Early Import: 1971 De Tomaso Pantera

The mid-engined De Tomaso Pantera was the perfect combination of Italian style and road-holding with a dose of raw American muscle from its Ford small-block V8. The Pantera, Italian for “Panther,” debuted in Modena, Italy in March 1970 and made its first American appearance at the New York Motor Show some weeks later. In the United States, De Tomaso reached an agreement with Ford for exclusive distribution rights and by the end of 1971, the Pantera went on sale through Lincoln-Mercury dealers. Available here on eBay in Cypress, California, this 1971 De Tomaso Pantera is #27 of the first 75 examples imported into the United States. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Larry D for the tip!

This Pantera is described by the seller as “factory correct — showroom condition,” a claim that seems correct based on the photos. A deluxe Marti Report is included. The seller indicates that it was picked up as an unfinished project and given a thorough restoration with only around 100 miles logged since. These first 75 imports are easily identified by their pushbutton-style door handles. Other features unique to these early cars include single slot Campagnolo wheels, non-tinted glass, an aluminum gas tank, and unique sheet metal in the engine bay. This example looks great in its cream-colored paint and skinny chrome bumpers. Overall, it has an elegant simplicity that was lost on the later cars with their spoilers, wings, and fender flares.

The black interior with dark grey carpets is in excellent condition and contrasts nicely with the cream exterior. The inside of the Pantera combines elements of an Italian supercar (the gated shifter) and an American muscle car (padded three-spoke steering wheel). The driver sits behind a large speedometer and tachometer with an array of four auxiliary gauges and rocker switches in a console angled toward the driver.

Behind the driver sits a Ford 351 Cleveland that was disassembled and resealed, but not rebuilt, as it only has around 35,000 miles on it. Power is delivered through a five-speed ZF transaxle, the same type as used in the Ford GT40. These early cars can also be identified by a unique bell housing that is present on this car. A new clutch and clutch hydraulics have been installed. The front and rear suspension has been refreshed with new bushings, ball joints, and powder-coated control arms. A new steering rack has been fitted and the braking system has also been gone through with a new master cylinder, seals, pads, hard and flex lines, and rebuilt calipers. A factory toolkit is provided for any minor fixes required on the road.

Hagerty places a 1971 Pantera in #1 Concours condition at $122,000 and one in #2 Excellent condition at $88,000. This one appears to fall somewhere in between, so splitting the difference it would probably be worth around $100,000. The seller is asking $150,000 Buy-It-Now with a Make Offer option, so there could be some room for a more reasonable selling price. How does this Pantera compare with other Italian supercars of the era?


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  1. Dave

    I’ve seen a few of these at a car show at Lime Rock park. Each one had been modified, one of the heavily modified. I am puzzled as to why. Maybe the mods were done long ago?

    Like 3
    • fran

      Usually themes are just to make it be a better car. This one is a beauty! But, a few mods will make it a better driver’s car. No harm in value, doing the “right” mods.

      Like 3
  2. Nate

    This is really nice Pantera. One of the nicest I’ve seen for sale in awhile. But not sure why/how this qualifies as a “barn find”.

    Like 8
  3. Connecticut Mark

    Think I saw this here before?

    Like 2
  4. JoeNYWF64

    I am not sure why the speedo & tach are far apart – doesn’t the small steering wheel block part of both of them?
    Showing the car keys may not be a good idea.
    A roof that is 6″ lower than an early GM 2nd gen f-body!

    Like 2
  5. Jack Quantrill

    Saw one at dealer in ‘71. Sticker base price was $10,000!

    Like 6
  6. Howie Mueler

    Yes very nice early car, the sellers ID is Pantera Restorations, not long ago these were pretty cheap, and for $150k there is better cars you could get.

    Like 4
  7. Larry D

    I worked for a man in the early 70s who was a true car guy. And he bought a new Pantera as soon as they became available. I looked at his car a lot but I had no idea back then about the variation in door handles so I don’t know which kind his car had.

    I owned a 1969 Corvette 427/435 convertible at that time. That man and I used to kid each other about racing each other title for title but we never did.
    I believe I could have pulled him in a quarter mile but he would have beaten me in a top-end race.

    Like 4
  8. Kelly Breen

    I can’t not think of Tim Horton whenever I see a Pantera.

    Like 2
  9. nortonrider

    Wow! A hockey fan, not just a donut and coffee guy.

    Like 1
  10. Markc

    I moved from Arizona to Idaho about 20 years ago. One day, while perusing some local classified ads, I saw a ‘7x Pantera advertised real cheap. Immediately called the number and found it located not far from me. Disappointed that it was some kind of snowmobile named Pantera. BUMMER

    Like 4
    • Javman

      Back in the 80’s my wife fell in love with one for sale she agreed we could purchase it for the outrageous price of $
      12,000. Kicked myself many times but just couldn’t justiy the expenditure.

      Like 3
  11. wjtinfwb

    ‘73 and I was with my dad at the Lincoln-Mercury dealer as dad was ready for new wheels. His ‘70 Mark III was beautiful but his brother had banged it up pretty badly after a night of partying in Ft Lauderdale and dad had a thing about cars that had been wrecked. He wasn’t a fan of the Mark IV, finding it too gaudy and ostentatious. As he looked at a new Continental Town Coupe on the floor, I was drooling over the yellow Pantera on the showroom floor. I tried to get dad interested, he took a look but pronounced it too racy for him and his company image. Ultimately he ordered a new ‘73 Continental Coupe that was a very nice car but no Pantera or even a Mark III. 2 years later and dad hits his midlife crisis, he trades the beige in beige Lincoln in for a new red over white TransAm, complete with a 4-speed! Cool, but I kept thinking he could have saved himself a couple years if he’d just bought the yellow Pantera in ‘73!

    Like 4
  12. 69W31

    There is a red ’71 in my town, original owner had it out two years ago when I saw it at a local show. I thought that it was restored because it looked so nice, but it wasn’t, it was a well kept original. The owner just passed last month, no idea what happened/will happen to the car now.

    Like 1
    • Fran

      I know what will happen to it. Once the kids who cannot drive it because it is a manual get their hands on it, the greed will set in and it will wind up on f-book marketplace. Where we will read about it here.

      Like 1
  13. Brian

    Yeah ,so did I ,Dad bought the 1971 LTD Broughm that had a $ 5,000 bottom sticker though,that ended up being my first car,sigh………

  14. losgatos_dale

    Lovely to look at when parked, but driving?
    I’d not enjoy lookin at that cockpit, how about you?

  15. Steven Buchanan

    We have seen this car previously on barn finds. Look at the posting on February 14, 2021.


  16. Araknid78

    Nice car. Still love the color.

    Like 1
  17. Popawfox

    Doesn’t the steering column look a bit too far to the right to be a comfortable driving position?

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