1973 De Tomaso Pantera Coupé


Having established himself as a serious automobile manufacturer with the Mangusta coupé, Alejandro De Tomaso commissioned Lamborghini designer Gianpaolo Dallara to produce the chassis for his new mid-engined supercar, the Pantera. Dallara opted for unitary construction for the steel chassis/body – abandoning the Mangusta’s backbone frame – and double wishbone/coil-spring suspension all round. The Ford Motor Company was De Tomaso’s partner at this time and thus the Pantera, like the Mangusta, relied on Ford V8 power. The 351cu in (5.8-liter) Cleveland engine varied in output depending on the destination market, and in European trim came with 330bhp, or 350bhp as installed in the Pantera GTS. With either option the Pantera could sprint to 60mph in a little over 5 seconds and touch 160mph flat out.

Styled by Tom Tjaarda at Carrozzeria Ghia, the stunning coupé body was in fact built by Vignale, both companies being part of the De Tomaso empire in the early 1970s. De Tomaso’s longstanding relationship with the Ford Motor Company led to an arrangement whereby the Mangusta was distributed through select Lincoln-Mercury dealerships in the USA. The 1974 energy crisis led to a parting of the ways between Ford and De Tomaso, who continued to sell the Pantera in Europe. Having commenced production in 1971, the long-lived Pantera was still around in the 1990s, by which time it had undergone a series of upgrades, the most significant being a 1990 revamp courtesy of Bertone’s Marcello Gandini, stylist of Lamborghini’s Miura and Countach.

This beautifully presented and subtly upgraded Pantera is a European-market example, having been constructed in Turin (Italy) during November of 1973. Subsequently exported to the United States, chassis ‘0787’ spent much of its life in the dry and car-friendly climate of California, before entering the current UK ownership around 2017. Evidently the recipient of a comprehensive and professional restoration in the striking and factory-correct shade of gleaming orange; the two-seater also benefits from the removal of its moulded ‘impact’ bumpers, in exchange for the more-attractive and stylish ‘bumperettes’ seen on the very earliest models. Riding on deep-dish alloy wheels and upgraded with aluminium ‘Nascar’ cylinder heads (and a sports exhaust), ensuring this fast-road specification Pantera goes and sounds as well as it looks! Treated to more than £7,000 in professional fettling since 2020; which included fitment of a brand new carburettor, a full rebuild of the suspension with all new dampers, an overhaul of the headlight motor, attention to the braking system, a repair to the radiator, replacement seats to standard specification, an overhaul of the starter motor and a full check of the wiring system with many repairs / upgrades.

UK registered, with a current V5c document and dating certificate, old US title and receipts for the above works carried out; this beautifully-restored Pantera would be a worthwhile addition to any serious collection, equally suited to the road or classic track day events.

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