Live Auctions

Italian Stallion: 1972 De Tomaso Pantera

Panteras were built by Italian car maker De Tomaso and imported to the U.S. by Ford in two series: the cars built from 1970 through August 1972, with small chrome bumpers, and the L, for “Lusso” aka luxury, with bulky black bumpers running until 1975. (De Tomaso made Panteras after 1975 but not for the U.S.) The “Pre L” cars are considered more desirable. Backdating “L” bumpers is common. Speaking of which, all sorts of things happen to Panteras courtesy of their owners – from giant motors to bling-y wheels, glittery paint to loud pipes. The car just seems to draw the custom crowd, to the point that original untouched cars are drawing massive premiums in the marketplace. That said, let’s take a look at this 1972 De Tomaso Pantera offered here on craigslist, with an asking price of $115,000, located in Madison, Connecticut. Thanks to Pat L. for the tip!

This seller indicates this is a two-owner car, and all documentation including the original bill of sale, is with the car. The tool kit and spare are present. Substantial restoration work was completed, including a rebuild of the matching numbers motor, new brakes, rebuilt ZF transmission, fresh paint, etc. Mileage is quoted at 27,800, but there are many low mileage Panteras around thanks to the brutal driving experience and frequent breakdowns. The car’s interior is nearly spot-on. Originally these cars were delivered with a radio blanking plate, and this one has a radio. You won’t hear a radio unless the car is turned off because the 351 cu. in. Cleveland V8 is wailing right behind your head. The seats are not configured as original for a Pre L. The pleats should run at a 90-degree angle to the bolster, not in the same direction, and the fabric should be dimpled, not smooth. That said, this cockpit is spiffy. The hard-to-find steering wheel is original, gauges look good.

The pop-up headlights appear to operate. One of the frustrations with the Pantera was its complicated wiring system – each car seemed to be wired differently. The car experienced overheating thanks to the mid-engine layout with the radiators up front lying down along the sloped hood. The cockpit was hot. Electric window motors failed. Still, many of its ills can be fixed these days with better technology.

The car wears its original wheels and brand new tires. Personal investigation of panel gaps is encouraged – a lot of Panteras were wrecked. Despite the uninspiring color, this car presents well. But wait! What’s missing? Well, the heart of a Pantera is its engine bay. But nowhere in this ad are we treated to a look at it. That’s a letdown. This car was all about performance, with at least 330 bhp on tap, fed through the ZF five-speed, for a top speed of about 160 mph. Before shelling out the money, better take a trip to Madison, Connecticut!

Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    Having just made comment on a rusted GTI these cars suffered more from structural rust in the rear frame support. I guess one has to assume the cars that are still left have been modified and repaired. I have always appreciated these cars. Timeless beauty and design. There is no replacement for displacement with these classics. The sound of a healthy V8 makes me all tingly on the back of my neck. Especially when seen and heard on a racetrack.

    Like 9
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      Well, the sound of THIS healthy V8 will actually BE on the back of your neck. We owned one, and used to drive it between Portland and Seattle, and back on weekends for family visits. It would take me an hour or two to stop vibrating when I got out of the car. On the track, it was a monster. I watched a couple overly enthusiastic owners drive their Panteras into the tire wall at PIR over the years…..

      Like 13
      • alphasud Member

        Definitely sad times for the owner who stuffed them. I probably would have cried if that was my car. In spite of the 2 hours to come down from the vibes would you do it again?

        Like 2
      • Michelle Rand Staff

        Thought about it, came close, but … so little time, so many cars. I would rather have something I haven’t had before.

        Like 3
    • David

      The L model Pantera was sold in the USA until 1974. The seats on this car are correct for a pre-L Pantera. The dimpled vinyl, horizontal pleat upholstery was introduced with the early L model; mid-1972. All of the various wiring diagrams are available at http://www.panteraplace.com. The electric window motors did not fail; the plastic gears that the motors turn, failed. They are used in many Italian cars of the period, brass replacements are readily available and easily installed.

      Like 2
  2. MattR Member

    Some writing worthy of the car. Keep pushing Michelle. Love your style.

