1971 DeTomaso Pantera ‘ADRNLN’ by Ringbrothers

Imagine for a moment that the 2013 SEMA show was transformed into a high school cafeteria.

The Mustangs, Camaros, Chevelles and Novas would be the cool kids, flexing their muscles and throwing a football back and forth while the girls swooned over them. The Hyundai Genesis Coupes and the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZs would be the geeks, wiping off their glasses as they rewire their ECUs. The Jeeps and lifted/baja/prerunner trucks would be the band geeks, a tightly-knit group who knows that all they’ve got is each other.

Then you have the DeTomaso Pantera. While it came with a big V8 engine and was sold in Ford Dealerships, this car doesn’t fit in with the rest of the crowd. It is closer to an exotic car than a muscle car. Its mid-engine layout, low production numbers, and premium price tag place it in a different social class from the other cars.  At a show like SEMA, the Pantera is something of a misfit.

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1985 Renault 5 Turbo II Rally Car

In an earlier post about the Lotus Cortina I explained the idea of homologation – whereby manufacturers must build and sell a minimum number of cars to the public in order to qualify as a “production car.” Here we have another example of a factory-built race car that was sold to the public, and this one is even more extreme.

It’s called the Renault 5 Turbo II and like many of the cars I have covered recently, this is another rare specimen from Cars and Coffee. So what’s the deal with this car, and how did it come to be?

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1967-1971 DeTomaso Mangusta

When I was a kid, there was a show on TV called “Before They Were Stars.” The show looked at popular celebrities to see what they were like before they became famous. Some of them had humble careers working in menial jobs for low wages – and of course, they would always dig up an embarrassing high school yearbook photo.

In the same way, most car enthusiasts have heard of the DeTomaso Pantera, the Ford-powered, Italian-styled, mid-engine sports car from the 1970s. Before DeTomaso hit it big with the Pantera, they tested the waters with a car that is relatively unknown today: the Mangusta.

The Mangusta was the Pantera before it got its teeth fixed, its hair combed, and changed its name. Like an up-and-coming celebrity, the Mangusta was a little rough around the edges before it became a big shot.

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Rare Factory Supercharged AWD Mid-Engined 1990’s Toyota Pickup

Actually, if you haven’t figured it out, it’s a near topless Toyota Previa.  My brother snapped this picture last weekend at the Glendale 9 swapmeet.  The odd thing is that the rear is not sagging at all, which leads me to believe that this was a purpose built machine (hauling one mans junk) with at least some thought put into it, however strange it may look.

Fiberfab Avenger GT/Valkyrie Kit Car (what remains)

A few weeks back I took a trip to California, naturally I was on the lookout for anything interesting or uncommon.  At some point I ended up walking through a small field of grass that had within it a little square area surrounded by a fence.  Inside was what appeared to be a very sad looking GT40 type mid engined kit car.

From what I have gathered this is either a Fiberfab Avenger GT or Valkyrie.  Unless there are subtle differences that I haven’t found a mention of the only real difference is towards the rear of the car where it is either a bit longer or shorter depending on the engine/donor setup.  The Avenger was the shorter of the two, designed for a Corvair or VW setup.  The longer Valkyrie model was setup for a larger V8 engine. Continue reading

SEMA 2012: Acura NSX Roadster Concept Car

One of the many cool things about attending the SEMA show is that they have something for everyone. Besides the endless rows of muscle cars, classic cars, new cars, and off-road vehicles, there are cars on display which are just pure eye candy.

Take for example this Acura NSX Roadster concept car. It was built for and appeared in The Avengers movie which came out this summer.

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