By on June 10, 2013

TTAC commentator confused1096 writes:

Sajeev,

Writing to you again after a hiatus of a three years. You and various commentators helped with my not so dearly departed Windstar  (died of a blown transmission a couple of months after article). Now hoping I can get some input on a decent car.

Fast forward three years later. I sold a nice Nissan 300zx and bought a human sized car in March. I’m the proud owner of a nearly showroom looking ’98 Grand Marquis LS. The car was purchased with 198k on the clock and 10 years of maintenance records. It now has 211,000 miles. I’ve updated all routine maintenance, replaced brakes & rotors, rear shocks, etc. Really the only thing the car needs at the moment are front shocks (soon) and I plan to have the seats recovered early next year. Also plan on adding dual exhaust and a few other minor tweaks next year. This is my second Panther platform car, so I’m reasonably familiar with the common issues.

Now to the problem: Ever since I purchased it I’ve had a charge light that will illuminate on the dash intermittently. The alternator tests good, as does the battery. The car has no codes in memory and I’ve checked all the connections for battery, starter, and alternator. All are clean and secure. My regular mechanic thinks the diode in the alternator is going out. I hate to replace a pricey alternator on a maybe. Besides, shouldn’t the various part store tests have picked it up if that were the issue? I don’t want to have a boy who cried wolf attitude over an important warning system either.

Sajeev answers:

Don’t worry bro-ham! Rarely is it crying wolf when we’re talkin’ about an older vehicle’s charging system at this mileage.

Especially with 1980s-1990s Ford alternators of the poorly rebuilt variety.  And from a corroded wire you will never see upon casual inspection to a failing lead plate in the battery, there are too many fail points to easily neglect, and wind up stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Your mechanic is probably right. Or it might be the regulator on the alternator, which is pretty cheap and easy to replace. Your best bet is to get a volt meter that plugs into your cigarette lighter to see the actual numbers. It’s cheap insurance, I’ve used one for almost a decade and I love it. Mine isn’t as pretty as the one below, but its paid for itself many, many times over.  (which is an indirect slam against the quality of remanufactured alternators)

By the way, any parts store can test the charging system for free, with a fancy machine that is quite accurate.

Honestly, it sounds like you need a new (high quality rebuilt) alternator.  One that is 100% all new, but still has a lifetime warranty.  The new platinum alternators available at some parts stores will suffice.  I’ve had good luck with local alternator rebuild shops and the nice folks at PA Performance. So you have options.

And now, in a poorly transitioned segue, here’s more fan mail on the same subject: Panther Love. 

Stefan writes:

Oh Sajeev (note correct spelling) (WOOT, SM), I have no tricky questions for you at all today. I just wanted to thank you for your excellent and entertaining Fat Panther wisdom in many recent articles at TTAC. I took it all to heart and recently purchased this mint condition triple black ’97 Town Car (see picture attached) for $3,900.00 from a Chicago dealership. Most of the other vehicles on the lot were used police cars; regular Panthers. The Town Car already had the correct Replacement Aluminum Intake Manifold installed. New rotors & pads plus a set of Cooper Sigma Shadow Whitewalls and I am set to go for another 50,000-miles in great comfort and economy at 27 mpg.

The car had 84,000 miles on the odometer when I bought it. I’ll write you again when I get to 300,000 or so…..again, many thanks!

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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61 Comments on “Piston Slap: The Panther that Cried…Wolf?...”


  • avatar
    nine11c2

    27MPG? You’ll be lucky to get 20 in the real world…http://www.fuelly.com/car/lincoln/town%20car

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      completely depends on his mix of city/highway in his drive cycle. These really do get upper twenties on the mpg scale on the highway, but only mid-teens in the city due to the heavy mass to impart into motion. For someone with a lot of steady state driving, they can be very economical.

      • 0 avatar
        nine11c2

        I own a Acura TSX 2.4 4 cylinder with a six speed. Its way more efficient and 1500lbs lighter than this car. On just highway it can get 31 mpg (thought it could do better at the speed limit). There is simply NO WAY a Lincoln is getting 27 unless it fills up at an on ramp, goes downhill for 300 miles at 55 mph exactly and pulls off the freeway and immediately pulls into another gas station without doing more than 20 feet on city streets.

        There is simply no way this car is getting 27 regularly, for the next 50,000 miles…ridiculous.

        • 0 avatar

          If you think your Acura has the same tall final drive gearing and has the same low revving powerband as a Panther, I have some prime beachfront real estate in Wyoming I’d like to sell you.

