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Long Ownership: 1974 DeTomaso Pantera Lusso

For years, the Pantera was the odd man out versus its brethren in the Italian coachwork/American muscle genre – cars like Bizzarrini, Intermeccanica, Monteverdi (Swiss, but employing Frua and Fissore), Iso, and a host of others. Sold by Lincoln-Mercury dealerships – while a Bizzarrini buyer might meet Giotto himself – the Pantera was known for its brute force approach to roadgoing. Perceptions have changed. Unfortunately for would-be owners, Pantera prices are scaling new heights on a seemingly weekly basis. Here to test the new pricing level is this 1974 DeTomaso Pantera L on eBay, bid to $82,200, reserve not met, and located in Scottsdale, Arizona. We found the same car here on craigslist, revealing that $155,000 is closer to what the seller needs before handing over the title. This car has received a “nut and bolt” restoration, so when spring rolls around, the new owner will be ready to roll.

The drivetrain is said to be numbers matching; that’s one of my favorite motors in the spotless engine bay – a 351 Cleveland V8, feeding its 260 bhp through a five-speed ZF transaxle. I like the subdued presentation here, though I wish the engine were still Ford Blue and the original air cleaner were present. Still, too many Pantera engine bays are painted gloss black with the transaxle polished to within an inch of its life, and of course, many have been “performance enhanced” with larger motors. Who needs that, when the factory dished up a package that hustles from zero to sixty in about 5.5 seconds. Yes, the engine bay insert is with the car; the radiator has been upgraded and augmented with larger, many-bladed fans; and the seller has a photo album along with receipts cataloging the restoration.

The interior is nicely done in the only color ever available – black. This shot shows off the gated shift, the radio blanking plate, and the center console gauges. The tachometer is marked “red line” at a level below the actual red line – perhaps a reminder to take it easy on the newly built motor. Speaking of colors, the exterior is described as “green” and it’s similar to, but not quite “medium green“, a factory color.

The undercarriage is quite respectable, showing moderate wear commensurate with the 2000 miles the car has covered since its restoration. The seller is a forty-five-year owner of this car; I would love to see the car before its makeover. I can imagine the shift from ratting around in his old Pantera to coddling it after it was freshly done was somewhat of a shock. I’ll hazard a guess that this car won’t sell on eBay, but perhaps that was never the point; gaining exposure through the auction process could attract a serious buyer down the road – someone who might come closer to the seller’s ask. What do you think?


  1. Aussie Dave Aussie Dave Member

    Love the car, not a fan of the colour, but how rare is that colour? It has to be rare?
    Rare colour equals good .

    And in aus it’s spelt colour, so leave me alone.

    Like 20
    • Euromoto Member

      Normal behaviour.

      Like 7
    • bobhess bobhess Member

      Nice car. Most Americans can’t spell anyway so it’s no big deal.

      Like 15
    • karl

      spelt ? lol

      Like 3
      • PL

        Perhaps another Aussie version.

        Like 1
      • Aussie Dave Aussie Dave Member

        Aussie Vs yank, sorry Aussie wins, lol

        Like 2
    • Oddimotive Cason Oddimotive Cason Member

      All conversations about Ford Clevelands should be in Australian.

      Like 2
      • Aussie Dave Aussie Dave Member

        Totally agree. 1971 Ford Falcon Phase III, with a 351C, world’s fastest 4 door car.
        Google 140mph on the Hume

        Sadly I own a 305 Windsor

        Like 1
  2. Big C

    Pantera. The only Italian exotic that you could put more than 5,000 miles on, without having to take out another loan, for the maintenance procedures.

    Like 22
  3. Terry

    Beautiful automobile. I think the Craigslist ask is a bargain in light of what is being paid for cars these days. Wish it was mine.

    Like 3
  4. keith

    I LOVE that colour….it’s a perfect fit in my eyes, exotic for a exotic. But, for me, the car is too perfect to really enjoy as I would like to. I drive my cars, this one, I don’t see it for myself though if I were to go for a Pantera, it would be the one……Let’s put it this way….”I wouldn’t kick it out of the garage for a drip of oil!”

    Like 8
  5. ALKY

    Stunning Pantera ! Always loved these . When I was about 12 my neighbour down the street had one but it was bright red and he was always washing and polishing that car like a piece of jewelery. He let me sit in the car and pretend that I was driving it while he was doing all his polishing. It was the best time I can ever remember. People thought I was crazy when I said that Pantera’s were better than a Lambo, but I still feel the same. Still one of the many dream rides I would like to own . Great car ! The seller should do well and the new owner will be so damn lucky .

