De Tomaso Pantera

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De Tomaso Pantera at Wheels of Italy

The Pantera was a sports car produced by the de Tomaso company of Italy from 1971 through 1996. The car was designed by famed stylist, Tom Tjaarda and replaced the de Tomaso Mangusta. Unlike the Mangusta, which employed a steel backbone chassis, the Pantera was a steel monocoque design, the first instance of deTomaso using the construction technique.

The first 1971 Pantera was powered by a 351 in³ (5.8 L) Ford Cleveland V8 which produced 330 hp (246 kW). This was linked to a five-speed manual transmission. Power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes and rack and pinion steering were also specified. The 1971 Pantera could accelerate to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.5 seconds according to Car and Driver.

Late in 1971, Ford began importing Panteras for the American market to be sold through its Lincoln Mercury dealers. The first 75 cars were simply European imports and are known for their "push-button" door handles and hand-built Carrozeria Vignale bodies. A total of 1,007 Panteras reached the United States that first year.

Several modifications were made for the 1972 model year. A new 4-bolt Cleveland engine was used with lower compression (from 11:1 to 8.6:1) but with more aggressive camshaft timing. Many changes were made internally, including the use of a factory exhaust header.

The "Lusso" (luxury) Pantera L was also introduced in 1972. It featured large black bumpers for the US market as well as a 248 hp (185 kW) Cleveland engine.

De Tomaso Pantera at Wheels of Italy

The 1974 Pantera GTS featured yet more luxury items and badging.

Ford ended their importation to the US in 1975, having sold roughly 5,500 cars in the United States. de Tomaso continued to built the car, however, in ever-escalating forms of performance and luxury for more than a decade. A small number of Panteras were imported to the US by gray market importers in the 1980s, notably Panteramerica. In all, about 7,200 Panteras were built.


1971 specifications:

  • Engine: Ford 351 in³ (5.8 L) Cleveland V8
  • Power: 330 hp (246 kW)
  • Curb weight: 3123 lb (1417 kg)
  • Wheelbase: 98.4 in (2500 mm)
  • Front track: 57.0 in (1448 mm)
  • Rear track: 58.0 in (1473 mm)
  • Length: 158.0 in (4013 mm)
  • Width: 67.0 in (1702 mm)
  • Height: 43.4 in (1102 mm)