          • 0 avatar
            nine11c2

            Guys, you Panther guys are ridiculous. Its about simply mass. My Acura gets 28 -29 all the time. You are comparing the 100 miles at a steady 55 in the “Panther” when in actually gets less than 20 in regular driving. Again, Fuelly is REAL life numbers over time. You can’t fool yourselves. Ridiculous. 27..

            http://www.fuelly.com/car/lincoln/town%20car

            http://www.fuelly.com/car/acura/tsx

            Big heavy low geared v8′s are clearly the way to go for good gas mileage. I mean, we are seeing so many more these days becaus they are so efficient.

          • 0 avatar
            W.

            A bit of a different beast, but I averaged 25mpg in an ’85 Caprice with a 305 and a four speed auto, four guys and enough camping gear to make Teddy Roosevelt proud, from NY to Florida. I say it’s possible…

          • 0 avatar
            George B

            A huge factor in highway fuel efficiency is aerodynamic drag. A long-low-wide “real car” may be relatively efficient in how much air it has to push out of the way compared to a tall, short length city car like Honda Fit. The other consideration is that changes of “only a few mpg” for relatively small numbers are a significant percentage change. 31 mpg is 19% better than 26 mpg, roughly inversely proportional to the relative frontal area.

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            @ Nine – my 3900 pound not even as aerodynamic as the panther with its supercharged V8 can knock down 26 mph in 6th gear on the highway loafing along.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “Guys, you Panther guys are ridiculous. Its about simply mass.”

          No, you Honda guys are ridiculous, it isn’t simply about mass. Getting 27 mpg (or more) highway in a Panther is about Brake Specific Fuel Consumption. Once the mass is already in motion, it requires much less energy to keep it in motion as compared to accelerating it. If the drivetrain is geared in such a way to keep the engine in a good efficiency range while cruising, it’s entirely possible that a big, fat Town Car can get close to the same highway mileage as your 4 cylinder Acura.

          “Big heavy low geared v8′s are clearly the way to go for good gas mileage. I mean, we are seeing so many more these days becaus they are so efficient.”

          Go on, dismember your straw man. No one here implied that.

          • 0 avatar
            chas404

            My 1992 town car got 26 mpg on all hwy long trips at 75 or so mph.

            My 1995 town car had a low gear ratio ‘sport package’ or something so it got around 24 mpg on the hwy.

            Both got around 19 to 20 mpg mixed driving.

            The combination of a lowly stressed 200 hp or so 4.6 V8 and a lazy 4 spd overdrive equals good mpg.

            they both could kick down a few gears an scoot too!

            Enjoy shifting gears manually in those fwd drone mobiles. for the money these panther types have discovered lost gold indeed.

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          nine11c2:

          Newton’s first law of motion.

          My heavy as hell Fox Body Continental gets 28 miles per gallon on average highway. It’s a miserly diesel 6 cylinder, but a 2.72 overall final gear ration would make any green peace chick get hot and bothered from my supreme saudi oil consumption efficiency when I’m rollin’ down woodward to save ducklings out of the polluted Rouge before I go to work.

          • 0 avatar
            nine11c2

            Seriously guys. You are talking about getting 27 mpg like ONCE. Lets go from Battery Park to Harlem and see if you can get 1/3 of the mileage. You Panther guys are fans, not reasonalbe. I had a 305 Camaro. It got 18MPG. I had a 6 cylinder Fusion 23 mpg. ON the Highway. Physics? The Panther is 5000lbs.. a Honda 3,000. Get a clue. You guys are FANS. Look at the Fuelly. You’re completey ignoring real world numbers by NORMAL people…You guys are ridiculous.

            I’ve driven a Tahoe (rental) with a gauge that showed when the thing could go from 8 cylinders to 4. It rarely went to 4 – only on the highway at like 55, downhill, etc. It was a good feature, but it showed that with 5500lbs of mass, you were ALWAYS using a decent amount of hp to push the mass down the highway..while a small car with a 4 cylinder was ALWAYS only using 4 cylinders.

            Please don’t tell me “take a class”. Its physics. It takes more to push 5000lbs down a road than 3000. Period. If there was a secret way to do 5000lb cars getting 27mpg we’d do it. I can take my Acura and I can “see” 40mpg if I get on route 527 at 50mph and go 20 miles. That doens’t mean thats the real mileage you get every day.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            No, I’m talking about driving in accordance to your final gear ratio. Torque, drag coefficient, whatever… your examples you’re putting up don’t suffice. Physics, my friend.

