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Elvis Presley’s infamous Pantera shooting

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Elvis Presley's infamous Pantera shooting

Elvis Presley’s infamous Pantera shooting

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 problems 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 flight from Argentina to Italy, where he founded his car company.

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The Pantera, despite its advanced features such as electric windows and air conditioning, was notorious for its clumsy steering, unreliable pedals and tendency to overheat and vapor lock. The mechanics hated working on it, but the car still gained a loyal following, thanks in part to its powerful 351 Cleveland engine and distinctive exhaust note.

Elvis, whose career was in decline at the time, bought a used Pantera for $2,500 (equivalent to $13,000 today) to impress his girlfriend Linda Thompson. Known for his fiery temper, including filming his TV on a disliked program, Elvis once took out his anger on the Pantera. After an argument with Thompson, the car refused to start, pushing Elvis over the edge. In his anger he shot the car twice, with one bullet ending up through the steering wheel and into the windshield.

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The Pantera was sold by Elvis in 1976, a year before his untimely death. In 1981, the car was traded for $300,000 in diamonds and eventually acquired by Robert Petersen, owner of the Petersen Museum, where the car is now on display. Petersen expressed his excitement about owning a piece of history tied to one of Elvis’ legendary outbursts, adding a unique allure to his collection.

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