    Like 7
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      Well gosh, thank you!

      Like 3
  3. John Fisher

    I know of a Lincoln/Mercury dealer in central Pennsylvania who had a 1971 Pantera in his showroom. This was in 1986, it was a brilliant red machine with only 18 miles on the odometer. The original owner is still alive and kicking at 94 years old; but the dealership was sold by him in 2000. Whereabouts of the Pantera are unknown to me.

    Like 5
  4. Fran

    Wow so nice and cl. It has scam all over it!

    Like 1
    • Tony Primo

      Lots of Craigslist haters today. I have successfully both bought and sold cars and automotive parts on Craigslist. In the short amount of time that Facebook Marketplace has been around, I have seen so many scams that I won’t even click on it anymore.

      Like 15
  5. Cadmanls Member

    Come on don’t be so negative but the price is a bit low if this car is really as described. The coach work was beautiful but they do rust. Had cooling issues that was later corrected and a couple other faults but was marketed by an American manufacturer in the seventies sold in dealership showrooms.A+

    Like 2
  6. gbvette62

    A family friend owned a Lincoln/Mercury store. Back then, Lincoln Mark III’s were hugely popular, so dealer’s got a limited number of them. To help move Pantera’s, Ford increased a dealers allotment of Marks, for every Pantera they took (I think 3 for each Pantera?). Our friend took 10 or 15, knowing he would make out on the Marks. He got his doctor, lawyer, and whoever else he could to take Pantera’s. While the Lincoln store was in Michigan, he owned other dealerships, including a Florida Ferrari store. He sent the last couple Pantera’s to Florida, where he knew they’d be easier to sell.

    We visited family in Ft Lauderdale every spring, and usually stopped to see Phil (the dealer). Around 72 he still had one green Pantera left, that he tried to sell my father. It listed for around $9500, but he was willing to sell it for $7000-$7500. He lent us the car for an afternoon, but my father just couldn’t get use to the gated shifter. I don’t know if he would have bought it, but the shifter kept him from seriously considering it. Or maybe it was the thought of having a Pantera in the garage, and a car crazy 18 year old kid in the house?

    Like 12
  7. RATTLEHEAD

    Pantera is also my second favorite metal band. long live Dime bag. R.I.P.

    Like 6
  8. David Nunn

    The person who wrote the story about this car, doesn’t know as much about Pantera’s as they think they do. The seat upholstery is correct for a pre-L car. As far as overheating is concerned, early cars overheated because DeTomaso’s radiator supplier did not use adequate means to separate the top and bottom of the two-pass rad. The baffle would come loose and coolant would bypass the core. Car magazines wrote about the overheating and the Pantera was labelled an “overheater” from then on. Since the rad problem was addressed, any overheating was a maintenance issue; nothing more. Furthermore, any mid-engined car will overheat if everything in the cooling system isn’t working perfectly. Pantera’s with stock cooling systems do not overheat if everything related to the cooling system is in perfect condition, period, end of story.

  9. Howie

    I am old and can remember when these were very cheap, but now are bringing crazy prices, when i was young i knew i guy that had a red one, we went on a few rides, it was then my dream car, but it never happened.

    Like 4
  10. Rob

    Why would anyone pay $115K for a 50-year-old outdated tech car when a C8 Corvette will outperform it for less?

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Because: Pantera.

      Simple as that.

      Like 3
      • douglas hunt

        EXACTLY!! not everyone wants the plastic newest bestest [supposedly] thing out there.
        I know if I was that cash flush, any older italian/german exotic would be chosen before a modern car, they just don’t have any soul to me.

        Like 3
    • Fran

      Because the corvette will be a 50K car in a few short years. What is a 84 corvette worth? 3500 to 6K? With the ford GT out of site, 05,06. The Pantera is poised to be a great buy today. Speaking of the FGT what were they new? And what are they today? Lol

      Like 2
  11. B Wallace

    When new they were only $10K and Ford spent a lot of effort to sort out their teething issues,

  12. Frank D

    I was working on a road crew when they were 11k (a lot of money) The sidewalk contractor had a lime green one, and would drive it right on the site, and throw concrete pins in the back, while whacking his sons on the back of the head. Memories.

