Jerry McGlothin: Italian Beauties, American Brawn

  • story by David M. Brown
  • posted on 10/2010
  • posted in: Great Garages

In 1956, Jerry McGlothin’s dad won a 1948 Dodge four-door sedan in a poker game in Seligman and gave it to him: “I’ve been hooked since.”

He grew up in Winslow and attended Arizona State University in Tempe, receiving three degrees in electrical engineering: bachelor’s, masters and doctorate. He taught electrical engineering in Beirut, Lebanon, and Northern Arizona University and also spent 13 years with Aireseach and Allied Signal in the Valley.

In 1964, Jerry bought a 1963 split-window Corvette coupe but had to sell it five years later to fund his academic career. He started collecting in 1979 with Corvettes and Jaguars. He’s continued with an emphasis on Italian-American hybrid exotics. “You get that lovely Italian styling along with the power and dependability of an American V-8 engine,” Jerry explains.

His DeTomaso collection contains two Mangustas and a Pantera, and his other Italian-American cars include a 1966 Milt Brown Apollo, also called Vetta Ventura, coupe and a 1965 Vetta Ventura convertible, and a 1963 Italia Spyder conversion. In addition, he has three Jaguar E-Types, a coupe and two convertibles, and a 1990 GTD 40 replica of the 1966 Ford Lemans GT40.

Pure exotics, such as Ferrari, Aston Martin, Maserati, Lamborghini and Jaguar have high maintenance costs, he says. In contrast, hybrid builders such as Gordon Keeble, Giotto Bizzarrini and Iso used Chevrolet for their power, and Dual Ghia, Facel Vega, Bristol and Jensen looked to Chrysler. 

DeTomaso used Ford V-8s, and Shelby Ford engines in the Britain-sourced A. The Milt Brown Apollo, which was made in Oakland, Calif., 1962–1963, mated a Buick V-8 with a Corvette transmission fitted to a Ron Plescia/Franco Scaglione-designed body made by Intermeccanica of Turin, Italy. The same company also developed the Frank Griffith/Davenport/Franco Scaglione Ford V-8-powered Italia.

“The central issue in choosing a hybrid is how well the chassis was designed to accept the American V-8, whether it is mid- or front-engined and, of course, the designer, Jerry says. “I prefer Giorgio Giugiaro, who was very prolific, designing for Maserati (Ghibli, Bora, Merak), DeTomaso (Mangusta) and many others. Also, I appreciate Franco Scaglione’s work in cars such as the Apollo and the Italia.”

You’ll appreciate Jerry’s garaged treasures, as he describes them:

•1972 DeTomaso Pantera — “The Pantera was designed for DeTomaso by the American Architect Tom Tjaarda. I purchased this from the original owner who was vice president of design for U-Haul. Over the years, he rebuilt the car at least four times, finally ending up with what is known in the Southwest as the Harry DeShong Pantera.

“The only body modification was the removal of the four side marker lights. The car is an early car with a flat decklid. The interior is based on Ferrari F355 seats, electrically adjustable with integral seatbelt, and a custom leather interior by Nick Kulukian of Phoenix.

“Mechanicals feature a 550-horsepower 351-cubic-inch Cleveland block bored out to 408 cubic inches with custom HalTech fuel injection, a custom intake manifold and Brodix racing cylinder heads, a complete Wilwood brake system and a rebuilt German ZF transmission with high speed gearing. A full body and undercarriage paint and suspension powder-coating was done.

“The car has a superb sound system which cannot be heard at speed but is nice when stopped at traffic lights.”

•1969 DeTomaso Mangusta — “I purchased this from the third owner in Ohio. It is number 21 of 401 and is a European version with the Ford 289 engine. All mechanicals have been rebuilt to original specification, a new leather interior was installed and the car painted black. It has many interesting features characteristic of the early production cars and has never needed any rust repair.”

•1990 GTD 40 replica — “The car, built by GT Developments in England, 1989–1990, was the first replica of the famous Ford GT40 race cars which won many victories in 1965–1966, culminating with a 1-2-3 finish of the 1966 Lemans race. The GTD 40s have been proven on the race tracks in England for 20 years.

“This car has right-hand drive, right-hand shift, the Dan Gurney bubble in the roof, wide-body rear tail section, air-inlet snorkels, wide racing tires and four Weber carburetors and the ‘bundle of snakes’ crossover exhaust. 

“The engine is a Roush built Ford 342-cubic-inch unit producing 486 horsepower in a 2,800 pound car. The car does sub-11-second quarter mile runs. Like the Shelby Cobra, the GT40 has spawned many replicas, some costing in excess of $100,000, but many of them are more suited for the USA with left-hand drive and center shift — completely unlike the original cars.”

•1972 Jaguar Series 3 E-Type convertible — “This was just purchased out of San Clemente, Calif. The 1971-72 E-Type was the early version of the V-12-powered cars and is considered to be the most elegant and powerful V-12 Jaguars — without the ugly 5-mph impact bumpers front and rear and without all the emission control features in the 1973–1974 cars. This car also does not have air-conditioning which produces a cleaner appearing engine compartment and eliminates the AC vents in the cockpit, yielding a more elegant radio console/dash as in the earlier E-Types.”

•1966 Vetta Ventura coupe — “It’s one of 77 coupes, and the 1965 convertible is one of 11 cars. They were purchased from a lady in Detroit who inherited them from her father who lived on the upper peninsula in Michigan. Her dad initially bought the coupe to use as a parts car for the convertible but decided the coupe, having a rust-free body, was too nice to part out and, instead, he restored it. I am currently embarking on a full restoration of the convertible.”

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