31 Oct 2012

Spotted - De Tomaso Pantera

The De Tomaso Pantera was a supercar that was made from 1971 to 1991.  As anyone who was a boy (and possibly girl) in the seventies and eighties knows, the Pantera was second only to the Lamborghini Countach in terms of out and out coolness and desirability - as well as in Top Trumps*

De Tomaso was a hybrid of Italian autoexotica with a dollop of American influence.  In a situation not dissimilar to the AC Cobra, De Tomaso utilised Italian engineers and coachbuilders to create a wonderful, beautiful machine - and then stuck a large American V8 in it.

The V8 in question was a Ford 4 Bolt Main Cleveland Engine, built in Ohio.  It produced 330bhp from it's 351 cubic inches or, in European terms, 5.7 litres.  The car, on the other hand, was designed by an American but constructed in Modena, Italy - also home to Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Pagani - and the bodies were hand-built by Carrozeria Vignale.

With that heritage it's no wonder the Pantera was an icon of the seventies and eighties.  We can't help but thinking the impact of the name would have been diluted if it too had been Anglicised and called The Thomas Panther.

The Pantera was well received by the press.  It had a top speed of 159mph and did 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds.  It had rack and pinion steering as standard and disc brakes all round - however the pedals were offset and no-one over 6 feet tall could get in it.

The car was imported to America where it sold well, but several problems were reported.  The monocoque steel body wasn't a very advanced technology at the time and, in some cases, started to come apart.  Inspections revealed large amounts of solder had been used to fix flaws and rust-proofing was almost non-existent.  Ford were the American importers and several Panteras broke down on their test track.

Elvis Presley bought a De Tomaso Pantera in 1974 and shot it when it wouldn't start.  That car was later sold with a certificate of authenticity and three unrepaired bullet holes.

Inevitably, American Panteras were later ruined with big black bumpers.  Happily the one for sale at the moment on eBay is not one of those.

The advert is a strange one as it is being sold on behalf of someone called 'Steve' who apparently owns seven Panteras.  This one is a right hand drive 1988 GT5S and features (factory spec) widened wheel arches which give the car a more muscular appearance.  Steve is selling the car for £64,950.  Full advert reproduced below and the link to the ad is here.

Also, if you scroll down to the bottom you will find a reproduction of an original American advert for the Pantera.  Note the, incorrect, lower case 'd' in De Tomaso, which Ford must have thought looked more exotic.

To whom it may help..Steve has an official letter from the De Tomaso factory archive confirming that this car was manufactured in 1988
and registered in the UK in 1989...Thus making this car eligible for Australian Export with NO import issues

Very very rare RHD De Tomaso Pantera GT5S , 29k miles from new , huge history files , factory fitted De Tomaso car cover , all original tools spare wheel and jack , brand new MOT with NO advisories, Runs and drives absolutely faultlessly , Body work and interior are perfect / mint ...Please call Steve on 07760663281 as I have placed the advert for him on his behalf .. ...Best original car there is and part of an immense 7 car De Tomaso collection , lack of use forces a reluctant sale as they just do hardly any mileage at all in between MOTs, ,SEVERAL CHOICES OF DEEP DISH ALLOY WHEEL OPTIONS AVAILABLE AS SHOWN IN PICTURES 10 , 11 & 12

* it is obligatory for any article about the Pantera to reference Top Trumps.