    Like 4
  6. Mongoose

    I thought that the 351C in the Pantera was more like 330hp in the BOSS351, the article says 260hp, no way 0-60 with only 260hp that’s stated???

    Like 3
  7. Dan A

    What used to be the poor-man’s Ferrari is now enjoying asking prices squarely in the territory of Ferraris of the 70’s, and I would gladly love to see one parked in my garage. The 351 Cleveland is one of my favorite engines that’s not a Hemi. And contrary to our Aussie friend’s opinion, I like that color. Or do you say colour?

    Like 2
    • Aussie Dave Aussie Dave Member

      Colour, lol
      But nobody’s answered my question.
      Is it a rare colour?

      Like 0
      • justpaul

        Given that every other one I’ve ever seen has been red, it must be.

        Like 0
  8. Todd J. Member

    My brother’s ex-MIL bought one because she saw herself as quite a character and wanted to be au courant. She drove it home from the dealer and never drove it again, it was too much for her. My brother would drive it around to keep the battery charged and was under the impression she would give the car to him. Then my brother got
    divorced and it was “goodbye Pantera.” I told him he should have stuck it out at least until he got the car.

    Like 6
  9. scott m

    45 years of ownership! Wonder how many miles before the restoration? Ready to drive for another 45 and its next resto!

    Like 1
  10. Elbert Hubbard

    Would you rather own a Mangusta or a Pantera ???

    Like 0
    • douglas hunt

      Oh, Pantera for sure…..from what I read the Mangusta is not nearly the drivers car that the Pantera is

      Like 5
  11. Howie

    Went to $87,700 27bids, reserve not met.

    Like 2
  12. Robert Atkinson, Jr.

    The Pantera was another of Lee Iacocca’s great ideas, and Italian car with an American engine! Wiring on these was a problem, so as part of the restoration I hope that the wiring harness(es) were replaced/upgraded. Keeping it stock is probably for the best, but I wonder how it would drive and handle with a 5.0L Coyote Aluminator in place of that 351? Just thinking.

    Like 0
  13. justpaul

    I think the seller missed his window on this one and he’s going to have to wait for the market to rebound to see anything near $155,000. But I do wish him the best of luck. It’s a lovely example in an almost exotic color.

    Like 0
  14. Claudio

    At close to 6 feet tall, i can tell you that getting in&out of these beauties is not beautiful.
    Like any other car, it has its faults but the aftermarket has solved every issue , my brother owns one and he bought a fuse box replacement and the electrical gremlins disappeared!
    Beautiful timeless design but i prefer a top down experience

    Like 1
    • Roger Upton

      I always thought you taller and bigger people were at a disadvantage.

      Like 0
  15. Elbert Hubbard

    For that kind of money you could purchase a new fully loaded Corvette that includes all the latest safety, technology, etc. features . . . and most importantly a warranty. Take very good care of your Corvette and in 30 years it will be worth more than you paid for it.

    Like 0
    • Robert Atkinson, Jr.

      You could make that statement about almost any reasonably popular classic car, including classic Corvettes. Ever seen what 1963 “split-window” Corvette coupes have sold for at auction lately? It’s not just about the money, but what cars not only interest you, but have a special place in your life. Maybe it’s the first car you ever owned, or got your license in, got your first kiss in! Something that triggers an emotional response that causes you to think: “Those were good times!”

      The cars in question don’t even have to be good cars. Case in Point: Ford Mavericks. Mavericks have become popular as “Malaise Era” examples of the Mustang philosophy: A simple, cheap car with some style that can be made from mild to wild, depending on the owner’s taste and budget. When new, most were “bottom feeder” economy cars, bought by people who couldn’t afford anything better, and every expense was spared in their design and construction, but now they have become entry-level classics, commanding prices far in excess of their original purchase price despite fifty (50) years of inflation.

      Like 1
      • Elbert Hubbard

        Personally, I would rather have the 63 split-window Corvette over a Ford Maverick . . . to each their own :-)

        Like 1
  16. Mongoose

    There was a fully restored early 70’s one in light blue that had a 428 in it for sale a few years ago in the Chicago area for approx 120K$, anyone seen it advertised???

    Like 1
  17. douglas hunt

    I need to search that one out, would love to read all about the build up ……..

    Like 1

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