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

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

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.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • 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.

  • Kat Laneaux @jalop1991I get that. It should be that way. Bills should be one and only one. None of this...if you scratch my back, i'll scratch yours as long as you agree with this too. That's petty and bs. I guess no one has enough balls to stand up for what is right, regardless of which side you stand on. Do one bill and pass it but pass it on merits and not on tit for tat.
  • Kat Laneaux They do but the electric companies are striving to go higher on prices. They supposedly were petitioning to allow higher charges for Solar users, here in NC.As long as they have the money to buy regulations, anything can happen and I really don't feel like spending my dollars on satisfying those evil, money hungry people.
  • J I haven't owned a sedan since like 2011 had a ford fusion and impala then I discovered hatchbacks beats an SUV but the amount of stuff I can do with my little hatchbacks leaves sedan owners and even some SUV and truck owners surprised
  • Dougjp It seems like I'm in a minority by rejecting CUV/SUVs and wanting "cars" instead. Its because, comparing apples to apples (same specs), I don't want (a) worse performance, (b) worse handling, (c) worse fuel economy, (d) worse road & wind noise and (e) higher cost. I'm quite willing to PAY for shipping that costs way less than 1% of the difference between the cost of a car and a comparable CUV/SUV, to buy a bulky piece of furniture from a store that doesn't provide free shipping. Which I would seldom buy anyway. The problem is, people don't think logically, and would rather default to herd mentality. Its the same as why people buy "off road vehicles", complete with ugly add on patch body work to "look the part", then they never go off road.
  • FreedMike How about one for a brown diesel wagon?