Forgotten Supercar: 1973 DeTomaso Pantera

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If you had to assemble a top 10 list of exotic and/or sports cars that are regularly found abandoned and in need of restoration, the DeTomaso Pantera would almost certainly be on the list. I’m not sure why it always seems to end up as a project unless the more accessible nature of the car owing to its domestically-sourced powerplant makes it seem “easier” to revive and therefore less of a gamble to let sit for ages. This particular car looks like it was just dragged out of the warehouse in the background, but even if it was stored indoors, it still has some rust issues to sort out. Find it here on eBay with a listed price of $47,500.

The Pantera is a special car, with incredible styling and the reliability of an American-made powerplant. It offers the best of both worlds with its exotic, Italian-born looks and a high-performance engine that can be serviced with parts still sold at your local Napa store. The imposing quad-exhaust looks just like the one found on a Lamborghini or Ferrari model from the same era, and to the uninformed eye, this is one of those cars but for half the price of entry. You can reasonably expect to revive a Pantera after sitting for years without having a billionaire’s bank account; the same can’t be said for a Ferrari or Lamborghini of the same era.

The interior is in fair condition for a car that’s been sitting for years but it’s still an area that will need some attention. The door panels were previously removed and lost, and pieces like that are among the harder-to-find items since they were specifically built for the Pantera and not exactly easy to find on eBay. The seats are in decent condition – certainly good enough to sit on while the Pantera is rolled from one side of the garage to the other – and the steering wheel, dashboard, and carpets all appear to be in usable shape. The seller notes that there is rust in the rockers and floors that will need repair, among other areas.

The good news is that the engine and transmission are both original to the car. This helps to justify an expensive restoration far more easily than if the car was lacking these features. The seller hasn’t made any attempt to test the health of those pieces, however, so you could still be staring down a rebuild in the future. The current paint job may not be original but it is, at least, the factory color. While rust repair is never cheap, once that is out of the way, the next owner should be able to focus on getting the rest of the cosmetics freshened up while seeing if the drivetrain will come back to life. I’d make it into a Group 3 replica; how would you tackle the restoration?

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  1. alphasudMember

    I wouldn’t! I would buy a nice sorted one because this one’s needs are huge. Obviously stored somewhere damp. The seller would need to come down considerably for it to make any financial sense. Just looking at makes me feel overwhelmed.

    Like 38
    • bobhess bobhessMember

      With you on that. That crumpled right rear inner fender panel tells me that rust isn’t the car’s only problem. Price gets the third “you’ve got to be kidding” award for the month.

      Like 30
  2. John Mangum

    Way over priced for condition. Take another 100k to m are nice. Find better bones. I though Pantera were aluminum. I must have been wrong

    Like 9
    • Jay P Freedland

      Nope … Steel. I have a 73 and was surprised that it wasn’t fiberglass.

      Like 4
  3. Big C

    This might be the worst condition of any Pantera I’ve ever seen! Next to one that’s been in a bad wreck. The sellers a little top heavy on the ask. By about $20k.

    Like 13
  4. Maggy

    Almost 50k for this? Nope.glwts.

    Like 11
  5. Jed

    Superficial wounds… Worth ever penny … I lost a really good pair of shades in the glove box in a similar one…

    Like 2
    • Brian W

      @Jed I am a big believer in the expression “put your money where your mouth is.” If your outlook is so sunny on this car, the rest of us would love to see you put some skin in the game, and $47.5k of it at that.

      Personally I think one can do way better than this rust garden for that kind of cash.

      Like 9
  6. Howie

    Somebody needs a swift kick in the you know what!! They take the rear tub out to show the transaxle, but then no photos of the engine?

    Like 6
  7. Ray M

    I thought they were powered by a 351 c, to me that’s the only thing of value. You would have a boat load invested in restoring the car can’t see where that makes any sense.

    Like 3
  8. TA

    $47,500 WOW The seller must be suffering from Barett-Jackson Derangement Syndrome or got bitten at a MOPAR swap meet.

    Like 12
  9. FrankDMember

    I’ve owned one! If you own a body shop its still too much money. If you’re thinking about you better have $$$ and patiences. Rust is the enemy with a Pantera and Mangusta.

    Like 8
  10. ron wrob

    had 2 of them ,they rust like a chevete

    Like 9

    RUN RUN RUN as fast as you can from this car. I don’t know if it is worth 20k as one person suggested. As I spoke of a certain Lotus, if the owner let this car get in this shape, did the oil ever get changed and how about the filters. Somebody could buy it to put on a pole up in the air in their front yard. Not sure if that would be classified as landscaping but it would be something different.

    Like 6
  12. Peggy

    Years ago, when my husband and I were (ahem) younger. We had an argument over which car we would really like to have. Jim wanted a Muria and I wanted a Pantera. Jim read an article in Road & Track, about a Muria driven on the German autobahn, a Ferrari coming up behind the Muria, flashing his lights, then the Muria down shifting and leaving the Ferrari behind. Jim fell in love. Performance jealousy ? At that time, Jim was driving a ’65 Chevy 2, named Clyde. I just thought the Pantera was a beautiful car. I was driving a ’66 Mustang convertible, 289, 3 spd. I did not formally name it but referred to it as Poor Baby. I see “parts car” when I look at this one, too expensive. Good memories of a long ended “discussion” though.

    Like 10
    • RJ

      The biggest problem with the Pantera has been the trusted monococh framework! There is no chance that this example has escaped this issue. Also, with the way the Pantera is put together, the gas tank is incorporated into the frame assembly. I have not seen a bigger example of “BUYER BEWARE “

      Like 1
      • FrankDMember

        The tank is on the drivers side and sits on a material that wears out over time. I had mine replaced in my 72 when the engine was out. Glad I did and had the filler neck relocated to the outside behind the small window.

        Like 2
  13. Lon kearl

    In the early 70s I work at a Lincoln mercury dealer one came in for service there around 14 grand by a house back then for that got taken for a ride in it 351 c 5sp manual yellow black int not an easy car to get in and out of ran fine for the money I would buy old school muscle

    Like 0


    Like 2
  15. PRA4SNW

    I am shocked that a dealer beat Peter Kumar of Gullwing to this one.

    Dealer has a lot of other interesting fixer uppers listed.

    Like 2
  16. Dale

    After looking at the size of the rear window, installing a backup camera would be essential.

    Like 0
  17. RJ

    The biggest problem with the Pantera has been the trusted monococh framework! There is no chance that this example has escaped this issue. Also, with the way the Pantera is put together, the gas tank is incorporated into the frame assembly. I have not seen a bigger example of “BUYER BEWARE “

    Like 2
  18. john

    An easy way to check how bad the rust has spread.
    There is a chrome guide in the door jam, the door rubber guide slides into it and firms up the entire door.
    Two bolts takes it loose.
    Once off, you can see just how bad it is internally.
    I have owned about 7 of these cool cars over the decades, That exhaust is not correct.
    Sold my last low mile car off quite a decade ago to buy a hand built Italian exotic, ford powered Italia.

    Like 6
  19. Mark RuggieroMember

    Nice ones going north of 100k, this one has a long way to go…

    Like 1
  20. Brian

    This rust bucket is a bad buy at half the price, especially considering that body panels for this car are not reproduced. Ebay dreamer can keep it.

    Like 0
  21. sullivan504

    If there was any lingering doubt (that this project isn’t as bad as it seems) in my mind, the condition of the shifter gate is a last straw. Breaks my heart to see a Pantera this far gone asking for that much money.

    Like 0

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