Showdown: Aging Supercar Threesome Edition

It’s been a while since our last Showdown, mostly because making the poll takes an extra few minutes and we refuse to keep our loyal readers waiting that long for quality content.  Anyway, last time the Cosmo gave the Lancer a serious tri-rotoring.
Speaking of threes, for today’s Showdown we just couldn’t keep it one-on-one. It all started with this absolutely gorgeous Ferrari 308 GTS, but we knew we couldn’t just bring you a picture of a pretty Ferrari and call it a day. No, no, no we had to counter the balance and high-revving song of the Italian V8 with the more beefy American brute force powering the Pantera. Topping it all off, we’ve got a ride that’s likely to shame the other two on a track, provided you’re ok with everyone thinking you own a strip club in Miami.
How could you not jump?

We’re firmly of the opinion that Retail Red is for suckers; black is the new black. We don’t care if the 308 is far from the crew in Maranello’s finest work, it’s got a revvy V8 and killer lines. The 308 and 328 earn points in our book for being remotely affordable and (relatively) simple to maintain. Sure, stuff breaks, but HVAC switches are nothing compared to a flappy-paddle gearbox. We’d like to believe the black-on-black-on-black color scheme would cut down on the Magnum PI references and people asking you what happened to your gold chains. You could do a lot worse for $29,990.

Would you rather have a car that purred, or rumbled? The Pantera serves up a steel-toed kick in the ass to the dainty lightweight fiberglass cars of the 70s, offering Cleveland (rocks!) power and a steel body. Sure, cooling’s a relatively notorious issue on these cars, but modern aluminum radiators and high-powered fans can get the job done. Ford power means there’s no shortage of ways to wring more ponies from your Panther. If you’re truly batty, you could always go HemiPanter. This example could benefit from a little fit and finish work, and a maybe repainting that front bumper to match the body. The Pantera-specialist dealer says they’re still looking for backup offers at $37 grand.

In case you hadn’t heard, Bob Lutz’ last day at GM was a little while ago. While many remember him for such spectacular failures at the GTO and G8, it’s important to remember he was a driving force behind the creation of the Viper in his Chrysler days. In honor of that, and because it’s definitely the fastest of the three, we also offer up a 2005 Dodge Viper. In a way, it’s a kindred spirit to the Pantera, eschewing balance and grace for Hammer of Thor grade brutality. To date, the Viper is the scariest vehicle I’ve ever driven. With 10 cylinders, 500hp and six gears to play with, you there’s not much out there that’d stand a chance…provided you can avoid wrapping the whole thing around a tree. We’re kinda cheating here, because this one has a salvage title, purportedly due to a minor wreck that required some work on the nose cone. The reserve’s not met at $29k, but the Buy It Now’s only $36k.

[poll id=”18″]

39 Comments

  1. I cant argue with the looks of a good 308. I agree the black really does it justice.
    But if i was REALLLY into Ferraris i'd have nothing short of a red<\\i> Testarossa. I mean LOOK at it

  2. This is a tough choice. The 308 is the prettiest of the bunch, but it will also be the most temperamental and probably the slowest. A 328 from the mid '80s would be better. Also, who's the idiot who slapped yellow Scuderia badges on the front fenders? Pantera? Great in theory, awful in practice. Breakdowns waiting to happen. No-one ever used DeTomaso and "jewel-like" together in a sentence without a negative qualifier. Dumb add-on stuff, too. Viper? Uh oh, salvage title. It could be a minor thing or it could be a disaster on four wheels. I'm not interested in finding out – I'd rather spend a few thousand more for a clean title and service history. So none of these really float my boat, though at gunpoint I might pick the Ferrari.

  3. I think I'd just get the Viper and play PANTERA on the stario, I'd be Goddamn electric. (thats the title of a song by the thrash metal band Pantera)

      1. did he really have to explain it?… he didn't for me… and i assume it wasn't needed for you either, since you commented…..
        are they really that "out there" that they need explanation..?? i hope not… i met them back 'in the day' (2000) before the shooting incident.. and they were/are some downright decent guys…..
        **obligatory**
        " is there no standard anymore?
        what it takes,
        who i am,
        where i've been,
        belong.
        You can't be something you're not
        be yourself, by yourself
        stay away from me
        a lesson learned in life
        known from the dawn of time
        RE..
        SPECT..
        WALK
        WHAT D'YOU SAY?"