    Like 2
    • Frank Sumatra

      @Frank- Wild guess here- was he Italian-American?

  13. douglas hunt

    sometime around maybe 76 or so, there was a yellow Pantera sitting at a small used car lot in a town 5 miles from me. right off the interstate exit too.
    I was of course too young to drive [barely] but was enthralled non the less….even before then I remember one sitting in the Lincoln Mercury dealer window display.
    later around 82 or so, while attending a electrical engineering tech school, there was a side road on past the schools confines and it led to a convenience store for beers after class let out. while turning around we spotted the dismembered hulk of a Pantera, mostly engine and trans in a lot behind the store. [must have had a lot of inquiries i guess]
    Inquiring at the store was just told angrily that it was “NOT FOR SALE”
    life got in the way, I never found out any more about that hulk of parts

    Like 1
  14. Laurence

    As an E Type Jaguar owner, I am always reading scathing criticisms from people who have never owned one, or from people who bought one way back when from someone who didn’t service it and dumped it on its next unsuspecting owner once it was leaking and starting to make clanging noises…. However, I can’t help but notice that all the unloading on E Types is paltry compared to the spankings Panteras get : they leave you vibrating/shaking, shifting is a form of masochism, the heat drives you crazy, your ears are left buzzing, the rust spreads faster than a plague of locusts on grain, the car’s unreliability would leave owners and dealers frustrated, it wasn’t all that difficult to get killed in one driving fast, either on the track or the road… like Tim Horton…or the car would drive you up the wall enough to SHOOT IT…like Elvis did to his when it wouldn’t fire up…OH MY! I thought that cars with American V-8s were supposed to be so reliable! I thought that cars with German ZF drive gear components were bulletproof! Perhaps the truth is that generally speaking just about all classic sports cars from the ’60s and earlier ’70s were temperamental and couldn’t just be driven in a utilitarian manner without running them into the ground. They needed to be babied, serviced regularly per the owner’s manual, and worked on by mechanics specifically trained in that model. My ’69 E Type was actually very well looked after by mature owners since before the Apollo 11 lunar landing, and it is trouble-free and a joy to drive in the summer. Are there any Panteras out there that were well-looked after, driven only in nice weather, and serviced regularly/competently, that are still in nice original condition?…

    Like 3
    • Gary

      E Type Jag convertibles are, imho, the most sensual car ever designed, pure sex on wheels.

      Like 3
      • Michelle Rand Staff

        Lamborghini Muira.

        Like 2
      • Laurence

        M.R.: while the Miura had a very beautiful low profile and excellent rear quarter angle views…the front…hm…had a bit of a so-so look with that very long, very thin-lipped mouth…and those retracted “eyes” with big eye lashes…another “hm”… This is perhaps why the Miura doesn’t quite have as many people as the E Type, screaming from the rooftops that it is the most beautiful car ever… but some do. However, I would never drive a Miura through a tunnel…(inside joke from the original Italian Job).

        Two other candidates for most beautiful car/sports car ever, in my view, are the Ruddspeed AC Ace/Shelby AC Cobra (small block street version with glittering chrome wire wheels), and specifically the ’70-’72 Stingray…especially when given a nice set of chrome wheels. While not the most valuable classic ever, its beauty, in either roadster or coupe form, is widely underappreciated…but yes…beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

        Like 1
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      American V8s are great, and so was the ZF. But remember, this was put together by Italians. So whereas we put the 351 Cl in the front where it belongs, a la the 1970 Mustang, De Tomaso had to stick a big hot heavy high performance engine as far away from the cooling apparatus as possible. Because, styling. The cars were handbuilt. Because, well, Italian. Ever try to find a wiring diagram for a Pantera? Ok, it does exist but it was “researched and hand drawn” and dollars to donuts it won’t match your Pantera. I look in the Jag manual, and gee, there’s a wiring diagram, and it’s consistent by year. That said, I have run across Panteras that have been meticulously serviced and are in original condition, or just have a repaint. Getting rarer these days, tho.

