1971 DeTomaso Pantera

Ferrari was defeated by Henry Ford II in international GT-class racing with the Ford-powered Shelby Daytona Coupes capturing the World Manufacturer's Championship for 1965. The Ford GT40s swept the top three places at Le Mans in 1966 along with numerous other accolades in the years that followed. However, Ford did not have a street-legal, mid-engine supercar to sell to an eager public; a problem that was later resolved with the introduction of the Pantera.

Alejandro de Tomaso was the son of an Argentinian government official. His passions and interests were more focused on motor racing than managing the fortune the family had accumulated, so he fled to Italy during the overthrow of the Péron government in 1955. During his racing career, he raced OSCA cars for the Maserati brothers, then formed his own company, DeTomaso Automobili SpA, in 1959. He built six Formula One cars in 1961, two with OSCA engines. His first road-going car was a mid-engine Ghia-bodied two-seater with Ford Cortina power, called the Vallelunga Coupe. Approximately fifty examples were built, along with a single spyder version, but its pressed-steel chassis proved problematic.

Alejandro married an American named Isabelle Haskell, heiress to an electrical components company in New Jersey. With plenty of financial resources, de Tomaso acquired Ghia. In 1969, he further developed the Vallelunga into the Mangusta (mongoose - an animal that can kill cobras, a nod to Mr. Carroll Shelby). It was essentially a racer for the street based on the Ford 70P racing car. The Mangusta had a Ford 302 cubic-inch V8 engine, ZF 5-speed transaxle, backbone chassis, Girling disc brakes, and a limited-slip differential. The mid-engine coupe wore a design by Giorgetto Giugiaro, then working at Ghia. The design was one that had been created for Renzo Rivolta's Iso marque but had been previously rejected. Between 1967 and 1970, approximately 300 examples were built with many being imported to the United States by Kjell Qvale of San Francisco.

During this time, de Tomaso had built a relationship with the Ford Motor Company, which proved instrumental in the next automotive venture, the Pantera. (Panther) For the Pantera, de Tomaso gave it a unitized body, and the larger 351 CID V8 developing 330 horsepower and giving it a 160 mph top speed.

The Pantera was penned by Tom Tjaarda, son of Lincoln-Zephyr designer John Tjaarda, then working at Ghia. Vignale performed the construction, also a de Tomaso company. It had a low, wedge-shaped design with a pointed nose and disappearing headlamps. Luggage space was available in both the front and rear.

The resulting De Tomaso Pantera was constructed in Italy and sold largely through Lincoln-Mercury dealers in the United States with a full factory warranty. It combined American-style comforts - including air conditioning and power windows, a 351 Cleveland V8 engine, and European performance features as rack-and-pinion steering, power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes, and a ZF transaxle.

DeTomaso introduced the Pantera in a public debut in Modena during March 1970 and was presented to the American public at the 1970 New York Motor Show just a few weeks later.

The first of several upgrades occurred in 1972 with the introduction of the 'L' model, which had 'impact resistant' bumpers and improved cooling and air conditioning systems. The GTS model of 1974 was distinguished by flared wheel arches, which in European trim came with a 350 horsepower engine, larger wheels and tires, and other performance upgrades. Around the same time, the GT/4 was introduced, a development of the Group 4 competition cars of 1972 and 1973. In 1980, the Pantera received its first major revision to its body style, with the introduction of the GT5 which, with its deep front air dam and delta-wing rear spoiler, was among the earliest examples to utilize these aerodynamic devices in a passenger car design. Introduced in 1985, the GTS5 had revised bodywork and significant upgrades to its interior. Bertone's Marcello Gandini, the stylist of Lamborghini's Miura and Countach, completely redesigned the Pantera in 1990.

In 1973, due to emissions regulations, the Pantera's power decreased. New bumpers required for U.S. DOT certification added nine inches and 50 pounds to the car. In 1974, U.S. imports were halted, but cars were available at retail well into 1975 as production continued in Italy. The Pantera later used engines from Australia, and it was briefly re-introduced to the United States in 1981, through an independent importer.

