Back in 1971, the De Tomaso Pantera (Italian for “panther”), was a new design replacing the Mangusta. Although it was an Italian car, it not only had an American designer, Tom Tjaarda, but also an American powerplant: the Ford 351 Cleveland V8. The ZF transaxle, which was also used in the Mangusta, was a rather noisy bugger, drowning out the sounds of the engine that was ‘purring’ directly behind the occupants.
But you didn’t buy the Pantera because you wanted a quiet, subtle ride. And even today the Pantera is frequently seen with louder exhaust, bigger engines, and even turbos and superchargers just a couple feet from the interior – with just a pane of glass and fiberglass separating the two compartments. In the 70′s, it was a real head turner, and the later GT5 version gave it a meaner look with a wider stance, thanks to wider tires all around.
When this 1972 Pantera was found in a barn recently in Roseburg, OR, it had about ten years of dust covering it, but it was in otherwise pretty decent shape. Once the dusty was cleared off and the car removed from the barn, it quickly went up on eBay. With a starting bid of $20k, it might have seemed a bit high for some, but the final bid came in about $4K later, and the process has begun to send this Italian to it’s new home.
The Pantera garnered some rather interesting attention, including an interested party who asked if it could be shipped to Europe. It’s a brave chore these days, shipping a vehicle to another continent from an eBay sale, so hopefully the seller (and new owner) will make the transaction smooth.
Hard to say at this point what will become of the Pantera, but we wouldn’t be surprised if we see this thing show up at a show somewhere with a revised and updated powertrain. Either way you slice it, the Pantera is one cool exotic – with American Power!