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De Tomaso Pantera: Buying guide and review (1971-1993)

De Tomaso Pantera: Buying guide and review (1971-1993) Classic and Performance Car
De Tomaso Pantera De Tomaso Pantera De Tomaso Pantera
American muscle meets Italian beauty: an all-time-great combination. Ford wanted a mid-engined sports car to sell in its Mercury showrooms and the De Tomaso Pantera was the result. 
De Tomaso was founded in 1959 by Argentinian racer Alejandro de Tomaso. He started his business manufacturing a very limited number of racing cars or prototypes, a venture that continued into the 1970s and included the car that the Williams team used for the 1970 Formula 1 season. 
In the early 1960s De Tomaso progressed to normal production sports models, launching the four-cylinder, Ford-powered Vallelunga in 1964. It was the world’s second mid-engined production car, having been narrowly beaten by the Matra Djet. The Mangusta followed the Vallelunga in 1966, built in co-operation with Ford and equipped with the American V8 engine that would become a signature De Tomaso feature.
After building around 400 Mangustas, in 1970 De Tomaso launched the Pantera in partnership with Ford. The American engineers took a look at the Mangusta, and thought its backbone chassis was too weak. So Detroit-born car designer Tom Tjaarda, who had just started working for Ghia, was asked to create something more US-friendly, ready for mass production using modern unitary construction techniques. Ford would provide its 351ci Cleveland V8 engine. 
It became the best-known symbol of the De Tomaso company, with more than 6100 built up to the end of 1973. That’s when Ford, under pressure from the fuel crisis, ended the partnership. De Tomaso continued with production alone and the Pantera carried on, in much reduced numbers, until 1993 – the year Alejandro de Tomaso suffered his stroke. Other models joined the range in an attempt to counteract the falling sales of De Tomaso’s most glamorous product, but the golden era of Ford support was over.
The company lasted ten more years after the Pantera’s demise, fighting for survival every day along the way. The final Bigua model never reached production under that name but it did get a brief second life as the Qvale Mangusta (and a third life, with a new body, as the MG XPower SV). Founding father Alejandro’s health worsened, and after his death in 2003 the family sold what remained of the company to ruthless investors.

Which Pantera to buy? 

Early Panteras hit the streets in 1971 and Ford officially imported the Pantera into the USA from 1972 until 1975, when it withdrew support. The small Italian company carried on building the Pantera, continually upgrading the styling and increasing power. In 1985, the GT5 was launched, with huge flared arches, Pirelli P7s and more than 350bhp to give it an almost Countach-like muscular appearance and performance. Production finally ended in 1993, by which point 7260 had been produced. 
Although early cars seemed troublesome to American buyers, with electrical and cooling faults, to this day there is still a huge following all over the globe. Thank that combination of sexy styling and easygoing V8 power. 
People are now starting to appreciate the clean and uncluttered styling of the early Panteras, more than the wide-arch/big-spoilered look of the later versions. The fact that Ford’s V8 is so easy to coax more power from means that a lot of Panteras have been tuned, and anything imported from the USA will almost certainly have been modified in some way. 
Cheap Pantera running costs are a popular misconception. They can be just as expensive, in some cases more so, that the more run-of-the-mill exotics. Don’t let the Ford engine fool you into thinking they’re cheap to run. 

Performance and specs

Engine 5763cc V8
Power 330bhp @ 5400rpm
Torque 325lb ft @ 3400rpm
Transmission Five-speed ZF transaxle
Weight 1328kg
0-60mph 5.8sec
Top speed 158mph 

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase 2515mm
Length 4255mm
Width 1803mm
Height 1099mm
Weight 1382kg

Common problems 

• That engine, originally a 351ci (5766cc) V8, produced 330bhp in standard form and is relatively unstressed. It needs regular servicing and setting up like any supercar’s though; it’s not as bulletproof as people seem to think. It can start to get difficult and expensive when more exotic performance parts are used, and it’s sometimes difficult working out which version of the V8 you have. 
• The original ZF five-speed transaxle gearbox is the same unit used in the Ford GT40, although it runs upside down. It’s a well-built ’box and generally doesn’t need much maintenance, but can be prohibitively expensive to repair if it is whining or crunching. 
• Parts are no longer available from ZF, but certain components have been remanufactured in California, and there are specialists who can rebuild the whole ’box. They used to say it cost De Tomaso more to buy the gearbox than to build the rest of the car – the principle is still true! 
• Expect to pay at least £2000 for a basic rebuild, double that if it needs a more thorough going over. 
• Parts prices and availability vary wildly: a lot of mechanical components are readily available, but certain pieces of trim and body panels are non-existent. All the major suspension components are available from the States and there are various components shared with other Italian cars, which can be a big help. There’s a reasonable supply of used parts to be found online if you’re patient. 
• Due to the huge number of Panteras that have been modified, it can be difficult to find a completely original one. The nature of the engine means it’s easy to extract big power. Appealing, but it was often done with reckless disregard for the rest of the car. People didn’t upgrade suspension and brakes as well as they should. 
• It’s possible to use modern components to build a more usable Pantera. There are many popular upgrades, like the 17-inch replica Campagnolo wheels, which look like the original 15-inch alloys. Modern 17-inch tyres are much easier to find. 
• It’s no surprise that they rust, just as badly as any Alfa or Fiat from the same era, especially if they are fitted with wide-arch kits, factory or otherwise. Like all mid-engined supercars, once corrosion has spread, a full mechanical stripdown will be required before it can be repaired. It is best to check the floorpan and around the sills for any signs. 
• There are a few problem areas, but the most difficult and expensive to repair is the foam-filled box section that sits below the rear of the roof panel. Check the front valance and all major panels, as moisture can find its way into the double-skinned bonnet and engine cover, causing problems. 