      Like 3
      • Frank Sumatra

        I thought Ford owned DeTomaso? I’m guessing Hank II had a lot of input on the design and engineering of the Pantera. He was a “hands on” guy on steroids.

    • Claud

      My brother has owned one for 15 years and has had the regular ups and downs that any old car will give its care taker!
      Big sticky tires and hard starts prompted the rear reinforcement of the frame ,a known issue
      Power windows , hey , its a 74 !so they were replaced with newer motors
      Overheating has never been an issue because it already had a huge aluminum rad
      Electrical gremlins were mostly solved by an aftermarket fuse box
      The online support for these is very strong and they are not so hard to work on and some will try to make you think

      Like 1
    • Frank Sumatra

      @Laurence- Tim Horton died on a straight stretch of road. The factors were high speed, prescription medications most likely supplied by the team that also presented the car to him as a gift and perhaps hopping into the car after completing an NHL game in Toronto to drive 100 miles home to Buffalo. Besides the tragedy of his death, his widow got taken to the cleaners by Horton’s “buddy” and business partner who gave her next to nothing to buy the franchise from her.

      Like 1
  15. Harvey Paul

    I bought a 73 in the late 80s , off the original owner . Less then 20k miles ,Red original paint and straight . I paid 22k for it . Flew into Detroit and drove it home to the east coast . Back then , no computers . I found it in Hemmings .It did have minor rust issues then .
    I was a kid and ran it hard , no issues and the only thing that went by it was a Griffith 200 and he made me look slow !!!!! Fun car and wish I still had it !

    Like 3
  16. Gary

    Back in 2010ish there were two in Cross lanes WVa. One running and one hulk. Last time I was through there they were gone. I saw one in Willowick, Ohio yesterday at the annual cruise. It had no front bumpers, the fender jutted out about two inches past the hood, looked really nice. Was it a early one, possibly?

    Like 1
    • douglas hunt

      Gary, the hulk i saw was in CrossLanes WV, thats where I was going to night school
      At that time I never saw a complete car,
      Just that motor/trans hulk sitting behind that store

  17. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    If I were a serious buyer, I would want photos of the frame before the POR-15 went on. It is a rust inhibitor, but it can also seal in and hide any rust that may already exist.

  18. Lukin R.

    This one, being in stock is just beautiful.

  19. michael shellenberger

    my next door neihbor hugh klienpeter was one of the first to own a pantera and raced on the pantera team with starbrite as his sponser. still in contact with his son ken who is my age .great history

  20. chrlsful

    2 days late to ur daily but 2 of my favs side by side (this pared w/pacer waggy).

    I don’t know how or Y any 1 would wanna update this beauty. Everything you’d want (I no ‘details’, ‘life extender’).

    Take it the way it came out & drive the wheels off~

  21. Laurence

    M.R.: while the Miura had a very beautiful low profile and excellent rear quarter angle views…the front…hm…had a bit of a so-so look with that very long, very thin-lipped mouth…and those retracted “eyes” with big eye lashes…another “hm”… This is perhaps why the Miura doesn’t quite have as many people as the E Type, screaming from the rooftops that it is the most beautiful car ever… but some do. However, I would never drive a Miura through a tunnel…(inside joke from the original Italian Job).

    Two other candidates for most beautiful car/sports car ever, in my view, are the Ruddspeed AC Ace/Shelby AC Cobra (small block street version with glittering chrome wire wheels), and specifically the ’70-’72 Stingray…especially when given a nice set of chrome wheels. While not the most valuable classic ever, its beauty, in either roadster or coupe form, is widely underappreciated…but yes…beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

    Like 1
  22. Runner06

    I was just 15 my dad bought an Alfa Spyder new in 1976. The owner of the dealer had a 72 Pantera. I was a car but then and well took me for a ride.
    We hit 90 in 2nd gear! Out on the interstate he had it up to150!
    It was pretty amazing to say the least.
    I remember grabbing my seatbelt and thought what’s the point.
    I will always remember that ride.
    Viper had a similar feel, brute power=Speed

    Like 1

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