      2. did he really have to explain it?… he didn't for me… and i assume it wasn't needed for you either, since you commented…..
        are they really that "out there" that they need explanation..?? i hope not… i met them back 'in the day' (2000) before the shooting incident.. and they were/are some downright decent guys…..
        **obligatory**
        " is there no standard anymore?
        what it takes,
        who i am,
        where i've been,
        belong.
        You can't be something you're not
        be yourself, by yourself
        stay away from me
        a lesson learned in life
        known from the dawn of time
        RE..
        SPECT..
        WALK
        WHAT D'YOU SAY?"

        1. crap… forgot to reply to the actual comment… have just had all kinds of pantera lyrics running through my head..
          umm… i've always wanted a pantera. and this looks like a b*d*ss version… i'd rather have it and have people ask
          also… miss amber, i love your handiwork with the hoonimerch and hold a very, very high level of respect for your love of VWs!

          1. i somehow seem to have two log-in names here… and the one i'm not familliar with seems to be the default… can any of you 'moderators' figure out how/why ladle666 and chrystlubitshi are registered to chrystlubitshi's email addy…??
            (has my wife hacked my account……….???? uh oh)

  4. That black 308 would look so sweet next to my black Fusion. I've never been Metal enough for a Pantera; I'm more of a '64 Valliant (and a handful of Valium) Punk type. I was really leaning Viper until I came to my senses and rightfully wondered how on earth "minor front cone damage" can result in a salvage title.
    So, while I'd prefer the GTB to the GTS, the 308 it is!

  5. I like the Viper, but the salvage title bit is scary. I used to know this guy with a Viper ACR coupe. He took me for a hell ride in it once and it was intense. Brutally fast car. I didn't know that Panteras had cooling issues, and living in Arizona would just make that worse. So, the winner by default for me would be the 308. I wouldn't mind having one of those one bit. Yeah, looks great in black.

  6. Gotta go with the Pantera here though after hearing a similar Viper tear-ass around the racetrack a few weeks ago, 36k is sounding pretty attractive.

    1. Call me a Cowboy From Hell, because that Pantera does it for me.
      You could either be low man on the totem pole with the Ferrari, a highlight of any car show with the Pantera, or be run of the mill in the Viper club.

  7. Thirty six grand for a Pantera that isn't an Albert Hall full of rust holes is a steal. That 308 has been around a looooooong time, and there must be something fishy with it. That being said, the carb cars are starting to creep up from their near-twenty basement, and 30K from a dealer isn't unexpected. The Viper, on the other hand, is still on its descent and would make the poorest investment of the three looking at them all over the next five or so years.

  8. Thirty six grand for a Pantera that isn't an Albert Hall full of rust holes is a steal. That 308 has been around a looooooong time, and there must be something fishy with it. That being said, the carb cars are starting to creep up from their near-twenty basement, and 30K from a dealer isn't unexpected. The Viper, on the other hand, is still on its descent and would make the poorest investment of the three looking at them all over the next five or so years.

  9. Incredibly difficult, assuming money doesn't matter Pantera, otherwise, Ferrari, whoever thought you'd hear those words?
    That Ferrari looks absolutely perfect in Black, the Pantera looks terrible in that Red IMO.
    If reliablity et. al mattered? Viper, well one w/o a salvage title there are a couple green title vipers floating around detroit craigslist south of 40k.

  10. Incredibly difficult, assuming money doesn't matter Pantera, otherwise, Ferrari, whoever thought you'd hear those words?
    That Ferrari looks absolutely perfect in Black, the Pantera looks terrible in that Red IMO.
    If reliablity et. al mattered? Viper, well one w/o a salvage title there are a couple green title vipers floating around detroit craigslist south of 40k.

  11. This is a tough choice. The 308 is the prettiest of the bunch, but it will also be the most temperamental and probably the slowest. A 328 from the mid '80s would be better. Also, who's the idiot who slapped yellow Scuderia badges on the front fenders? Pantera? Great in theory, awful in practice. Breakdowns waiting to happen. No-one ever used DeTomaso and "jewel-like" together in a sentence without a negative qualifier. Dumb add-on stuff, too. Viper? Uh oh, salvage title. It could be a minor thing or it could be a disaster on four wheels. I'm not interested in finding out – I'd rather spend a few thousand more for a clean title and service history. So none of these really float my boat, though at gunpoint I might pick the Ferrari.

