Great show this weekend, Dave and I had a wonderful time. Almost talked myself horse taking about the Pantero and Fieros in general. Also saw a bunch of very sweet rides, including the sweetest Stock 88 GT I've ever seen. A local guy owned it to, said he only drives it about once a month if that. I've invited him and a couple of other Fiero folks I met there to join Bluegrass Fieros, I'm thinkin they will join us. The Pantero was a big hit, it was really kind of funny though, people would look at it and then we would tell them that under all that fiberglass it was a Fiero, and you could almost measure the dropped jaws.
That was a nice Fiero, Ron. The remarkable thing is that the owner had entered his Corvette in the car show. When he saw the Pantero and spoke with us, he got so excited he went home and drove back in his Fiero.
But we were in very good company all day:
Since we were positioned near the entry gate, many of the entrants spotted the Pantero and came back to check it out. Like the owner of this GT40. He stayed about a half hour, chatting with us.
This was the first Concours held at Keenland, or in Kentucky for that matter. All I can say was it was a great success, with a huge crowd and many incredible cars. And everything was done for the benefit of the Childrens Hospital.
it looks like a custum fiero door interior panel.. ?
Actually, what you're seeing is the rear/bottom fascia, The two CutOuts are where the exhaust is supposed to protrude. The mold comes apart to get the rear half of the car out. The other items are fender molds. In the background, you can see the hood and the door molds.
------------------ Ron aka: Blackrams
[This message has been edited by blackrams (edited 09-16-2004).]
Damn, I'm sorry, since I knew that was not a Pantero mold, I apparently looked right past it. Actually, that is a door panel mold, it's from a lambo kit that Dave has. We may use it in the Pantero, haven't decided yet. Sorry for the confusion.
If it ever stops raining here, I'll take a couple of pics of what we did to the engine bay just before the Lexington Concours show. It's one of the oldest and easiest tricks, but it really made a big difference.
This is really too dark to see very well, but it is the view of the engine bay & vents from outside.
This is what we did. The good 'ol '84/''85 engine vent swap. It really cleaned up the view from outside, and made the initial view of the engine compartment more intrigueing, when you lift the rear clip back. The '84 grill is mounted on the stock hatch hinges, and the torsion rods are removed. This is what we replaced.
This is the "power hump" part of the '85-'88 deck lid. It was installed this way by the designer, and I think it is a clever method. With some cleaning up or original thinking, it could look real nice. This is how the Pantero was shown at Wheatstock.
Blackrams likes the '84/'85 grills so much that we are incorporating this style into his rear hatch. BTW, Blackrams has elected to go without a back-tilting rear hatch, and is also not using the stock Pantera hatch configuration as well. Instead, we are making a cutout something like this.
His rear clip will not tilt. Rather, the stock lid hinges will be used, and a more "Fiero like" rear lid will be created, giving easy access to the trunk space.
The aft section of the Fiero lid is also incorporated into whatever type rear clip configuration you use. Here it is bonded to the tilting rear clip, and when closed you have a weather tight seal.
We've spent almost every weekend and many week nights getting the molds ready to shoot new body panels. Experimenting with the new chop gun. There is much more involved in producing quality parts from fiberglass than I ever realized. Dave is a patient man and is determined to get the process right in order to produce the finest quality possible. The investment in dollars alone is stagering, not even talking about the time involved to get it right. I'm as anxious as anyone to get this done, (we're working on mine right now) but we want it right. I'm sure Dave will post anything he has when he has something worth posting. Thanks for your interest and please be patient.
------------------ Ron aka: Blackrams
[This message has been edited by blackrams (edited 09-28-2004).]
Blackrams has decided not to have a tilt rear clip, as you know. We spent considerable time looking at how the original rear clip was mounted, and have come up with what we feel is a stronger, and easier to assemble mount. It can be used by both tilt and non-tilt rear clips, and can be easily modified for those who have removed the lower part of their trunk. We have the steel for this and hope to show it to you this weekend. The original mount has no problems I can see, except it might be a bit taxing to assemble. I'm looking for something the average guy can assemble in a day or less. The construction manual will detail all variations of mounting we know of.
This shows the aft end of the chassis, with the rear bumper removed. The original mount is a steel strap tackwelded to the rear of the trunk, with a reinforcing bar tacked to the frame. To this strap, hinges are at first bolted, and then welded. The bolts actually go into the interior of the trunk. I wasn't too impressed with that. So what we have is a square steel plate which mounts to the flared ends of the chassis rail, seen in the pic. To this plate, the steel strap is firmly welded. The hinges are welded onto the strap before installation, so bolts thru the trunk are not needed. Once the mount is completed, the stock bumber can be reinstalled, further reinforcing the square plate.
