• Desirable Pre-L model
• Excellent combination of Italian design and American power
• 1 of only 743 Pre-L model cars built for the 1971 model year
• Upgraded cooling system
1971 DeTomaso Pantera
• Desirable Pre-L model
351 cid OHV V-8 engine, single downdraft four-barrel Holley carburetor, 285 HP at 5,400 RPM, five-speed manual ZF transaxle, four-wheel power-assisted disc brakes, front and rear independent suspension with coil springs; wheelbase: 98.4”
De Tomaso’s first road-going production model was the Vallelunga (named after the racing circuit) introduced in 1963. This mid-engine sports car had a 104 horsepower, shared with the Ford Cortina, and featured an aluminum backbone chassis, which was to become a common feature of De Tomaso cars. The first five cars were produced in aluminum bodywork while production cars had fiberglass bodywork. In 1966, the sensational Mangusta was introduced, becoming the first De Tomaso produced in significant numbers. With the Mangusta, De Tomaso switched from European to American Ford engines. The car was powered by a 4.7-litre iron-block V-8 engine and steel and aluminum coupé with coachwork by Ghia, an Italian coachbuilder also controlled by Alejandro de Tomaso. About 400 Mangustas were produced before production ceased in 1971. For the Pantera, introduced in 1971, De Tomaso commissioned Lamborghini designer Gianpaolo Dallara to create the chassis for his new mid-engine supercar, the Pantera. Dallara selected unitary construction for the steel chassis and body, abandoning the Mangusta’s backbone frame. The distinctive wedge-shaped body was styled by Ghia’s brilliant Tom Tjaarda at Carrozzeria Ghia. The stunning coupe’s body was in fact built by Vignale, both companies being part of De Tomaso’s empire in the early 1970s.
Ford Motor Company was De Tomaso’s partner at the time of the Pantera’s introduction and thus the Pantera, like the Mangusta, utilized Ford’s V-8. This 351 cubic-inch Ford ‘Cleveland’ engine featured deep-breathing heads patterned after the very successful Boss 302 design, four-barrel carburetion and four-bolt main bearing caps. The new V-8 was mated to a ZF fully synchronized five-speed transaxle with limited slip, and rated at 310 horsepower (SAE Gross, 1971 trim). A longstanding relationship with the Ford Motor Company led to an arrangement whereby the Pantera 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.
Exceptionally long-lived for a supercar, the Pantera was still around in the 1990s having undergone a series of upgrades. The first of these had appeared on the ‘L’ model in late 1972, which featured black ‘impact resistant’ bumpers and improved cooling and air-conditioning systems. Flared wheel arches distinguished the GTS model of 1974, which in European trim came with a 350 HP engine, larger wheels/tires and other performance enhancements. Production of the world’s longest-running supercar finally ceased in 1993.
This 1971 Pantera is an early example and features the highly desirable chrome bumpers, 1 of only 743 Pre-L model cars built for the 1971 model year. Additionally, the 1971 model year had the highest HP rating of the four model years imported by Ford (1970 had 300 HP). With a Ford V-8 and the same ZF transmission as the GT40, it was considered by Ford to be the road-going version of the extremely rare GT40. In eye catching condition inside and out, mechanically sound with an upgraded cooling system and a new air-conditioning system installed by PMI, this rare Pantera runs and drives smoothly with excellent performance and handling characteristics. The body is finished attractively in yellow, and the unmodified interior features De Tomaso floor mats and original Veglia gauges. Panteras have been coveted by enthusiasts for decades, resulting in many of them being heavily modified for increased performance and track use, making an un-altered original such as this a rarity. This early Pantera presents well and is perfect for touring, rallies and club events. With their clean, sharp lines, and strong powertrains, the Pre-L Panteras are considered the most desirable of the series.