            Driving habits. My company Hybrid Fusion says it has 21 mpg long term fuel economy on the IP. Gee… I wonder why? (I live in Mexico City and floor it wherever I go)

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Also, I found it hilarious that a TSX owner said ‘get a clue.’ Irony for a Monday.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Diesel Fox Conti? Nice.

            I think you deserve some kind of award there Tresmonos, not for the fuel efficiency but for sheer ballsyness of owning an oddball.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            28-cars-later:
            It’s cheaper than a psychiatrist. I’m going to be reunited with it after over a year of extended travel for work. I’m sure she’ll surprise me with a bunch of wallet draining excitement.

            …but I’ll still get better fuel efficiency than nine11c2, dammit.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            When I was younger I was never a big fan of the Fox Conti as I lusted after the Mark VII, blown air ride and all. But with age I have come to appreciate the 80sness of the Fox Conti. Despite how she treats you, I’m sure she’s quite a lady and I would suspect you’re the only person in at least three states with anything like her. There’s something to be said for unique.

          • 0 avatar
            Wheeljack

            Someone here in the detroit area has a diesel Lincoln Mark VII for sale on craigslist. They are rare as hen’s teeth – I’ve only seen one other example. Most people who are aware of the diesel Continental are shocked when I tell them about a diesel Mark VII I once saw with over 200,000 miles on the clock.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m glad somebody got some good use out of a diesel Mark.

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            How do any of you guys really know what kind of gas mileage you have been getting? Is your odometer accurate? Do you buy your gasoline or diesel from a dealer whose pumps are honest? How about 10% of low btu ethanol that may or may not be in your fuel?

            Add to that the difference between city and country driving, how fast you drive, even whether your trip is generally uphill or downhill. Then there is your differential ratio, and the general condition of your car.

            I think you have to go mostly with the EPA tests. At least, you get fairly consistent comparisons between vehicles.

            Personally, I love my Panther, but only as a low-initial-cost, high speed interstate cruiser in the wide open spaces of the American west. My old 2002 Acura 3.2 TL was, overall, a better car, but I can own two plus Panthers for the cost of a replacement Acura.

          • 0 avatar
            slantsixbuzzinaway

            Most I ever got was 25mpg on the highway with my 92 Crown Victoria, this is the only year with no grill and one of the pre-98 “aero” cars. It is high mileage, maybe it was capable of better when new.

            Now for the “5,000lb” comment, panthers can weight over 5,000lbs, but that would be with people and luggage. Truly a CV is just around 4,000lbs, not light, but not 5,000lbs.

    • 0 avatar
      mike1dog

      Yes, I’ve seen high twenties in these before in highway cruising, at least in a Grand Marquis. Would the somewhat more square rigged town car get slightly worse gas mileage?

      • 0 avatar
        nine11c2

        hahahahah…yeah, get a clue. ever driven one?

        I had Porsches (944 and 911), Camaro’s, build a 55 chevy from scratch. TSX is a great way to get a 250K mile car, at 30 mpg, with good luxury and rock solid reliability, good comfort and handling for less than $30K new. The rest of you lemmings just are judging what you don’t know…

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          No one here every said a word about your tarted up Accord, it’s luxury qualities or it’s fuel economy.

          Panther love is an obsession / joke. Lighten up, man.

          • 0 avatar
            nine11c2

            “Also, I found it hilarious that a TSX owner said ‘get a clue.’ Irony for a Monday.”

            this is Truth about Cars – if it was titled more correctly, say “Panther FAN Forum”, I would not have signed up for regular posts..

          • 0 avatar
            chas404

            No one buying a TSX can say ” I just bought a triple black (or triple white) TSX “.

            Also you cant say I drive a signature series.

            Good luck if you lock your keys in the car too.

            hehe. now i miss my 1995 towncar you guys are killing me.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          4-banger. Meh.

          also

          “good comfort and handling for less than $30K new”

          base msrp is $30,510 for auto, 6 spd is $31,510 for MY2013 (I have never tried to buy one of these so I can’t say how close to MSRP out the door pricing is). Mileage is:

          EPA MPG RATING 27:AT: 22 (city) / 31 (hwy) / 26 (combined)

          If you do mostly highway driving I believe a figure of 30mpg, my question is why isn’t the highway figure much higher, such as 35-38mpg? Think about it… on straight highway you only a few ticks higher than the vaunted Panther regardless of where you feel its highway mileage lies. I think this is pretty sad, esp since you have to buy premium and taxis don’t. 22 in the city is nothing to write home about either. Happy motoring.

          http://www.acura DOT com/pricing.aspx?model=tsx

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Nevermind him, he’s just a flip flopping hater. No one misrepresented the fact that the 27mpg Panther claims were highway mileage, yet he keeps on throwing out red herrings like random exampls from fuelly and inaccurate data like stating a Panther weighs 5000lbs.