  12. This is a tough choice. The 308 is the prettiest of the bunch, but it will also be the most temperamental and probably the slowest. A 328 from the mid '80s would be better. Also, who's the idiot who slapped yellow Scuderia badges on the front fenders? Pantera? Great in theory, awful in practice. Breakdowns waiting to happen. No-one ever used DeTomaso and "jewel-like" together in a sentence without a negative qualifier. Dumb add-on stuff, too. Viper? Uh oh, salvage title. It could be a minor thing or it could be a disaster on four wheels. I'm not interested in finding out – I'd rather spend a few thousand more for a clean title and service history. So none of these really float my boat, though at gunpoint I might pick the Ferrari.

    1. You've been struck by the mysterious missing picture bug.
      Clear your cache and/or switch to Chrome.
      …and we're still working on it, but we're largely stumped on this one. Sorry.

      1. Do you know why my Google RSS feed stopped working as well? I had the image issue, but I cleared it up by clearing FF cache.

  13. I think I'd just get the Viper and play PANTERA on the stario, I'd be Goddamn electric. (thats the title of a song by the thrash metal band Pantera)

  14. I like the Viper, but the salvage title bit is scary. I used to know this guy with a Viper ACR coupe. He took me for a hell ride in it once and it was intense. Brutally fast car. I didn't know that Panteras had cooling issues, and living in Arizona would just make that worse. So, the winner by default for me would be the 308. I wouldn't mind having one of those one bit. Yeah, looks great in black.

    1. Cooling Issues?! Pshaw… Go Faster!….
      That other place we used to hang out once asked,"What's the craziest weather you've ever driven in?"
      I remember one time crossing the Mojave when the ambient air temperature got over 120, and they stopped all the Trucks because the road temperature was over 180 and this would by itself blow tires, and any lugged all-season big truck tire would just rip up the road and throw asphalt all over.
      They had stopped us just at the base of a little hill, and a bunch of us walked up to the corner to see how bad it was. The CHP cop was about to let us go up when some guy in a Pantera hammered through and you could see how the asphalt folded under its tires. We all walked back and waited for dark, and I've wanted a Pantera ever since.

    2. Cooling Issues?! Pshaw… Go Faster!….
      That other place we used to hang out once asked,"What's the craziest weather you've ever driven in?"
      I remember one time crossing the Mojave when the ambient air temperature got over 120, and they stopped all the Trucks because the road temperature was over 180 and this would by itself blow tires, and any lugged all-season big truck tire would just rip up the road and throw asphalt all over.
      They had stopped us just at the base of a little hill, and a bunch of us walked up to the corner to see how bad it was. The CHP cop was about to let us go up when some guy in a Pantera hammered through and you could see how the asphalt folded under its tires. We all walked back and waited for dark, and I've wanted a Pantera ever since.

  15. It kills the mullet-head in me but I have to go with the Ferrari. I just can't get past how bad the interior is on the Pantera. Does anyone make a total re-fit for them? One that doesn't look like a cobbled together kit car? The Ferrari just looks like a more fun place to spend some time.

  16. I chose the Pantera, but my second choice was the Viper. "Not the Ferrari," you ask? Nope. Sure the car from Maranello is pretty, and affordable by Ferrari standards, but after seeing a Viper destroy itself in front of me because some punk kids didn't know what to do with all that PAH! I decided that I wanted that challenge.

  17. Pantera: It's sophisticated enough to hob-nob with the elite, yet visceral enough to steal the elite's drink, smoke all their cigars and bed their wife, her younger sister and the mistress… simultaneously without losing their status in the club.

  18. The only thing tough about this is deciding which car you would KILL on the track first….the Ferrari or the Pantera. Viper all day for me!

  19. I had a female engineer that worked for me that bought and used a Pantera as her daily driver. You could hear her coming three blocks away. It was absolutely awesome!
    I've never had the chance to drive the Ferrari. I've driven the Pantera (my engineer let me) and the Viper. Both are raw beasts of terror. Personally, I'd go for the Pantera for its uniqueness, and generally better lines than the Viper.

    1. I suspect you purposely avoided becoming a Veep at that one company you worked for just to avoid having to follow through on the "If I become a VP, I'll buy a Ferrari" pledge.

    2. I suspect you purposely avoided becoming a Veep at that one company you worked for just to avoid having to follow through on the "If I become a VP, I'll buy a Ferrari" pledge.

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