Mid-Engine Ford Power! 1972 De Tomaso Pantera

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The De Tomaso Pantera was an Italian-built, mid-engine sports car with Ford power. Though on the market for a lot longer in Europe, the Pantera was imported into the U.S. just between 1972 and 1975 and sold at Lincoln-Mercury dealers. This example is the “L” or luxury edition and looks well-cared for during the past 50+ years. With just 33,000 miles, it’s available in Washington, DC, and here on eBay where you’ll have to do better than $69,100 to satisfy the seller’s reserve.

While more than 7,000 Panteras were built over 20 years, most (5,500) were exported from Italy to the U.S. during De Tomaso’s partnership with Ford. The Pantera name was derived from the Italian word for panther and the car certainly looks the part, with its low swooping lines and stance. Because most of the autos were destined for America, they had features common to domestic cars of the day, such as buzzers that went off when you left the doors open. The mid-engine placement was a 351 cubic inch “Cleveland” V8 which was rated at 264 hp (tweaked and supplied by Ford). It was paired with a rather long ZF transaxle with five forward gears.

The vehicle got a lot of attention in the press and Road Test Magazine bestowed “Import Car of the Year” honors on it in 1973. The seller’s version is from 1972, the first year, and is also the “L” model with a few more goodies. It’s finished in Coral Metallic paint which we assume is original to the car, but no claim of that is made. The interior is finished in red cloth and the overall package looks quite impressive. The pop-up headlights work, and the De Tomaso rides on 17-inch wheels.

Upgrades made by the current owner include a new air conditioning set-up that is fitted to R13A specifications. We’re told the machine has been maintained by Ron McCall, who apparently is the mechanical guru when it comes to the Pantera. You don’t see many of these speed demons running around anymore (and you didn’t when they were new, either). For a video clip of this cool car, click here. BTW, if I were selling the car, I’d pick somewhere better than an alley to photograph it,

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Comments

  1. Nevada1/2rack Nevada1/2rackMember

    Wow. If the Guggenheim were to have an exhibition today of car design as it did with the traveling motorcycle display in 2002, this beauty would be in the top 10 IMHO.

    Like 14
    • Joseph J. Salas

      I do agree w/you on that, also
      bet the Lotus Esprit would be
      alongside it..not sure on year-
      but, it’s the model on the Bond
      film..”Spy Who Loved Me”, lead
      actor was Roger Moore, who I
      believe is the best 007..IMHO*
      (*In My Honest Opinion, right?)

      Like 9
      • Anthony Popola

        Sorry, I’m a Sean Connery guy, we grew up idolizing him although I like Roger Moore, especially in the Saint TV series

        Like 3
  2. Frank TA

    Nice car. The seller purchased this car solely as an investment and doesn’t want to add to the odometer. That’s probably why all the photos are just outside of the garage it is stored in.

    Like 7
  3. CCFisher

    With 5500 sent to the US over four model years, it’s true that you didn’t see one every day, but they were definitely a more common sight than true exotics (with exotic engines) like Ferrari or Maserati.

    That engine is located in the least accessible part of the car. Ron McCall must be a contortionist.

    Like 2
    • Philbo427

      Wow, never knew there was a luxury edition?

      Sorry if I missed it but is that the factory color? Never seen one that color.

      Like 0
    • RacerDave

      I was working at a Ford dealer I think In 1973 & one these came into the shop. My friend was working there also and got to take it out for a spin. Marvelous Car!

      Like 1
  4. MoragaPulsar

    All ‘enhancements’ from otherwise stock condition here = fail. Tastes vary, but here it is just wrong.

    Like 5
  5. RayTMember

    I have to admit I’ve never seen that color on a Pantera before. Most I know of came in non-metallic shades.

    Not a fan of the wheels or the mods, but since I couldn’t hit the reserve, I’m sure someone will be interested.

    Nice cars, especially when all the fussy issues that plagued them when new are resolved.

    Like 7
    • Martin Haracz

      I had a 71 in 72 and it came in silver metallic.
      #1368. It had a button push door latch and a cutout in the 1/4 panel for your fingers.
      The flat out fastest street car I ever had 162 mph on chgo tollways. In1972 73.
      Doesn’t quite beat the alchohol dragster I drove. But this car is a very nice Pantera from a previous owner of pantera. The cloth interior of this one is. Interesting ?!

      Like 2
  6. Howie

    I like the outside color, but the interior is rough and nasty.