The arrow points to where the hinge line is. BTW, it's located just in-line with a square corner of a plate between the chassis rail and the trunk, so it's easy to find.
So, with the mounting issue resolved, we proceeded to cut and fit steel for the supportive skeleton underneath the rear clip.
The big holdup on fabricating the front clip, in my mind, was the wildshield wiper situation. This shows the stock Fiero location of the wiper posts, and the black trays where Pantera locates the wiper posts. The Fiero posts come out beneath the new skin, so they have to be raised or relocated, somehow.
[This message has been edited by opm2000 (edited 09-28-2004).]
One method we came up with involves unbolting the wiper arm assembly and moving it over 6". Sounds hairy, but it can easily be done. The driving arm has to be shortened by the same 6", and the post bases are remounted to the bottoms of the Pantera trays, wher the black panels are. I'll be verifying this system on my build.
But a simpler method involves disassembling the posts
and substituting a longer 3/8" bolt to achieve the desired height. The splined end is threaded, and then bolted in place, and the wiper arms have been relocated.
So with these issues resolved, we began fabrication of the trunk liner. The hinges, latch and support rod are attached to the liner, and it is made to work. Then the Trunk skin is bonded to the liner. This allows for fine fitting of the body lines and panel gaps. Nothing looks worse than an ill fitting door on a custom built car. This method allows exact fitting.
And the front clip
I can't wait till we pop this out, late this weekend.
After all is said and done, think you guys can get around to doing some GT5S fenders?
Today I secured a set of what I believe to be the GTS fender flares. Once I have them in hand I'll make molds so they can be available....and I'll modify our current front air dam to the GT5 or GTS look, make a mold, and then be able to offer two different air dams.
The fender flares arrived, I'll try to post a photo tonite. I tried fitting them up against the yellow car...perfect fit. I 'm pretty sure they are the GTS type, but whatever, they give a nice look to the wheel wells.
Wow, these flares certianly do add a bit to the looks:
They seem to fit the contours of the body quite well. Here, Blackrams is holding the flares up so the existing fender flare wall & the flare wall just meet. We haven't done any accurate measuring yet, but it looks like you'd pick up about another 1" to 1.5" of width, for fatter tires. It doesn't look bad as is, the flares are bigger, ie taller and deeper, so they accentuate the flare areas.
Sorry it took so long, we got started on another layup for another rear clip.
Hey, it's good to hear that folks are interested in this as a kit. First thing I'll say is that no kits have been sold to date. So if you do undertake to build a Pantero, it will be a very unique car. Blackrams is recieving the first parts pulled from the molds, and that is what you've seen in these pages so far. He was gracious enough to haul the prototype car and molds all the way from Vista, California back home to Versailles, KY for no charge other that recieving these first parts. That also made him a Guienea Pig in a sense, because I had to go thru a process of "learning" the molds, and figuring the best way to produce quality fiberglass parts from them.
Anyhow, I've been thru that process now, and last weekend we laid up the rear clip for the first true kit. It turned out very well, and we are gearing up to produce all of the remaining parts for kit #1, to be ready to ship this month.
Also, I've spent considerable time analyzing the mounting system used on the prototype car, and figuring out better ways to mount, in some cases. The whole idea of this kit, to me, is that it must be easy for the first time builder to assemble. None of this business where you spend years fabricating everything from scratch, as required in a Lambo kit. So I'm happy with what we've come up with in this regard. Instructions will be provided in the form of a text & photo guide that you open on your desktop computer.
I'm trying to keep prices cut to the bone, as compared to the Kitcar market. I've setteled on a price of $4,000 for the first 6 body kits. After that, I'll review things and see if I'm in the poorhouse or not. I'm not doing this to become rich & famous, but I do have to cover my costs.
The $4,000 will include the front clip, rear clip, 2 door skins, front hood skin, front hood liner, 2 headlight door skins, and 4 bumpers. The instructions will detail how to fabricate the simple steel reinforcement and mounting brackets, as required. Or for an additional $400 these can be provided already made up and fiberglassed in where appropriate.
The molds are not made yet for the wheel flares, but the materials have been ordered. I plan to offer two different styles of front air dam (your choice) and 4 wheel flares for $650, with the first 6 body kits. This will be open for review as well at that point. Right now, the mold is not ready for the second style airdam, so that's clear.