          • 0 avatar
            nine11c2

            The dude said he’d get 27mpg for the next 50,000 miles. My TSX is a 2009, I got out without technology under 30K. And if I’m comparing what I can get if I can get on the highway and run down at 55 for 100 miles on a flat road, I’d be over 35. I’m talking real world at 30 dude, not at 55 with a sail mounted for tail winds. You Panther dudes really need to get out of 1990…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m not much of a “Panther dude” esp after what my ’90 did to my wallet. But Honda’s not impressing me either… max horse is 7000 rpm? I mean really, 7 grand? So usable horsepower is much less eh Honda. We’re talking about a boy racer engine in a Euro spec’d sedan vs a big old American cruiser whose basic design is from the mid-70s its a bit of apples and oranges, BUT if a Panther straight highway @ 65 for an hour can do 23-24, and this engine does 30, I have to say that’s not much better. A third torque and half the cylinders of the 4.6 mod should run rings around a Panther in fuel economy, right?

            Honda K24Z3

            Found in: 2009+ Acura TSX / Honda Accord / Honda Accord Euro (CU2)

            Displacement: 2,354 cc (143.6 cu in)
            Bore and Stroke: 87 mm x 99 mm (3.43 x 3.90 inches)
            Compression: 11.0:1
            Power: 201 @ 7000 rpm
            Torque: 172 lb·ft (MT), 170 lb·ft (AT) @ 4300 rpm
            Redline: 7100 rpm

        • 0 avatar
          W.

          Hmm…my Honda with a VTC K24A4 only manages at best a 22mpg, and it’s even a five speed!

          Wait…that’s because it’s in a box shape body (Element) and we tend to drive 75 mph and above on the highway. Did I get confused here?

        • 0 avatar
          jimbob457

          Am I f**king dreaming? Is this thread some kind of alien plot that perfectly duplicates my own experience with cars?

          Whatever. I can tell you from personal experience that:
          1. a Porsche 996 is a beast and is against all odds a reliable daily driver that, by the way, top ends at 172 MPH. Do replace the IMS bearing, first thing.
          2. the Acura 3.2 TL is an excellent upscale version of the Honda Accord. It is a magnificent 200k mile machine. It handles well and is a really good road car.
          3. Most of the Panther platforms are dirt cheap. You can get the cop car version (handles pretty well) or the interstate cruiser version (like the Grand Marquis). They are even more durable than the Honda. Maybe 300k miles is realistically possible.

          For interstate cruising I prefer my Panther over either my Acura (which I gave to my youngest son) or my wife’s 996. For me, it gets 24-25 mpg on the road, and I really do drive it like I stole it.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      Crown Vic Police Interceptor owner here. I’ve gotten 27 MPG on long highway trips, and that’s with 3.27 gears. 30 is definitely doable with the 2.73 gears and single exhaust most squashy Panthers have. The same long gears that give such a poor 0-60 time enable them to get excellent gas mileage.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    People have a tendency to exaggerate their gas mileage when telling others how wonderful their cars are, but when new this Lincoln was rated 25 mpg hwy. Stefan didn’t say 27 mpg was his average, but it’s probably close to his best mpg. More importantly, where do you find such a snazzy plug-in voltmeter as the one in the picture? I gotta have one

    • 0 avatar
      nine11c2

      You are so right. they exagerate to support their case. That massive v-8 in the “Panther”..

      4.6L V-8 205 HP engine
      4-spd auto transmission w/OD
      In the same situation as your “Panther” a TSX or Accord would get 40 with a tail wind, doing 55. In the real world the mileage is double.

      Lets ignore the blazing performance (NOT) of the 1998 whales wafting down the road..

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        I’m just wafting through this thread, neither a fan nor foe of either Panther or TSX, but you’re starting to irritate even me.

        Careful about putting your car on a throne. A new 328 will absolutely blow your almost-entry-luxury Acura out of the water in all acceleration metrics. And still get the same or better mileage as your pinnacle of engineering:

        http://www.fuelly.com/car/acura/tsx
        http://www.fuelly.com/car/bmw/328i/2012

        The real question isn’t why Panther fans think they can get 27 mpg real world, but why you think the TSX is so special.

