Good Investment

Long ago, Chris Kimball was watching the movie The Barefoot Executive, where the main character played by Kurt Russell received a DeTomaso Mangusta as a gift from his corporate boss. Chris was immediately drawn to it. "I had never seen a car so beautiful, and was frustrated when the movie only gave the gorgeous vehicle a few minutes of screen time," he says. Later he saw another DeTomaso creation in the movie Cannonball, where the featured Pantera was shown for more than just a moment carving up the street. That's when Chris knew he had to have one. He was only 16 when he saw the Pantera for the first time, so it would be quite a while before he could be responsible enough to own one.

He started out with an AMC Ambassador SST that he put his own touches on. The 360-inch motor may have burned some oil, but his parents were jealous because it was nicer than any of their cars! Once the gas crisis hit, Chris had to part with the car, but knew it couldn't last. In the meantime he built his career as a financial planner, and met his wife, who is a CPA.

It wasn't until 35 years later that he found the Pantera that haunted his dreams. "I decided it was time to stop wishing and fulfill the dream. Besides, a midlife crisis was way overdue!" Chris says. His two sons and Sebastian, the German exchange student who was staying with them, helped in the search. His CPA wife gave him permission to buy the car as long as he recorded every penny that went into it, even the car's wax.

When he brought it home it had a leaky gas tank. No big deal, right? Wrong. The entire rear axle had to be removed, so members of Pantera Northwest descended upon his garage and helped him with the fix. Since then, Chris has done a lot of work on the car, the coolest modification of the bunch was the trick gas filler. Originally, the Pantera's filler was 10 inches from the red-hot headers within the engine bay, so Chris relocated it to behind the C-pillar grille and used some junkyard parts to make it pop open from inside the cockpit. Chris has become more involved with the Pantera club-even being named president this year.

By The Numbers
1972 DeTomaso Pantera
Christopher V. Kimball, 50
University Place, WA
400 hp, 400 lb-ft of torque

Type: 408-inch 351 Cleveland
Block: Sonic tested iron
Oiling: Edelbrock pump
Cylinder heads: Edelbrock aluminum
Camshaft: COMP
Induction: Edelbrock high-rise manifold,
Holley 750-cfm carb
Ignition: MSD distributor, 6AL box
Cooling: Dakota Digital fan relays,
three fan system
Exhaust: Mindtrain headers and exhaust
Transmission/shifter: ZF five-speed manual
Rear axle: very short
Front suspension: factory coilovers, sway bar
Rear suspension: stock coilovers, sway bar
Brakes: Mustang rotors front, factory rear
Body: all steel
Paint: Cadillac dark green metallic
Wheels: 15-inch two-piece
Tires: 225/50R15 and 295/50R15 Toyo