In 1973, Ford acquired Ghia from de Tomaso and two years later de Tomaso took over Maserati. Maserati was sold to Fiat in 1993, the year Alejandro de Tomaso suffered a stroke and retired from the business. He lived another decade, passing away in 2003.

Production of the Pantera, the world's longest-running supercar, came to an end in 1993.


by Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2020

Related Reading : DeTomaso Pantera History

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....
Continue Reading >>

Related Reading : DeTomaso Pantera History

The Pantera is DeTomasos 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 companys transition to a volume producer of high performance GTs. In describing the Panteras career, especially from a U.S. perspective, it is easiest to view it in three separate stages the Ford importation....
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1971 Vehicle Profiles

1971 DeTomaso Pantera vehicle information

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 own....[continue reading]

1971 DeTomaso Pantera vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: THPNLS01992
Engine Num: 87400928

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 Clevela....[continue reading]

1971 DeTomaso Pantera vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: THPNLE01423

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 'Clev....[continue reading]

1971 DeTomaso Pantera vehicle information

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, ....[continue reading]

1971 DeTomaso Pantera vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: THPNLJ02150

Lamborghini designer Gianpaolo Dallara was commissioned by Allesandro De Tomaso to produce the chassis for his new mid-engined supercar, the Pantera. By this point in history, the DeTomaso Mangusta coupe had helped establish the company and earned it....[continue reading]

1971 DeTomaso Pantera vehicle information

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 ....[continue reading]

1971 DeTomaso Pantera vehicle information

Coupe

This car was built in September of 1971 and shipped to the United States from Modena, Italy. Acquired by its current owner from its long-term previous owner in 2012, it was mechanically refreshed by Dennis Quella of Pantera Performance. This car is e....[continue reading]

1971 DeTomaso Pantera vehicle information

Coupe

This 1971 DeTomaso Pantera marks the first year of production for the model. Ford provided 351 Cleveland V8 engines and assisted De Tomaso in the final development of the Pantera, which was sold in Lincoln-Mercury dealers through 1974. There were app....[continue reading]

1971 DeTomaso Pantera vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: THPNLM02259

This DeTomaso Pantera was acquired by its second owner, Robert Fiander, in 1977 with 26,250 miles on the odometer. Currently, the car has just 30,000 miles. It spent time in long term storage before receiving a mechanical reconditioning, with the mot....[continue reading]

Coupe
 
Coupe
Chassis #: THPNLS01992 
Coupe
Chassis #: THPNLE01423 
Coupe
 
Coupe
Chassis #: THPNLJ02150 
Coupe
 
Coupe
 
Coupe
 
Coupe
Chassis #: THPNLM02259 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

$1,395-$9,050
1971 Pantera
$9,050-$35,600
1971 DeTomaso Pantera Base Price : $9,050

Model Year Production

#1#2#3DeTomaso
1976Chevrolet (2,103,862)Toyota (1,884,260)Ford (1,861,537)
1975Chevrolet (1,755,773)Toyota (1,714,836)Ford (1,569,608)
1974Chevrolet (2,333,839)Ford (2,179,791)Renault (1,355,799)
1973Chevrolet (2,579,509)Ford (2,349,815)Fiat (1,390,251)
1972Chevrolet (2,420,564)Ford (2,246,563)Fiat (1,368,216)
1971Ford (2,054,351)Chevrolet (1,830,319)Volkswagen (1,128,784)
1970Ford (2,096,184)Chevrolet (1,451,305)Volkswagen (1,193,853)
1969Chevrolet (2,092,947)Ford (1,826,777)Volkswagen (1,241,580)
1968Chevrolet (2,139,290)Ford (1,753,334)Volkswagen (1,191,854)
1967Chevrolet (2,206,639)Ford (1,730,224)Toyota (1,068,321)
1966Ford (2,212,415)Chevrolet (2,206,639)Volkswagen (1,168,146)

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