        • 0 avatar
          nine11c2

          Just using it as an example, I have real world experience. The 328, a Honda Accord, heck even a modern Chevy Malibu will get much better mileage in the real world than a Panther..

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Again, the open highway exists in the real world. Some people drive heavily on the highway. This is what the higher mileage claims are related to.

            Keep fighting that windmill Don Quixote.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Like Sanjeev said, remanufactured Ford alternators can be a crap shoot. The way I go about testing them after installing a 2nd or 3rd defective unit right out of the box is to prove out the rest of the system, which it sounds like you have done to some degree.

    If the battery passes a load test, check the voltage drop of all the charging system circuits. So from the large B+ terminal on the alternator, to the B+ on the battery, the sense circuit or S terminal to battery B+ and the ground circuit. For the ground, you can compare actual battery voltage to the reading between the alternator case and B+ on the battery. You shouldn’t see any more than a 0.25V drop across any of these circuits.

    Wiggle the 2 or 3 wire (I forget exactly how many circuits) on the back of the alternator to see if that affects the charging system indicator light. If so, loose pin fit in the connector could be a factor, as could terminal fretting or corrosion. Connector pig tails are available, cheap, and on this car, easy to change.

    If you can’t find anything wrong with the above mentioned items, including the battery, chances are there’s a bad diode or cracked connection inside the regulator. These alternators are pretty serviceable, you may want to look for a local business that specializes in auto electrical components as they’ll rebuild and test the unit for you instead of going with an aftermarket or even Motorcraft out of the box crap shoot. There’s a good chance it could end up being a cheaper solution too.

    • 0 avatar
      confused1096

      I didn’t think of the load test, thank you. And it did wind up being an intermittent (until it failed) issue with the regulator inside the alternator.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    How is this for a real world test. 05 Grand Marquis, 1400 mile round trip across three states all interstate using cruise control driving the posted limit 65 and 70. The ave. mpg on 7 of these trips winter and summer is 24.2 This is by the fill the tank and pencil method. To get instant readout I have reset the computer once up to speed and have seen 27 with a tail wind. Ya , one gets all excited seeing that , but in the end the pencil tells the story.

    • 0 avatar
      nine11c2

      right..best possible conditions – midwest with wide open spaces got 24. which means real world is 18-20..

      • 0 avatar
        chas404

        1992 TC Delaware to Florida 1000 miles at high speeds due to I 95. I would get 26mpg. The older ones had lazier gearing I believe.

        who cares about the mpg? seeing those cigar ashes spill over on the white leather is what does it for me.

  • avatar
    confused1096

    Here’s what wound up happening with the Mercury:

    Had the charging system tested again after Sajeev’s advice. Nada. Checked a few other things, nada. That was what had been driving me nuts all along. No test was showing the issue.

    In February the charge issue finally got bad enough to exhibit symptoms other than the charge system light. 200 miles from home, at night, during a mild snow storm, naturally. The car still ran, but dim, flickering lights had me worried until I got into AAA range.

    The next morning the alternator was replaced with a new one. The old battery was yanked out and replaced with a new Interstate battery. This finally fixed it.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      Where did you source your new alternator?

      • 0 avatar
        confused1096

        The mechanic I take our company’s fleet vehicles to got a new one and charged me cost. I get pretty good deals from him. I’m taking half a dozen patrol vehicles to his shop, I should. :)

        • 0 avatar
          taxman100

          My 2002 Grand Marquis is now our back-up car. I bought a new Chinese knock-off alternator on-line for $98, including shipping.

          That was 20 months ago, and so far it has worked well (knock on wood).

          Replacing an alternator on a Panther is a snap – I’m not sure how it could be easier other than not having an engine cover to remove first.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    drove a late model Town car for work. It would get 27 mpg going downhill with a tailwind, and the motor off. Actually got 17-19 in mixed driving.

    Dont understand why people like these barges. To each, i suppose.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I feel like Hondas trying to pull some sort of crazy marketing campaign here, honestly decent cars Hondas but the owners, fans, clubs, and gutless engines have steered me away from them.

    That black Marquis is a pretty nice beast I say, should I ever get a Panther it’ll be one like that, fake landau roof aside.

