1972 DeTomaso Pantera
Chassis no. THPNMD04032
Engine no. 03002
*Mid-mounted 351ci Ford V-8
*Tom Tjaarda styling
*Five-speed ZF transaxle
*Desirable early build year
*California "blue-plate" example
First introduced in 1970 at the New York Auto Show, Alejandro de Tomaso's Pantera (Italian for "panther") quickly became one of the most revered supercars of the 1970s. Incorporating a chassis designed and built by Lamborghini designer Gian Paolo Dallara clothed in wedge styling by Tom Tjaarda, and mated to a mid-mounted Ford 351ci "Cleveland" V-8 engine, the Pantera combined exotic European style and engineering with a reliable American powerplant.
Ford quickly recognized De Tomaso as an opportunity to build upon its international endurance racing successes of the 1960s. Sold through select Lincoln-Mercury dealers from 1971 to 1974, the Pantera, which succeeded the De Tomaso Mangusta, offered 330hp driven through a gated five-speed manual transmission. This set up provided for terrific performance and superior handling abilities; Car and Driver recorded a zero-to-sixty time of 5.5 seconds and a top speed in excess of 150 miles per hour. The V-8's torque was harnessed thanks to power-assisted four wheel disc brakes, while rack and pinion steering was standard.
Several modifications were made for the 1972 model year. A new four-bolt main Cleveland engine was employed utilizing a lower compression ratio, chiefly to meet US emissions standards, but with more aggressive camshaft timing in an effort to reclaim some of the power lost through the reduction in compression. Many other engine changes were made, including the use of a factory exhaust header.
Amenities that American buyers expected, such as electric windows and air conditioning, came standard in the Pantera. Indeed, Road & Track named the Pantera the 1973 "Sports Car of the Year." Panteras ceased to be officially imported into the United States after 1975, and indeed the early cars with their clean lines and details are the most desirable examples today.
This Pantera is a US specification model that is believed to have been delivered new to California; it still retains its original period correct blue California personalized license plates. This example is believed to have had only two California owners since new and was recently discovered in a barn, where it had resided for approximately 20 years. The car was found in remarkably original condition, down to the original Pantera logo lug nuts and original style tires which are date stamped 1970. After discovery, the Pantera was treated to a service during which all fluids, filters, and necessary gaskets were replaced; a compression test was also performed. The carburetor was rebuilt while the entire fuel system and gas tank were flushed before starting. The radiator was removed and cleaned along with coolant lines. The vendor believes that the 351ci engine is the original unit and has never been removed from the car.
This example is special not only because of its unusual story and early build year, but as a blank canvas, offering its new owner the unique ability to keep the car in its original condition, or perform a restoration to as-new specification.
- Please note that the complete engine number for this vehicle is 03002.