Here we have a true design classic the cross breeding of perfect Italian design with the muscular heart of an American V8.
Having established himself as a serious automobile manufacturer with the Mangusta coupé, Alejandro De Tomaso commissioned Lamborghini designer Gianpaolo Dallara to produce the chassis for his new mid-engined supercar, the Pantera. Dallara opted for unitary construction for the steel chassis/body - abandoning the Mangusta's backbone frame - and competition-specification double wishbone/coil-spring suspension all round. The Ford Motor Company was De Tomaso's partner at the time of the Pantera's introduction in 1971 and thus the Pantera, like the Mangusta, relied on Ford V8 power. Mated to a ZF all-synchro five-speed transaxle, the 351ci (5.8-litre) Cleveland engine varied in output depending on the destination market, and in European trim came with 330bhp on tap, enabling the Pantera to complete the 0-60mph sprint in a little over 5 seconds and touch 160mph flat out. Styled by Tom Tjaarda at Carrozzeria Ghia, the stunning coupé body was in fact built by Vignale, both companies being part of De Tomaso's empire in the early 1970s. De Tomaso's longstanding relationship with the Ford Motor Company led to an arrangement whereby the Pantera was distributed through select Lincoln-Mercury dealerships in the USA, where a lower compression, 248bhp Cleveland motor (meeting stricter emissions regulations) was introduced for 1972. The 1974 energy crisis led to a parting of the ways between Ford and De Tomaso, who continued to sell the Pantera in Europe.
Exceptionally long-lived for a supercar, the Pantera was still around in the 1990s having undergone a series of upgrades. The first of these had appeared on the 'L' model of 1972, which featured 'impact resistant' bumpers and improved cooling and air conditioning systems. Flared wheel arches distinguished the GTS model of 1974, which in European trim came with a 350bhp engine, larger wheels/tyres and other performance enhancements. Introduced at approximately the same time was the GT/4, a development of the Group 4 competition cars of 1972/73. The first major revision of the Pantera's body style occurred in 1980 with the introduction of the GT5 which, with its deep front air dam and delta-wing rear spoiler, represented one of the earliest examples of these aerodynamic devices being applied to passenger car design. Introduced in 1985, the GTS5 incorporated further revisions to the bodywork while its interior was significantly upgraded, rivalling that of many a luxury limousine. In 1990 the Pantera was completely redesigned by Bertone's Marcello Gandini, stylist of Lamborghini's Miura and Countach, emerging as virtually a completely new model. Production of the world longest-running supercar finally ceased in 1993.
This particular Pantera has resided all her life in the dry sate of California. The odometer shows only 28,000 miles. Recently subject to bare metal respray the car shines in a unique shade of pearlescent silver. A new water pump has been fitted and the original cracked tyres were replaced recently. With a engine rebuild at 26185 miles the car is ready to be pressed straight into use as an everyday classic. The list of work carried out shows new Holly carburettor with Edelbrock intake, new distributor, new battery , Wilwood brakes, air conditioning with an R-134 conversion and chrome rear anti roll bar. The shocks are Koni adjustable shock absorbers, it has a sports exhaust. The tyres are shod with period correct XWX radial tyres for a true authentic driving experience. Also on file the magnesium wheels have been refurbished by a magnesium wheel specialist and truly shine. Period correct small quarter bumpers grace the nose and are a step up in design from the large American bumpers.
It recently completed a road trip from Manchester to Kent, eating up the miles with aplomb.
Accompanying documentation consists of an old US title deed, current MoT certificate and V5 registration document, There is a ream of original service manuals and receipts painting a comprehensive picture of this car. Presented in generally excellent condition, this rust free, low mileage Pantera must be one of the very best currently available.
MOT’d and ready to drive be quick to own this Italian/American exotica.