No pics tonight, but between now and this weekend, I'll add a few, and explain a few things along the way, such as how the body mounts, and the quality controll I use on each part fabricated.
I do appreciate folks keeping interest in this car. It is quite an undertaking to produce parts from a cold start, like this. When I acquired the molds, I set 7 months as a goal for kit production. But honestly, to get kit #1 out the door before 12 months time is just amazing to me.
Seeing the time, effort and thought you put into your projects, and seeing some things you have done, I have no doubt these will be top notch kits. Ron is going to bring his car over here when he gets back in two weeks so I can get the 4.9 put in. Then he can get the Pantera body mounted. It would be nice to see him drive it to Ed's swap meet next year.
------------------ 87 Notchie 4.9 87 SE 3.4TDC swap almost done 87 Notchie Caddy 472 longitudinal coming soon 85GT new to the stable and slated to get a N*
Well if you need another test car, I will fork up my 88 Formula I would like to have a style of a car that not many have for now. I would like to talk to you about Kit #2 for me. The money is not the problem and I have talked to Blackrams a few times about being on the list. Since my car is all new from the inside out the only thing left was to come up with a body that was different. I have searched high and low for a unique body style but to no avail. So I came back to yours. With you basic body and some mods to make it a GT5 style you may have a line out the door. Since I run the AEX electronic dash that not many have I pride my car on having the first of many styles. Living in Winston Salem I am not that far from where you are at.
I spent some time today looking at the pantera body styles and found that the nose of a formula with slight modifications is very close to the GT5 style. Maybe we can talk on the phone and see what I can do to help in the kit process and marketing.
You need to have the first models in different parts of the country for viewing and to get the word out. Advertising never hurts. PM me your number or call me on mine @ 336-462-1040 and we can talk about some ideas and the time frame of another kit for my formula.
Thanks for all of your hard work and coming up with an idea that is not only NEW but different in the world of kit cars. I have had all that I can take of the kits that are out there now and looking like everyone else. Finally some new blood.
Thank you Robert Ver Halen 336-462-1040 call anytime
I think what really appeals to me about this Pantera rebody is that it lends itself to customization so well. Almost everyone I've shown it to has said something more or less to the effect that "they would change some little detail, here or there, or add this or that".
I'm a Fiero guy, and a hotrodder and a builder. I like something that's a little unconventional, fast, and somehow customized. This should be a fun project:>
This is a more detailed look at the various components of the true GT5-S conversion.
Note the different shape to the flares, the air inlet in the rear flares, and the "runningboard" sideskirts. Also, the airdam has a flattened frontal area with a cutout on each side for air inlet or lights.
The airdam I currently have does not have the flattened frontal area as seen in that illustration.
Now, if a person was on a real quest for as close to a GT5-S look as he could get, the flares and airdam I have could be used as a starting place. A little basic sculpting and glassing in and the deed would be done. If someone wants to go this route before I have had time to do it, I'll certianly work with them on a step by step basis. It's really easy.
I personally like the Group 4 look: basic retro body shape, accentuated fender flares, rounded side skirts, contoured front air dam, and maybe the delta-type wing.
Interestingly, a while back the GT5-S conversion was quite popular with the Pantera owners. But lately the trend has been to preserve or restore the retro look of the original body style.
When do you think that we can talk about a kit for myself, I would even pay an amount before to get on the waiting list so I am secured a spot? You can email me your number and I can call you back at anytime.
Let me know your thoughts
Thank you for your efforts
Robert Ver Halen email@example.com 336-462-1040
Given the fiberglass body we're dealing with, I think the portion of plexiglass which extends down the front could be made larger. That would allow using a full sized sealed beam. Tomorrow I'll measure how much space is available.
I've been gearing things up for another big layup this weekend. Tomorrow evening I'll get some pics out of how the rear section of the roof is modified, and how the rear trunk lid is prepared for mounting the rear clip.
Some exciting things have been going on the last few days. My wife was in a business meeting with the Kentucky Speedway owners, and she told them about the Pantero. They got all excited and invited us up next weekend for a few laps around the Speedway. It seems that Ford Motors is the big sponsor there this year. That should be fun, and a good opportunity to get some decent photos.
Seems like everything always happens when I'm out of town. ( Oh well, that's what I call great exposure. Keep it under 140, they got all upset up there when I started going a little too fast for them. ;o)