Major Project: 1972 De Tomaso Pantera

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The person who chooses to take on the restoration of this 1972 De Tomaso Pantera will need to be a person of infinite patience because there is not one aspect of the car that won’t need their attention. However, with values increasing slowly but steadily, it is a car that has generated its fair share of interest since being listed for sale here on eBay. Located in Littleton, Colorado, there has now been 18 people who have submitted a total of 26 bids on the car. This has pushed it along to $9,900, but the reserve hasn’t been met. The owner also suggests that he may be willing to take a running Corvette as part payment for the car.

One of the things that I’ve always been fascinated by with De Tomaso is that for all of the exotic looks and features that were the hallmarks of the car, the company chose to keep the names for their paint colors very simple. This particular Pantera is finished in what was officially called “Yellow.” As you can see, the car has been dismantled for restoration, but ill health is forcing the owner to part with it. For my money, the scariest part of this car is that it has rust to contend with. This is present in the floors, the trunk, and the rear deck lid. The rust in the deck lid could be addressed by simply replacing the panel, but the floors are a different matter. The Pantera was the company’s first venture into monocoque construction, and just how serious the rust is, isn’t clear. In one of the interior photos, we can see some of the rust in the floor, but it is hard to determine whether it has encroached into the box sections in the floor that provide the Pantera with a lot of its strength. Hopefully, it isn’t too extensive. All of the glass is present, although the owner says that the rear window is cracked.

The interior of the Pantera is essentially complete, and while it appears that the seats may need new covers, it is hard to ascertain the condition of the rest of the interior trim. While the interior of a Pantera appeared to be quite exotic, it did present one or two minor problems. The first was that with limited headroom, it really wasn’t a viable car for anyone who was more than 6′ tall. The second was that the pedals are offset, which is not an uncommon design in Italian cars. This was exacerbated in the Pantera by the more laid-back driving position and could make them tiring to drive long distances.

Powering the mid-engined Pantera should be a 351ci Cleveland V8 engine, which sends its power the rear wheels via a 5-speed ZF transaxle. I use the past tense here because the original engine is no longer in residence. The owner does have another 351 that is included in the sale, but this will require a complete rebuild. Of greater concern is that while the bell housing is present, the ZF transmission is also missing. Sourcing a replacement is definitely possible, but the price can be a bit eye-watering. The cheapest example that I have been able to find was a snip at $8,000, while a fully rebuilt unit can cost up to $20,000.

A nice ’72 Pantera is capable of commanding a six-figure price in today’s market. As I said earlier, values on these are climbing slowly, but steadily. This one needs a lot of work, and replacing the transaxle is going to be an expensive proposition. That is going to be one of the biggest obstacles in this restoration. It seems though, that there are people out there who are prepared to accept the challenge.

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  1. 8banger David MikaMember

    Ow, that’s an expensive tranny!

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  2. Jeff

    It’s a partial parts car please put it out of its misery and deliver the coup de gras.

    A mishmosh of parts will never be a Pantera, don’t you think?

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  3. TomMember

    Peeling the onion back further… to cars like this (how to people let) get into this condition?

    Too much money and too little brains? That is my only conclusion.

    Like 0
  4. h5mind

    I’ve never understood the appeal of these cars. Back in the day, I remember Pantera’s as unreliable due to overheating issues and uncomfortable due to quirky Italian “form-before-function” styling. May as well buy a Lamborghini or Ferrari if you’re going to blow a six figure hole in your bank account. To each their own, I suppose.

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    • scottymac

      Buy in was less, and tune ups didn’t involve pulling the engine, resulting in a five figure bill. Love the styling! To each, his own!

      Like 0
  5. Victor Anderson

    Bidding is over $10,000. Considering what it would cost to put it back together I think it’s not worth any more than that.

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  6. DonS

    This Pantera is about 30 minutes from Pantera Performance – a brand specific shop. They do all restorations, repairs, services, racing, parts…everything. Combine this car, resources of Pantera Performance, and a pile of cash…and you have a beast of a car.

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    • RivaDella

      And there is likely a reason why PP has not already snatched this one…..😂

      Like 0
  7. ACZ

    Well, at least this one is in better condition than the last one shown here that was wadded up into a ball.

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  8. TimM

    Well at least it hasn’t been wrapped around a tree like the other ( partial car) that’s been on bf for the passed month!!!

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  9. Aribert

    Thirty plus years ago I aquired a ZF transaxle from a Pantera. I had dreams of building a GT40 replica. Life got in the way, then Ford came out with the GT and having a GT40 replica lost some of it’s appeal. I still haven’t gotten around to selling the transaxle – dreams die slowly. Someday I’ll end up selling the transaxle and using the monies to buy a project car – something prewar (as a 49 Chevy 3100 is the oldest vehicle I have ever owned).

    Like 0
  10. t-BONE BOB

    too far gone

    Like 0

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