    Like 9
  7. John Leinen

    Knock off 25 k for non factory colors and de hotrodding motor.

    Like 5
  8. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TNMember

    I don’t know much about Panteras but I like them. I’m with the other posters who think the modifications detract from the car. And, I agree with Russ about the pictures. If putting miles on the car is the issue, hire a quality rollback to take it to a park or subdivision or other attractive location.

    Like 7
  9. Tony O

    I had the chance to drive one of these beauties years and years ago and I’ll tell you this is a car to own , you don’t see these in the market. If I had the money this would be mine

    Like 2
  10. Todd DeNio

    The top Pantera experts and the members of Pantera clubs recommend to NOT buy a totally stock Pantera, but to buy one that has had upgrades made on it to correct the issues that plagued them in stock form. I’m not an expert on Panteras and will never be able to own one, but I think I would have to go against my usual standing of keeping a car as original as possible in this case and would follow the advice of the experts.

    Like 8
    • George

      Yes I have to agree, i love the car especially cause it’s has a ford engine in it . But let’s be realistic to buy a vintage car especially an Italian import it’s better with the upgrades so that you will be able to get more enjoyment out of it rather than it spending more time in the shop than in your garage lol

      Like 4
  11. Big C

    These were the first Fords, I think, that had a 5 figure window sticker. I remember being at a new car show and gazing at that MSRP.

    Like 4
    • Billy

      Well, yes and not. The first one I saw at our local Ford Mercury Lincoln dealership was in 1971. Price was $9,995.

      If my memory is greater than my manhood, I don’t believe this is a factory color nor do I believe that the interior color is factory.

      By the view of the 5 digit odometer it appears to have a question imo.

      I’ve always loved the ass end view of these cars.

      Like 2
  12. Slimm

    It is very interesting that a Pantera is a car whose value is considered to be affected by what the background is in its classified ad photos. .

    Like 6
  13. Ronald Amon

    Like everything else that’s a winner, Ford stopped making them. Requiem for Loser company. Thankfully they never got hold of Corvette.

    Like 0
    • Tompdx

      De Tomaso made the Pantera, not Ford. Ford just supplied the engine.

      Like 11
    • Big C

      Yeah, ask the Pontiac, Saturn and Oldsmobile fans ’bout that.

      Like 2
      • BigDaddyBonz

        Haha, good response.

        Like 0
  14. t-bone bob

    Very unique color.

    Like 1
  15. Malcolm Greer

    A broadcasting co-worker of mine bought a white one of these new in ’72. It didn’t go fast enough for him, so, knowing I was a gearhead, I was commissioned to put a Torker intake and 750 Holley. 10-4 on being a contortionist. I did the swapout right there in the radio station’s parking lot. It was in downtown Charlotte, and drew a lot of onlookers. I got to test my work out afterwards, and loved every minute of it. Crazy thing is, Calvin traded it in a year later for a green Jag XJ 12 SEDAN!!!!. The horror, the horror…..

    Like 7
  16. Billy

    You sir, are correct. There was only one interior color. Black. It’s pretty obvious that this interior has been through a die tank. Also, there were no interiors offered in cloth. Only options were leather or vinyl.
    Something else that I wonder about. I have never heard of this official Pantera officianado. Don’t know..?

    This exterior color appears to be a Cadillac color. Maybe.
    Wish we had a few closer shots of all the body gaps. Original cars were very well assembled.

    Hell, I don’t know. Just doesn’t feel comfortable.
    Good luck to all!

    Like 2
  17. BBLK 390

    Beautiful Pantera

    Like 0
  18. CLE

    40 minutes to go on ebay & at $75,100.00 with reserve not met yet! ! !

    Like 0
  19. Araknid78

    Bidding ended on Mon, Apr 15 at 5:21 PM.

    US $75,200.00
    41 bids Ended
    Reserve not met

    Like 0
    • Billy

      I kinda figured that it would not sell. IMHO the car has too many unanswered questions for me. AND, if it didn’t sell for that highest bid I strongly believe it won’t until the owner settles down to reality.

      Most likely will sell locally. I don’t have the time or a gigantic magnifying glass.

      Like 0
  20. Mike karnick

    Having owned a 1974, I can tell you these things rust from the inside out! They are Great to look at, but after 10k they self destruct. I bought 1970 intermeccanica Italia after that, I have had it for 50 years, ,it has 351 clelvland that was rated at 315 bop.

    Like 2

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