By Maz Woolley
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.
Greenlight has a strong presence in the world of TV and Film tie-in products. These allow them to reach a wider collector base and lead to many sales to people who would not otherwise collect model cars. This has been a strong contributor to their success in recent years. The Hollywood series of models are made in several scales in their product range: 1:18, 1:24, 1:43. and 1:64.
Their Elvis licensed products have been popular and there are several currently available. In 1:18 scale there is an MGA 1600 roadster as featured in the film Blue Hawaii. In 1:43 there are two models currently available both from 1971: a Stutz Blackhawk; and a De Tomaso Pantera. This article looks at the De Tomaso Pantera.
Elvis is said to have spent 2,400 US Dollars to buy this car as a gift to his then girlfriend Linda Thompson. Many stories are told about him shooting the car on several occasions which may or may not be entirely true, but which helped the rebel image he was struggling to retain in the early 1970s. The real car is now in the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
The 1971 Pantera was powered by a Ford V8 in an Italian body and was built in Italy and sold for a while by Lincoln Mercury dealers in the US. Sadly the car was not well built and was not reliable despite its strong Ford Mechanical parts.
Photographs of the car being driven by Elvis and at the museum show that the Greenlight has been finished to match the original well. I suspect that the casting is one produced by PCT Industries (Ixo parent company) as it has been produced in Bangladesh where Ixo has a factory. There is also a part work model of the De Tomaso in red which looks very similar and is also probably made by Ixo.
Items like the heavy plastic wipers, printed door handles, crooked indicator lenses, and hugely over bright chrome exhaust system all mark it out as a budget model. However, the yellow paint is well applied, and even the areas where it is thin seem to be the appropriate ones like air intakes. Inside the dashboard is printed as is the central console.
All in all a decent budget model of a vehicle with an interesting history which I am sure will be popular well beyond the normal market place for model car collectors.