Colorful Icons, A Pantera And A 911
Richard Papy is a lifelong car enthusiast and collector from Savannah, Georgia. He spends his free time searching for cars and the next big find. Recently serving as the President of Savannah’s Oglethorpe Driving Club, Richard is always happy to share his passion and his cars with others.
Q: What are the makes, years, and models of these two cars?
A: 1974 DeTomaso Pantera S/N 7241 (I think around 7500 was the last of them).
1969 Porsche 911E S/N 00319, which was the first year of the E model. This one was completed in November of ’68.
Q: How did you acquire each of the cars, and what made you go for them?
A: I’d known about the Pantera since the day it arrived at the Ford dealer in Savannah in January of 1975. They were one of the few Pantera dealerships, and this one was the last of the very few Panteras they had for sale. They actually never sold it, so it had been in the family its whole life.
The owner’s son drove it for a number of years then put it in storage in the back of the dealership. Over the previous 15 years or so, I had been asking him about selling it but to no avail. A little over a year ago, he finally gave in. Needless to say, the car has never been titled, and I have all of the original paperwork including the MSO and Bill of Lading when it came off the delivery truck, which even notes some damage that happened while unloading the car. I have a partner in this car, and I guess you could say we are the first owners. The car is about as original as you can get.
The Porsche was just a lucky find. I was looking for a project car and this one just appeared out of the blue in a Savannah garage and had already been restored. Thank God not many people knew about it. When I found out it was for sale, I bought it on the spot for not much more than some rusty Porsches I had already looked at.
Q: Since one is German and one is an Italian-American combination, what are they like to drive in comparison to each other?
A: Even though both are rear- or mid-engine cars they cannot drive any more different.
The Pantera has the design and beauty of an Italian supercar and the muscle of the massive Ford 351-cubic-inch power plant. It has a tremendous amount of torque and is super fast for a car of its era, but I have to sometimes remind myself that I am driving an Italian sports car and not an American muscle car.
Either way it’s a lot of fun and it’s a real head turner because a lot of people have never seen one.
The 911 is just pure pleasure to drive, and its beauty is timeless. Looking at the first ones that came out in the mid ’60s down to the 911s coming out in the present, the design and success they have achieved cannot be beat.
Q: What do you love about these cars? What makes them special to you?
A: I love both of these cars, because even though both are beautiful sports cars, they couldn’t be more opposite in design with all of the straight lines of the Pantera and the curves of the 911.
I cover both ends of the spectrum with these two cars.
Q: Do you have a thing for brightly colored vehicles, or is it a coincidence that these two are so colorful?
A: I didn’t plan to have such a colorful collection, but now that I do, I think I will continue the trend. I literally search websites every day looking at cars, and I think colorful cars is a theme that most collectors don’t follow. I already have my eye on a few cars that will fit right in!
Q: What are your favorite things about the Pantera? The Porsche?
A: My favorite thing about the Pantera is the power I feel when I sink back in the seat while running through the gears.
My favorite thing about the Porsche is its pure beauty and that it handles like a magnificent German sports car.
Q: Are these cars keepers, or do you think you’ll ever trade them for others?
A: I really get attached to any cars I have and am usually very reserved about selling them, because when I do, at some point in time I will regret it. However as everyone says, they all have a price!
Photography by Frazer Spowart