As someone who has driven over 300,000 non-livery, private-owner miles in various iterations of Ford’s Panther, TTAC’s Panther Appreciation Week struck a bittersweet chord for me. I’ve enjoyed seeing this versatile vehicle-from-another-era get the admiration and respect I believe it deserves, and the peek at the other side of the philosophical coin – courtesy of some Best & Brightest commentators (and Paul) – has also been interesting. But this tribute to the platform’s imminent demise has saddened me, as it highlights how the Panther has represented such a stoic constant on North American roads for so many years. Regardless, change is the only true constant, and it won’t be long before the pride of St. Thomas Assembly is irretrievably crushed by the ever-advancing juggernaut of modernity. Standing at the precipice of this retirement, I feel compelled to look at what the Panther has meant, both in my life, and in the market over these past three decades.
Posts By: Don Gammill Jr.
For a moment, turn away from the uncertain prospects of Chrysler’s Fiat-directed future and consider the subject of this review as nothing other than one entry in the popular five-door hatchback segment of the North American compact car market. That’s what I had to do, anyway, in order to rationalize driving and writing about a [...]
Unless all the reviews you’ve read about the 2010 Ford Mustang appear in publications like Mustang Monthly, you probably know that the car is (a) an evolutionary improvement of the hold-over SN197 chassis and (b) still far from perfect. After a conflicting afternoon with a beautiful Red Candy Metallic 2010 Mustang GT Convertible [not pictured], [...]
If “the truth will set you free,” as both the Good Book and the founder of this website maintain, then I should probably take this opportunity to come clean: When it comes to trucks, I’m seriously prejudiced in favor of substance over style – which means that most modern trucks are, for my tastes, too [...]
When it comes to the freshened 2010 Ford Fusion, TTAC’s got you covered like Alan Mulally’s life insurance policy. Over the past few months, no fewer than three full-length reviews have served up our impressions of the base gasoline 4-cylinder SE (with manual trans, no less), the hot-rod AWD 3.5-liter V6 Sport model, and even [...]
In times like these, folks keep their cars longer (just ask Comrade Fidel’s oppressed masses of loyal subjects). Unfortunately, faster-spinning odometers have the nasty side effect of more quickly chewing up your car’s normal wear items. Some of these components (like brakes) can get downright demanding as they die. Others, like shock absorbers and their MacPherson strut cousins, just blend into the woodwork and stay there. Much like the guy in your high school yearbook that you can’t remember, your vehicle’s shocks and/or struts get Rodney Dangerfield-levels of respect and even less attention. Symptoms of worn shocks or struts include excessive floating after traversing even small bumps in the road, greater-than-normal body roll during cornering, increased braking distance, and extreme front end dive under moderate-to-hard braking.
During a recent visit to Houston’s Johnson Space Center, I stood at the business end of the mighty Saturn V lunar rocket and contemplated many things. On the surface, I found myself excited and awestruck at the spectacle of the raw power represented by this engineering landmark, but introspectively, I also felt a twinge of [...]
March of 1996. I was a college kid desperate for a Florida spring break, with nothing other than my 34-year-old Thunderbird for wheels. The Ford was un-restored, and I was far from the capable wrench-turner I am today. But it didn’t matter. I was going to Florida. In my car. With no fear. Well, not at first, anyway. Before long, I-75 became increasingly rural, and all vestiges of metro-Atlanta quickly faded away. As the sun sank low, my mind began amplifying each squeak, rattle, and groan. I suddenly realized that if my old T-Bird was going to put me down, I’d rather it happen while I was still relatively close to home. With all the discretion and restraint 21-year-olds are famous for, I decided to floor it and see what happened.
In addition to my day job, I’m also a jazz pianist. Recently, after playing an hour of cocktail music for a swank black-tie occasion, I spied an automotive anomaly while walking to my car. The familiar face of a 1968 Mustang broke up the row of elite (or elitist?) German and Japanese iron in the valet lot. “Ah,” I thought poetically, “an oasis of sincerity in a desert of automotive pretense.” But then I noticed the rectangular grill-mounted fog lamps and the lack of a pony emblem. Drawing closer, I realized that I stood before the height of Sixties automotive fluff: a 1968 Mustang GT California Special. The “sincerity” part of my previous thought immediately sprouted hooves and sauntered away.