Displacement: 5,766 cc
Horsepower: 330 bhp @ 5,400 rpm
Engine Torque: 325 ft lb @ 3,400 rpm
Top Speed: 158 mph
0 - 60 mph: 5.8 seconds
click on image to enlarge
Founded in Italy by Argentinian racing driver, Alejandro DeTomaso in 1959, the DeTomaso Automobili Company started out producing prototypes and racing cars (most notably for Frank Williams Formula 1 team in 1970) before launching a model of their own, the Vallelunga in 1963, powered by a Ford four-cylinder engine. This was followed in 1966 by the Mangusta, again powered by a Ford engine, but this time, a V8. It was not until the 1970 New York Motor Show debut, with the Mangusta's successor, the Pantera, that DeTomaso really hit their stride. Yet again powered by Ford (a 351 cu.in. Cleveland V8), it, for the first time, featured a steel monocoque (the previous cars having had a separate chassis) and was styled by legendary Dutch-American designer, Tom Tjaarda, for the Torinese styling house, Ghia. It was a true supercar, with mid-mounted engine, ZF transaxle, four-wheel disc brakes, rack & pinion steering, great handling, exotic looks and performance to match. And the features didn't stop there. In the cockpit, power windows, air-conditioning, stylish bucket seats and a beautiful dashboard and fascia, impressed all that saw them. The logo incidentally, is a combination of DeTomaso's home country flag on its side with a 'T' symbol cattle brand from his ancestral family's ranch.
Ford, who were looking to get into the European sports car market and whose previous collaboration offer had been famously snubbed by Ferrari, were very interested in the Pantera. Similarly, DeTomaso needed a ready supply of Ford engines (and cash) and was interested in a deal with Ford. And so, a semi-beautiful partnership began.
Ford supplied the engines and imported all the US market cars, which it then sold through its Lincoln Mercury dealers. Unfortunately, tremendous initial interest in the car meant the early cars were rushed through production and consequently suffered from build quality issues. If this cooled the flames of subsequent purchasers, then the 1973 fuel crisis all but extinguished them. The Pantera, though now greatly improved in quality, struggled on until Ford finally pulled the plug in 1975.
Offered here, is one of the first examples of the Pantera Lusso (or Luxury), which was introduced in 1972. Unlike so many of the Panteras out there, it is extremely original and unmolested and has a very straight, rust-free body and its gorgeous, original Campagnolo wheels. The interior is equally impressive, with no rips or tears and very clean gauges and switchgear. On the road, it is incredibly well mannered around town and did not overheat in a two-hour traffic jam on a 90+ degree day, here in L.A. It is on the open road however, where she really shows her colours! Sure footed through all the turns, with plenty of power in all the gear ranges. Truly impressive!
Even though they were still produced in very limited numbers in Europe up until 1992, with such a limited main production run, finding good examples of these cars is getting harder & harder, especially one that has not been all 'boy-racered' up. When you compare them to a Ferrari 308, which had a production run almost double that of the Pantera, they appear extremely good value indeed. Furthermore, they are far easier & cheaper to maintain than the 308 and can outperform them on all fronts.