Elvis was a notorious hot head.
The De Tomaso Pantera is an Italian supercar with Ford engine. Frustrating many, this car was rushed to market, but was on the verge of greatness. Thanks to Ford rushing it to market, it was known as being a total lemon of a car. Elvis handled the car’s gremlins with fire power.
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Alejandro De Tomaso born in Argentina, fled after he was implicated in a plot to overthrow the Argentinian government, settled in Northern Italy. De Tomaso raced and started his own car company. Execs at Ford liked the car and pushed the leadership to collaborate, and it only took a year to make the Pantera.
In its own price class, had power windows, and air conditioning. Very different for its time, it rolled on 4-wheel IRS and got stopping power from disc brakes. Since it was billed as a higher end car under the Ford umbrella, it was sold through Lincoln dealerships.
The Pantera was known for having an awkward steering wheel that blocks the gauges, pedals are shifted towards the center so it’s hard to shift. The car had a tendency to overheat and vapor lock. Mechanics hated them, they were plagued by recalls and electrical issues, but they still had and have a loyal fan base. Awkward steering wheel that blocks the gauges, pedals are shifted towards the center so it’s hard to shift. The car had a tendency to overheat and vapor lock. That might be because it was powered by a 351 Cleveland - rated 310 hp due to emissions standards - and had a uniquely tuned exhaust that gave it a very distinct growl.
Elvis bought one used for $2,500 ($13000) to impress his girlfriend Linda Thompson. His career was sliding at the time, and he gained a reputation of being a hot head, famously shooting his tv because he didn’t like who was on it.
He was known for playing with guns, like shooting floating lightbulbs in his swimming pool, and even brought a gun into the oval office. After an argument with his girlfriend, he went to leave and the car wouldn’t start, this set him off. Elvis shot the car twice, one bullet ricocheted off the steering wheel into the windshield.
The car was sold by Elvis in 1976, of course we all know Elvis died a year later in 1977, and in 1981, the Pantera was traded for $300,000 worth of diamonds. Shortly after, it was sold to Robert Petersen, owner of the Petersen Museum where the car lives today.
"I was thrilled to get the Pantera," said Petersen. "Elvis' tantrums are well known and to have a vehicle associated with one of them makes our collection that much more special"