engine sports car for the masses. It was sold in the United States by Ford's Mercury division, but it was built in Italy by Alejandro DeTomaso. The car came with a Ford 351 Cleveland engine which meant that nearly any decent mechanic could service the mechanicals. And the list price on them was $9,995. As my friend Jonathan Deak would say, "Such a deal. Oy."
So one sunny day, I trotted over to a local Mercury dealer in Norwalk, CT who had one on the floor. It was black-on-black with a 4-speed transmission and it had used by the dealer's wife. With barely 5,000 miles on the odometer, they were asking $9,600 for it. I offered them $9,200 on the spot and they took the offer. I went home that night with plans to pick the car up 2 days later after it had been cleaned, serviced and registered.
The next day I got a phone call from the salesman who had sold me the car. One of the other salespeople in the dealership had placed an ad in the Dallas Morning News Sunday edition (without telling anyone), and on Monday morning when the dealership opened, someone called and bought the car over the phone from the other salesman. Sight unseen. Now, the problem for the dealership was that I was already the owner of the car. I just hadn't picked it up yet. So my salesman asked me if there was any way I would be willing to sell the car back to them so the other salesman could make the deal. I told him yes. For $10,200.
This isn't a photo of my car. At least I don't think it is. But it might be. It was recently for sale in Dallas, TX.