Tucked in a corner at The Petersen Automotive Museum is a bright yellow De Tomaso Pantera. The De Tomaso Pantera was an Italian super car produced from 1970 up till 1991 and over 7000 units were ever made. But the Pantera in this museum is no ordinary exotic supercar. It used to belong to Elvis Presley, who once shot this car and the bullet holes are still there to prove that this was the King’s former ride.
According to the museum’s collections manager, they were excited to get this car. Although it is not the rarest or nicest exotic car in their collection, but rather the history behind it that makes it an interesting display. After obtaining the car, it was stored at the museum’s garage. Once the car was tidied up to showroom quality, it was brought up to the show floor where visitors can take a closer look.
The De Tomaso Pantera was an Italian-American super car. It was made by the De Tomaso Car Company and it had a mid-engine layout, powered by a 351 Ford’s Cleveland V8 engine. This particular example was a 1971 model bought by Elvis in 1974 for his then girlfriend Linda Thompson.
The car appears to be in a fairly stock condition except for two minor “modifications” left by Elvis Presley. There are two bullet holes on the steering wheel and one at the floor bed. Why would Elvis Presley shoot a perfectly good car, especially when it is an exotic like this?
According to repeated stories often told by Elvis’ fans, Elvis Presley just had an argument with Linda Thompson and he wanted to leave but the car wouldn’t start. Infuriated by this, he pulled out his revolver and shot the car several times through the door. Years later, the car ends up in a sale along with other exotic rides. Museum officials got word of it and end up purchasing the car and they felt that it would be a special item for their museum collection.
Photo credit: elvis.com.au
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