The Pantera was the result of an Argentinian racing driver (Alejandro De Tomaso), Italian engineering and American muscle. The styling was handled by Tom Tjarda while Giampaolo Dallara was responsible for the structural design. Looking at the vehicle, it greatly resembles that of the Lamborghini offspring. The reasoning for this resemblance could be attributed to Giampaolo Dallara who was also aided in the designing of the Lamborghini Miura.
The wing on the back was optional. If used, it would help by providing down force and aided in stability, however, it also slowed the vehicle down and decreased the visibility out the rear-view mirror.
The engine was a V8 borrowed from the Ford Mustang and the 5-speed transaxle was that of the Ford GT40. The design of the car was intended to be simple. The reasoning was to mass-produce these easy-to-assemble cars. An ambitious goal of 5,000 vehicles a year was set. Ford aided with some of the financing. Their part of the deal was to retain distribution rights in the US while DeTomaso could have the European market. Ford was the first to back out, after energy crises were becoming more common in the 1970's, coupled with poor build quality of the vehicle. DeTomaso continued but in limited production.
The Pantera was designed by Ghia stylist Tom Tjaarda and Giam Paolo Dallara was engaged for chassis and production design. The DeTomaso Pantera was conceived with a full monocoque chassis layout and is built around Ford's then-new 5.7-liter (351 cubic-inch) 'Cleveland' V8. The engine featured deep-breathing heads patterned after the very successful Boss 302 design, 4-barrel carburetion and 4-bolt main bearing caps. The new V8 was mated to a ZF fully synchronized 5-speed transaxle with limited slip, and rated at 310 horsepower (SAE Gross, 1971 trim).
The Pantera is DeTomaso's most significant production car to date, and lived an overall production life of nearly 25 years.
The Pantera represents a unique partnership between an Italian coach builder and Ford Motor Company. Combining exotic Italian styling wîth a reliable, easy-to-service Ford engine, the Pantera was available at select Lincoln-Mercury dealers across the Ú.S. Early models suffered from overheating and other problems. However, the Pantera was fast, beautiful, and relatively inexpensive. About 6,000 of these Italian-American hybrids were sold in the Únited States from 1971-1974.Source - AACA Museum
There were around 6,128 examples of the DeTomaso Pantera created, each selling for around $10,000. The Pantera's were sold through Lincoln-Mercury dealers.
The owner of this example acquired the vehicle from its original owner, a Ford executive. It is very unique because of its special order, one-off paint color. By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2010
Alejandro de Tomaso, an Argentinian by birth, opened the doors of De Tomaso Modena SpA in 1959 with the company lasting until voluntary liquidation in June of 2004. His first serious, series production car was the Mangusta. he built about 400 of them through 1971 using Ford's iron-block 289 ci, 4.7-liter V8 and then followed it with the Tom Tjaarda-designed Pantera (panther) in 1971 using the high-torque 351 ci, 5.8-liter V8 with 300 horsepower in a much revised chassis, upping production massively, to 6,128 examples between 1971 and 1973. Thereafter, production slowed as the Ford deal unraveled to less than 100 cars a year through to the early 1980s. This example has just 5,000 miles.
Appearances can be deceptive. Beneath the De Tomaso Panteras (Italian for Panther) wedge-shaped fastback body lurks a Ford Cleveland V-8 engine. The Tom Tjaarda-designed Pantera represented a unique combination of cutting-edge Italian style and American muscle-car performance, launched in 1970 at the New York auto show.
The all-steel monocoque bodies were fabricated by Vignale in Turin and then shipped to De Tomaso's Modena factory for assembly. The mid-engine V8 is teamed up to a ZF five-speed transaxle; each corner was fitted with independent suspension. Ford began importing Panteras in 1971 for the American market; they were sold through Lincoln-Mercury dealers.
A total of 1,007 Panteras reached the United States that first year, but the cars were poorly built. Elvis Presley once fired a gun at his Pantera after it would not start.