Model history 

February 1971: First ‘Pre-L’ Panteras launched in Europe. Identifiable now by push-button door handles. Around 382 built. 
May 1971: First Panteras sold in USA. 
November 1971: Pantera GTS launched in Europe, with flared arches, wider rear wheels, slightly less restrictive exhaust and minor suspension and brake changes. 
August 1972: First models imported into USA with the bigger (and much heavier) 5mph ‘safety’ bumpers, as well as ‘L’ (for Lusso – luxury) specification. 
1973: Wide-body GT4 launched in Europe. Complete with lower-profile Pirelli P7 tyres. 
1974: Pantera GTS launched in USA, with uprated carburettor and wide wheelarches. 
Mid-1974: Ford USA teminates deal with De Tomaso and imports cease. De Tomaso sources engines from Ford of Australia instead. 
1981: GT5 introduced, larger rear spoiler and front air-dam. New interior. 
1986: New GT5-S gets integrated steel arch flares. About 180 built up to 1990. 
1991: Pantera Si with 5.0-litre injected Ford V8 and Marcello Gandini restyle launched. 
1993: Production ends. 

Owners clubs, forums and websites

• www.detomasodc.co.uk
• www.pantera.net
• www.threepointfour.co.uk

Summary and prices 

They look fantastic, and with that unmistakable Detroit rumble from ‘under the hood’, a well-kept Pantera is a seriously special car. They still offer good value compared with other Italian supercars, but prices are most certainly on the rise. Original and early examples are starting to be taken seriously for their classic appeal and styling – not just because they can be made to go very quickly. 
Prices in the UK can start from as low as £25,000-30,000, but that will buy you something needing a lot of time and money spending on it. Realistically, £45,000 is where usable cars are found, but an exceptional fully restored Pantera could cost anything from £75,000. GTS and GT4 models go for around £60,000-£70,000 in top condition, and any GT5 or GT5-S about £10,000 more. 
A handful of right-hand-drive cars were built for the UK, and a fair amount have since been converted, and this can add a slight premium over imported models. You can still find good Panteras in Europe, or even import one from the States if you are feeling adventurous, with good cars beginning at about $40,000 and going to over $100,000 for the most desirable GTS models.
De Tomaso Pantera De Tomaso Pantera De Tomaso Pantera
Last updated: 20th Jan 2017
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DeTomaso Pantera cars for sale

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DeTomaso Pantera
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  • DeTomaso Pantera

    $70,000(£54,257) $70,000(£54,257)

    FOR SALE 73 Pantera w/ massive memorabilia collection Located in Washington State vin#THPNM004400 This single owner, low mileage (97,476mi on the original motor), nearly fully restored(around 90-95%just needs breaks and a wiring harness) Pantera has more documentation with it than I've ever seen with any car ever. Starting with the dealership window sticker its documented all the way back to 72'. Every penny spent on maintenance ever, every oil change, every visit to the dealership to be serviced. I dont believe its ever spent a single night outside a garage. The Grabber Blue factory paint is original and in good condition and the car is rust free ( it's been sitting in a garage for quite some time. There's a bit of dust on it in the photos.) This Pantera also comes with a massive memorabilia collection that probably belongs in a museum. From the De Tomaso promotional sign from the dealership to a De Tomaso ashtray and coffee cup, this collection has it all. Tons of technical manuals and spec books(including the original owners manual). All kinds of Pantera publications from Pantera coffee table books to magazines that featured the Pantera. Theres Pantera models and hot wheels, framed pantera photos, posters, artwork, certificates, patches, stickers,theres even a De Tomaso belt buckle with a Pantera on it and an old Turtle Wax can with a Pantera on the front. The car and collection belonged to a dear friend of the family who is currently on his death bed and so the proceeds for selling the car will be going to the family to help pay for his end of life expenses. He collected all this stuff and took meticulous loving care of his car and so it is my responsibility to find a home for it where the dream can live on. I'll be adding more photos and information as soon as they become available to me (engine bay and under chassis photos coming soon) If youre interested in pricing, photos of the collection or more info please call or text Joshua@+1(808)464-8456 I have more pictures of the memorabilia collection than I can post so please feel free to contact me about any of it.

    • Year: 1973
    • Mileage: 97476 mi
    For sale
    Joshua Moyes
  • 1972 De Tomaso Pantera


    De Tomaso's replacement for their successful Mangusta in 1971 was the avant-garde and stylish Pantera. Maintaining the best of the ingredients from the Mangusta, including the mid-mounted 300 horsepower, Ford 351ci, V8 Cleveland engine, five-speed ZF transaxle and dramatic styling, the Pantera also added monocoque construction in to the mix, the first instance of De Tomaso using this construction technique. The Pantera was produced until 1991 with the last one being delivered to a customer in 1992. It was designed by American, Tom Tjaarda, making its public debut in Modena in March 1970 and was presented at the New York Motor Show a few weeks later. Power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes and rack and pinion steering were all standard equipment on the Pantera which could accelerate from 0-60mph in an eye-watering 5.5 seconds. The cars sold well with various derivatives emerging from the factory although it is the early cars that have a certain purity ensuring they remain the most attractive and thus collectible. This award winning Pantera was the subject of a comprehensive nut and bolt restoration in 2000. The car was completely stripped and the 351 Cleveland engine, together with th

    • Year: 2017
    For sale
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