  • avatar
    sandberg

    It’s always fun to rile up people who get red in the face and perspiry when reality doesn’t jive with their opinions. Of course these old panthers get 25-27 mpg on the highway and much less in the city.
    I drive my old black TC almost exclusively on rural two-lanes and always get 25-27 mpg, a few times 28, during the 16,000-miles I have owned it.
    Very roomy and comfortable for a long-legged person, reasonably economical and very reliable. Sajeev is right!
    Best Regards, Stefan Sandberg

  • avatar
    confused1096

    On the mileage debate. The green one pictured is mine. I get 24-25 highway gas mileage. I average about 18 in town. My average for mixed driving is 21, according to the car’s computer. Not bad for a 15 year old car with 216,000 miles.

    I don’t expect amazing gas mileage. It is a large V8 car. If I wanted great gas mileage I’d be driving some little wind up car. I’ll trade a few bucks a month to be comfortable.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Looks pretty good for 216K. My Pontiac at 73 and change is all dinged up in the front. Seems like a W body problem because I’ve been checking them at random and they all seem to have an inordinate amount of rock dings on the front hood and facia.

      What is the expected lifespan of a Panther (besides infinity of course)?

  • avatar
    baggins

    Funny thread. I dont have a horse in the panther’s get good freeway mileage debate, but I will say I had a ride in one recently as a cab so I’ll comment on that.

    How can a car that big, be that cramped in the back? I guess the passenger seat was pretty far back, but I was pretty uncomfortable.

    • 0 avatar
      jimbob457

      All true, at least for most versions. For the cop car Crown Vics, the rear seat is where the bad guys go. Notice the absence of rear seat door handles. For the Grand Marquis like I drive, it does seem odd that a 6′ plus passenger should be cramped in the rear seat of such a big car. I have heard that there are stretched versions of the Town Car with lots of rear seat leg room.

  • avatar
    Steam970

    2004 GM Ultimate owned 6 years 90000 miles – Stop and go a block and stop again lLong Island driving-14-15 mpg
    65 mph hi way 24 mpg- one night trip, get gas a block before highway in Port ST Lucie FL to ST Mary’s GA Exit3 -27 mpg .

  • avatar
    nine11c2

    I don’t understand all of this Panther love. Why buy a 1997 Panther for $4000 to put 200,000k on when you could buy a 2007 Accord or Camry for 12K, and probably a 2008 or so Malibu or Fusion for less and save TWICE the difference in gas over the 200,000 miles.

    You’ll have a safer car, nicer car, polute less, the car would be more reliable and cost less to maintain.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      You got to have the $12k in the first place though. A ’97 Panther is more like $2700 or less anyway.

      Plus the junkyards are filled with Panthers (good luck finding a junked ’07 Accord until 2030) and I didn’t buy all my tools just to collect dust.

    • 0 avatar
      jimbob457

      Panther love is all about its initial cost, the cheap repair cost and its insane durability. Plus, you can have it in two flavors – cop car and interstate cruiser.

      I like Honda/Acura Accords, have owned several, and currently own one that my youngest son drives. The V6 versions are clearly better vehicles than the Panthers and will also get 200 to 300k miles. The 4 banger version is maybe a bit less desirable out here in the wide open spaces of the American west.

      Trouble is you can buy an equivalent Panther for about half the price of a Honda/Acura Accord. Parts are cheaper as well. Do the math, chump.

    • 0 avatar
      jimbob457

      Forgot to mention the main topic of this thread – gas mileage. My very own 2002 V6 Acura 3.2 TL, as we speak, gets 19-20 mpg in town and roughly 26 mpg on the highway. My 1999 Grand Marquis gets 16-17 mpg in town and 24-25 mpg on the highway. For both cars I am buying the gas and doing the driving.

      Like I said earlier, in my informed opinion the Honda/Acura Accord is a better car than the Panther in every way and according to almost any metric you can dream up. All but one. According to Kelley Blue Book, the equivalent Panther is selling for slightly less than half of its Honda/Acura Accord counterpart (in terms of trim, mileage and age). Plus, there are lots of Panthers of various kinds for sale. Honda/Acura Accords, not so many.

  • avatar
    nine11c2

    There is this thing called a loan.

    So what your saying is you should buy the Panther because its less reliable, it requires you to buy tools and work on it, and its going to cost more over the run of 200,000 miles?

    How about selling some of the tools to buy the better car? Again, the gas mileage will more than pay for the difference, not to mention the cost and time of maintenance vs a relatively bulletproof Honda or Toyota…

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Loans also have interest and require credit.

      Some of us enjoy working on our cars. It is our hobby. I own classic cars, that is why I have the tools. Panthers are nice to work on. If I wanted a Toyota I’d buy a Cressida


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