Unfortunately the Italian supercar with a reasonable sticker price ran out of steam because De Tomaso had paid little heed to upcoming regulation changes. Reworking the car to meet the new safety standards was prohibitively expensive and the oil crisis dampened the demand for thirsty cars. Having sold just over 6,000 Panteras in the United Sates by 1974, it all came to an end and they were only available in the European market.
The DeTomaso Pantera made its public debut in Modena in March 1970, and was presented to the United States market at the 1970 New York Motor Show several weeks later. Approximately a year later, the first production Paneteras were sold through select Lincoln-Mercury dealers, and production eventually went to three per days.
Designed by American designer Tom Tjaarda and sold in the United States between 1971 and 1974, the Pantera offered Ferrari Daytona performance at less than half the price. The specification sheet was impressive: unibody construction, four-wheel power disc brakes and independent suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, power windows, Campagnola aluminum wheels and standard air-conditioning. Ford's 351 cubic-inch 4-barrel Cleveland V8 engine was mounted midship, mated to a five-speed ZF transaxle with gated shifter. DeTomaso promised 310 horsepower and 0-60 miles per hour in the six-second range.
This example was sold new in Michigan and has always been here. Amazingly, the first owner received the car as a 16th birthday gift. The second owner traded real estate for it. Amazingly, the current owner is the only one of the three to have paid actual money for it.
The Pantera is DeTomaso's most significant production car to date, and lived an overall production life of nearly 25 years. It is the model which most people identify with DeTomaso, and completed the company's transition to a volume producer of high perforamnce GTs. In describing the Pantera's career, especially from a U.S. perspective, it is easiest to view it in three separate stages: the Ford importation era (1971-1974), the post-Ford era (1975-1990) and the final iteration (1991-1994), as these last Panteras were substantially different than all prior machines. In the late 1960s, Ford was in need of a high performance GT to combat the likes of Ferrari and Corvette, and assist in generating additional dealership traffic for its mainstream product lines. DeTomaso Automobili was relying on Ford for engines used in the Mangusta and had purchased the Ghia design and coach-building concern. After Ford's failed attempt to purchase Ferrari, the Ford-DeTomaso marriage seemed quite natural, so a business / purchase arrangement was consummated and work began on new mid-engined GT. It would be marketed in the U.S. by Ford's Lincoln-Mercury division.
Ghia stylist Tom Tjaarda styled the new machine, and Giam Paolo Dallara was engaged for chassis and production design. The Pantera's layout differed from the Mangusta in several fashions. First, it was conceived with a full monocoque chassis layout, as opposed to the prior car's spine chassis design. Secondly, it to be built around Ford's then-new 5.7 liter (351 cubic-inch) 'Cleveland' V-8. This engine featured deep-breathing heads patterned after the very successful Boss 302 design, 4-barrel carburetion and 4-bolt main bearing caps. The new V-8 was mated to a ZF fully synchronized 5-speed transaxle with limited slip, and rated at 310 horsepower (SAE Gross, 1971 trim).
All of the expected race-inspired componentry is present: fully independent suspension with upper and lower A-Arms, coil-over shock absorbers, front and rear sway bars, 4-wheel power disc brakes, cast magnesium wheels by Campagnolo and rack-and-pinion steering. The front compartment houses the brake booster, master cylinder, battery and tool kit; the rear trunk unit, easily removable for engine access, holds a considerable amount of luggage. The interior features an aggressive cockpit design, full instrumentation, factory air conditioning and power windows. 1971 and 1972 cars carried chrome bumperettes front and rear.
In late 1972, the 'L' model was introduced, which features black safety bumpers front and rear, improved cooling and air conditioning systems and other enhancements. For 1973, the 'L' model continued with a revised dashboard and instrument layout. The last Panteras constructed for the US market were built in late 1974, and included approximately 150 GTS models. The GTS featured fender flares and additional black out paint trim. European versions received larger wheels, tires and other performance minded enhancements.
The first Panteras were marketed at 'Around $10,000' as the advertisements would say: the final 1974 units carried prices approximately $12,600.
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