Piston Slap: (Sane) Purchase Advice For (Insane) Panther Love

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap sane purchase advice for insane panther love

Philip writes:


I have been driving a 2002 Chrysler T&C mini-van that is on its 3rd transmission. Based on the mileage, number 4 is right around the corner. I am feeling the Panther Love and I looking into a Lincoln Town Car.

A little background info. We live in The Woodlands Tx and I am the main taxi driver for a tall family of six. Neither my wife nor my teenage children do not what their dad driving an old man’s car. I, on the other hand, could care less.

The Panther I found on Ebaymotors/Autotrader is a 2003 Town Car with 42000 miles for 13800. The car is in Richmond Tx. Could you point me in the right direction on who I could have look at this car and what would be a fair asking price?

P.S.: Wife wants me to get a smaller sedan. She will be getting herself a mini-van for the family.

Sajeev answers:

Interesting predicament, and yes, Panther Love is the answer. I live halfway between you and that car, but I probably don’t have the time to check it out. Plus, I got enough Panther Love around my corner of Houston.

Therefore spending $100-200 for a PPI (pre-purchase inspection) from third party is a good idea for peace of mind. Don’t get fancy with engine compression tests, only the basics: frame damage, major leaks, bad suspension bushings, etc. Panthers have a reputation for durability for a reason. More to the point, you can spend all of 20 minutes reading up on the tricks of the inspection trade on the Internet, and become a Panther expert yourself. Start here.

When it comes to pricing, check what “private party” value is with Edmunds.com. Long story short, I would almost never pay more than private party value, for any car. And while dealerships provide a service that entitles them to a reasonable profit, there’s usually enough margin at private party value (from what I’ve experienced) to keep everyone happy at the negotiating table. Good luck.

Send your queries to mehta@ttac.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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2 of 41 comments
  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Apr 21, 2011

    I can tell you that servicing the Ford/GM and Chrysler FWD transaxles doubles there life generally. You really can't go wrong with a Panter car unless fuel economy and Winter traction are big concerns. But then you could always install snows and hyper mile.

  • Armadamaster Armadamaster on Apr 26, 2011

    The Houston Craigslist has some great deals on Crown Vics, Grand Marquis, and Town Cars, FTW.

  • Tassos ask me if I care.
  • ToolGuy • Nice vehicle, reasonable price, good writeup. I like your ALL CAPS. 🙂"my mid-trim EX tester is saddled with dummy buttons for a function that’s not there"• If you press the Dummy button, does a narcissist show up spouting grandiose comments? Lol.
  • MaintenanceCosts These are everywhere around here. I'm not sure the extra power over a CR-V hybrid is worth the fragile interior materials and the Kia dealership experience.
  • MaintenanceCosts It's such a shame about the unusable ergonomics. I kind of like the looks of this Camaro and by all accounts it's the best-driving of the current generation of ponycars. A manual 2SS would be a really fun toy if only I could see out of it enough to drive safely.
  • ToolGuy Gut feel: It won't sell all that well as a new vehicle, but will be wildly popular in the used market 12.5 years from now.(See FJ Cruiser)