cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Bryan
Hagerty Employee

Piston Slap: Of Panther Love and resto-modifications

Benjamin writes:

 

Dear Sajeev,

I have spent many hours devouring information on Panther Love of all kinds from your columns and former colleagues, so I wanted to write for two reasons:

  1. Thank you more than you know, for reminding me there are many others with Panther Love. I’m entering my 30s, and I really have no use for the cheap, tiny, modern cars. I first owned a beater ’99 P71 that didn’t even have cruise control. I don’t wish for another vehicle except the venerable Crown Vic P71. I now own a 2008 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor in a beautiful Arizona Beige. It has cruise control.
  2. God willing, you’ve rather inspired me to see how long I can maintain my Panther. It was the administrative vehicle for the county sheriff. I bought it at 104,000 miles for $4000 some years ago. As of now, it has 188,600 easy miles and 346 idle hours, 3.27.1 rear axle ratio, limited slip diff, original steel rims, with very little rust or road vibration. Other than a new alternator and a re-soldered gauge cluster, nothing has gone wrong. No wrecks. Haven’t needed to replace the brakes or shocks yet. Beautiful paint with a few gravel chips and a near-spotless interior. It burns the top half-quart of oil off (but stays only a half-quart low) unless I spring for the full-synthetic high mileage oil (I do, and Bosch D3410 filters to boot). Any tips for long term preservation, resto-modding, and use? I’m not mechanically inclined, so I would be paying people for repairs and upgrades, but I hope to see it outlive me. As you said, “… What kind of Lover considers open-mindedness regarding Panther Love? You, as a Crown Victoria owner, are a stubborn traditionalist with a nearly xenophobic reaction to non body-on-frame platforms. You remain as ‘unmodified’ as the Panther since 1979: toe the autojourno’s line!”

Sajeev answers: 

Hi Benjamin, I thank you for your recognition of my dogged efforts promoting the Panther chassis, and for your personal dedication to the cause at a young age. I mean, we rarely hear about people like you! So let’s marinate on this, while we take a pause for the cause.

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com:

https://www.hagerty.com/media/advice/piston-slap/piston-slap-of-panther-love-and-resto-modifications...

 

12 REPLIES 12
Guitar74
Gearhead

I like the Panther Chassis. I think they are a very overlooked platform that is capable of performance AND comfort. Wave your freak flag high and enjoy it. I think they are a great car.

Ben7213
New Driver

I get all kinds of comments from friends who all drive tiny cars or crossovers. They trade off performance or comfort, and here I am rolling around in huge, safe luxury that can also take a few dents if needed.
DavidHolzman
Detailer

Sajeev, this is the first time I've read about Panther love probably in 7-8 years, since you were preaching it on ttac. Now, Panther love isn't my thing, although I certainly can understand it--I happily drive a Civic with a stick, a car which makes errands a joy for me because I get to drive it! Benjamin should read my article about Irv Gordon and his 3 million mile Volvo P1800 for inspiration, edited--lightly!--by Hagerty's own Jack Baruth, back in the days when he worked for some other outlet, and I wish Benjamin similar longevity for his Panther. Among other things, it gives me pleasure to think that people might actually still be driving in the 2070s.

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/the-man-for-whom-they-made-the-three-million-mile-badge/

 

Ben7213
New Driver

David, while I have a bad (good?) case of Panther Love, I also share the joy of a manual transmission (usually on diesel trucks). As it turns out, since I wrote Sajeev for this column, which he so kindly shared, I need a new set of brakes. So buy a nice set and only buy once for the remainder of the lifetime of the car. Brembo does it with the Corvette ... and I'm thinking Raybestos Police may do it for the CVPI. Ah the joys of pad/rotor shopping. Ceramic or semi-metallic? Plain, fluted, drilled, or fluted and drilled rotors?

 

I will gladly read the article about the Volvo!

 

Ben7213
New Driver

As a note, I've been considering the LED lighting upgrade myself, using turn signals with built-in resistors. No splicing, and no mucking about with the LCM. Eventually, every light. The rest of those upgrades are ... long term plans. I drool over the parts at ADTR.net .

Sajeev
Community Manager

Get turn signals from a major lighting manufacturer, though.  Without a quality design people can't tell between the low glow of your parking/marker light and the flash of the brighter light. Especially from 10+ feet away as a funny angle in bad weather...when you need people to know your intentions before it's too late. You get what you pay for here. 

Ben7213
New Driver

Sajeev, I've been eyeing GTR lighting. 1200 lumens per switchback bulb! Also $70 per bulb. 😬

Sajeev
Community Manager

I have heard that name before, I still wonder how they'd look in a lense assembly in the middle of the night, in a rain storm, and at a funny angle from 20 feet away. The Sylvania ZEVOs are just like a new car's LED system (even though they are still not-street legal technically)
Ben7213
New Driver

I remember something else. I seem to hear lots of Panther owners complaining about constantly broken parts or faulty sensors. And yet ... these same people either drive Panthers that were beaten to death, or they beat their own Panthers to death, in pursuit of the almighty modded status. The ones that seem to do best are, quite naturally, driven conservatively, kept relatively stock, and well-maintained. Do you think good-quality Panthers might appreciate some day? 

Sajeev
Community Manager

I think they will, it's already hard to find clean ones and they aren't going for dirt cheap any more at government auctions. They aren't gonna appreciate like a 90s Toyota Supra Turbo, but the trend is starting. 

 

And yes the ones that complain like that likely bought an abused one, have no idea how to diagnose an engine code fault (and are throwing parts at a problem), or they are getting screwed by a mechanic.  

luv2fly2
Intermediate Driver

I didn't realize you were a CVPI fan, Sajeev. I'm on my 5th. Just kept buying and selling till I got the one I wanted - a 2010 GA. detective's car with SAP, cloth 50/50 bench, tint and dark blue paint. Pretty car. A daily driver - cheap to maintain, reliable, and easy to work on. The only mod I've done is to replace the "Cop shocks" and springs with civilian versions after much part number searching and matching(thanks RockAuto). My handling requirements no longer include chipped teeth and the hog trails they call streets in this town were beating me and the car to death. So now, more sporty civilian CV and less hardcore police. A great long distance cruiser now. Nothing else competes and they are handsome cars too. And even with the Street Appearance Package, the street cred and "presence" remains. I don't mind that bit.
The only complaint I've had is the broken or soon to be broken exhaust manifold studs. Not fun. And cheap to repair - the springs and shocks were less than $250. That won't touch even one corner on my other cars.
Great article again and I'll have to go back and find your other articles on the Panther.
Long live "Panther Love".
Sajeev
Community Manager

Long live Panther Love indeed. I am glad to hear you love all the great things that make a Panther a Panther, too!