The iconic De Tomaso Pantera, an Italian supercar with a Ford engine, famously became the target of Elvis Presley's heated frustration. Known for its mechanical issues due to being rushed to market by Ford, the Pantera often disappointed its owners, including the King of Rock and Roll himself. Alejandro De Tomaso, the car's creator, had an intriguing past involving a flee from Argentina to Italy, where he founded his car company.
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The Pantera, despite its advanced features like power windows and air conditioning, was notorious for its awkward steering, unreliable pedals, and a propensity to overheat and vapor lock. Mechanics detested working on it, yet it maintained a devoted following, partly due to its powerful 351 Cleveland engine and distinctive exhaust sound.
Elvis, whose career was declining at the time, purchased a used Pantera for $2,500 (equivalent to $13,000 today) to impress his girlfriend, Linda Thompson. Known for his fiery temper, including shooting his TV over a disliked program, Elvis once took his rage out on the Pantera. After an argument with Thompson, the car refused to start, pushing Elvis over the edge. In his fury, he shot the car twice, with one bullet ricocheting off the steering wheel into the windshield.
The Pantera was sold by Elvis in 1976, a year before his untimely death. In 1981, the car was traded for $300,000 worth of diamonds and eventually acquired by Robert Petersen, owner of the Petersen Museum, where the car is now displayed. Petersen expressed his excitement about owning a piece of history tied to one of Elvis' legendary outbursts, adding a unique allure to his collection.