1971 DeTomaso Pantera

1971 DeTomaso Pantera Coupe
Elvis Presley, who had a passion for both guns and cars, shot this Pantera with his personal firearm during a temperamental outburst when he lost patience because the car would not start. The two bullet holes on the steering wheel rim and one in the floor pan were never repaired and today serve as reminders of his occasional fits of rage. Elvis bought this Pantera for $2,400 in 1974 for his girlfriend, actress Linda Thompson. Although its mid-engine configuration qualified it for 'exotic car' status, the De Tomaso Pantera cost less than a comparable Ferrari or Lamborghini because of its relatively inexpensive, but still potent Ford engine.

Collection of Margie and Robert E. Petersen

Source - Peterson Museum
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.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2005
The Pantera was designed by famed stylist Tom Tjaarda and built by Formula One driver and industrialist Alejandro de Tomaso.

Worldwide approximately 1,500 Pantera's still exist, out of 7,200 produced between 1971 and 1996. In 1971 a new Pantera sold for approximately $10,500, while a new Corvette sold for $5,496.

This modified Pantera is powered by a Robert Yates 393 'Cleveland' engine with 550 horsepower using a ZF five-speed transaxle. It will accelerate from 0-60 in under four seconds and exceed 180 MPH.

1971 DeTomaso Pantera Coupe
Chassis #: THPNLE01423
Sold for $58,500 at 2008 Bonhams & Butterfields Sale of Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia.
This 1971 De Tomaso Pantera was restored in the early 1990s. In total, over 820 hours of labor and $61,000 were spent on the restoration. It is finished in light gold with tan leather interior. It is fitted with the large 351 cubic-inch Ford 'Cleveland' V8 which produces 330 horsepower. The Pantera's were capable of a top speed of 160 mph.

The Pantera was a very important car as they helped establish de Tomaso's presence in the American marketplace. The body was styled by Tom Tjaarda, son of Lincoln-Zephyr designer John Tjaarda, then working at Ghia. Vignale was tasked with performing the actual construction. The cars were given a wedge-shaped form with a pointed nose and disappearing headlamps. It is not fully known on how many examples were produced; Lincoln-Mercury claims to have sold more than 6,000 examples at a price around $9,000 at port of entry.

This example was offered for sale at the 'Quail Lodge, A Sale of Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia' where it was sold for $58,500 inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2008
1971 DeTomaso Pantera 1971 DeTomaso Pantera 1971 DeTomaso Pantera Coupe
The De Tomaso Pantera (Italian for Panther) followed the company's Mangusta model. It had styling by Tom Tjaarda of Ghia and was built by De Tomaso in Modena, Italy and marketed by Lincoln-Mercury largely in the United States. Alejandro de Tomaso owned Ghia from 1967, then sold his interest to Ford Motor Company in 1970. Ghia then became Ford's top-line styling marquee. Final Pantera production tallied 7,260 vehicles spanning twenty-one years from its first showing in March of 1970.

Initially, it was priced at $9,800 and powered by Ford's 351 cubic-inch Cleveland V8 producing 330 horsepower. With a strong monocoque chassis of steel, this 2-place sports car beckoned to be driven and could race from zero-to-sixty mph in about 5.5 seconds with excellent stopping power from 4-wheel disc brakes and performance rated tires on Campagnolo aluminum wheels. Initial difficulties meeting US import regulations required modifications of the first several hundred by Holman-Moody in Charlotte, NC, but once released, Pantera became the feature of Lincoln-Mercury showrooms.

Further fit, finish, and corrosion problems followed, and Ford Motor Co. dropped the line in 1975 after about 5,500 were sold in the US. Initially with chrome plated bumpers, the later Pantera L of 1972 (L for luxury) was fitted with large black bumpers and a lower powered engine. That model was followed by the Pantera GTS of 1974 with additional luxury and performance features with a return to higher output.

This particular example had just 26,000 miles on the odometer.

1971 DeTomaso Pantera 1971 DeTomaso Pantera Coupe
This car retains its original color, called 'Lime', and it was only available on the 1971 Pantera. Only 87 cars were painted this color, and very few have survived in this original color. This car is in mostly original, partially restored condition, and is still in the hands of the original owner.
1971 DeTomaso Pantera 1971 DeTomaso Pantera 1971 DeTomaso Pantera Coupe
Chassis #: THPNLS01992
Engine # 87400928
Sold for $112,200 at 2016 Bonhams : The Amelia Island Auction.
Sold for $148,500 at 2017 Gooding & Co. : Scottsdale, AZ.
Alejandro De Tomaso commissioned Lamborghini designer Gianpaolo Dallara to produce the chassis for his new mid-engined supercar, the Pantera. The Pantera was given unitary construction for the steel chassis/body, and powered by a Ford 351 CID Cleveland V8 engine (depending on the destination market). The styling was handled by Tom Tjaarda at Carrozzeria Ghia and with construction handled by Vignale -both companies being part of DeTomaso's empire in the early 1970s. DeTomaso had a long standing relationship with the Ford Motor Company which allowed the Pantera to be distributed through select Lincoln-Mercury dealerships in the USA.

For 1972, in order to comply with stricter emissions regulations, the DeTomaso received a lower compression, 248 horsepower Cleveland motor. The 'L' model of 1972 also received 'impact resistant' bumpers and improved cooling and air conditioning systems. In 1974, the GTS models were given flared wheel arches and in European trim, came with a 350 horsepower engine, larger wheels/tires 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. In 1974, Ford and DeTomaso parted ways due to the energy crises. DeTomaso continued to sell the Pantera in Europe for many years; it was still around in the 1990s having undergone a series of upgrades.

In 1980, the Pantera received its first major revision to its body, with the introduction of the GT5. It had a deep front air dam and delta-wing rear spoiler. The GTS5 was introduced in 1985, and incorporated further revisions to the bodywork and upgrades to its interior.

Bertone's Marcello Gandini, the stylist of Lamborghini's Miura and Countach, completely redesigned the Pantera in 1990, creating a virtually new model. Production of the Pantera continued until 1993.

This particular example is a Pre-L model that was built in July of 1971. It was delivered new to its selling dealer, Lee Douglass Lincoln-Mercury in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania on April 5th, 1972. It was soon sold to its first owner, a Mr. Leonard L. Seruka of Emmaus, PA on May 13th, 1972. It was later traded in to Pfeiffer Lincoln-Mercury in Grand Rapids, Michigan on August, 7th, 1980, showing a mere 9,199 miles from new. Its next owner was a Texas collector who had the car for a short time before selling it to the 3rd owner, Mr. Jim LaBar from Stuart, Florida. Mr. LaBar would retain the car for approximately 35 years; at some point in his ownership, the car was given a high quality paint job.

This Pantera is one of 87 examples ever made in the color of Lime Green (paint code #6) and is 1 of only 743 Pre-L models ever produced in 1971.

The odometer currently shows 11,600 miles. The car is mostly original except for a few upgrades includign a Momo steering wheel, Holley carburetor, and factory GTS wheels.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2016
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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