Racing Model: 1972 De Tomaso Pantera GTS

Like many Italian sports cars, the De Tomaso Pantera enjoyed a long production life. The first cars rolled out of the factory in Modena, Italy, in 1971. The final example appeared in 1992. Our feature car is a 1972 Pantera GTS, a competition-focused model that offered improvements to the standard car’s already impressive performance. It isn’t 100% original, but that hasn’t stopped it from generating much interest since the seller listed it here on eBay. Located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, twenty-four bids have pushed the price to $86,860, although that figure is short of the reserve.

De Tomaso released the Pantera as a successor to its Mangusta model. The company learned a significant amount from the earlier model that helped it avoid some of the design flaws that plagued the Mangusta throughout its production life. The 1972 model year was the company’s most successful, with 2,061 buyers handing over their cash to own one of these classics. Before we delve too deeply into this car, it is worth noting that the seller has made some significant modifications that impact almost every aspect of the vehicle. The first of these is the paint, which is a non-original shade of Red Metallic. It presents well, with no significant flaws or defects. It coats equally impressive panels with no signs of dings, dents, or other issues. The original Pantera possessed almost elegant styling, but this car pushes the boundaries. It features GT5 fender flares and spoilers, a delta rear wing that looks like it belongs on a late-1970s Countach, a few additional scoops, and an enormous set of aftermarket alloy wheels that fill the wheel-wells nicely and feature De Tomaso center caps. The additions make the car look far more aggressive, suggesting it might be more at home on a race track than pottering around city streets or the suburbs.

Alejandro De Tomaso forged a strong working relationship with Ford through his involvement with Lee Iacocca. Therefore, it is no surprise that the Pantera benefited from this relationship to feature Ford power. Any mid-engine car should provide the ultimate driving experience because the engine placement offers the opportunity for perfect weight distribution. The Pantera probably benefitted more from this philosophy than other cars because its 351ci Cleveland V8 is a heavy piece of iron. Sitting it in the center of the vehicle offered significant benefits compared to a front-engined placement. That V8 should produce 345hp, which feeds to the rear wheels via a five-speed racing ZF manual transaxle. Is it fast? Only slightly! How does a ¼ mile ET of 13.1 seconds sound? Yeah, I think it sounds pretty good. If the driver is brave enough to keep the pedal to the metal until the Cleveland runs out of breath, the needle will nudge 174mph. The seller has performed numerous upgrades to extract additional power and improve reliability. They have paid particular attention to the cooling system, with an upgraded radiator, water pump, and cooling fans that should prevent the 351 from performing a passable impression of Chernobyl. It features a new clutch and other recent maintenance that ensures it is in sound mechanical health. It is a turnkey classic ready to be driven to its new home.

If the Pantera’s exterior offers plenty of upgrades, its interior continues that theme. Virtually nothing is as it left the factory, and the presentation is impossible to fault. The owner added KR Racing seats, and like the rest of the upholstered surfaces and dash, they feature supple tan leather. There are no signs of wear, and nothing has been missed in the owner’s quest to create something unique. The console is a custom unit, while the factory gauges have made way for digital Intellitronix components. In-car entertainment is covered by a CD player, while rearward visibility is aided by a rear-view and reversing camera with a large LCD mounted to the right of the steering column. Rounding out the interior is ice-cold air conditioning and power windows.

Some consider the De Tomaso Pantera as a triumph of style over substance. Certainly, early cars didn’t live up to the manufacturer’s promise, and quality control issues were legendary. However, time has allowed owners to eliminate the problems that plagued the early cars, and any vehicle capable of topping 170mph could hardly be accused of lacking in substance. Even in its original form, the Pantera was not a subtle vehicle, but when you add the scoops, fender flares, and spoilers we see on this GTS, it is about as in-your-face as any car could possibly be. The bidding history suggests people like what they see, but that raises the question of what they might be prepared to pay for this Italian classic. There seems little doubt that it will achieve six figures before the hammer falls, and I won’t be surprised if it tops $130,000. That’s a lot of money, but with only 7,082 Panteras produced between 1971 and 1992, its rarity and performance potential would justify the price.

Comments

  1. Rick

    I went ahead and kicked the eBay bid up to slightly more than $90,000.
    I’d sure like to get input from others on this site regarding that bid and the probable reserve.
    Many thanks for the help.
    Rick

  2. Howie

    Wow!! Many things look great, some not so great, the wheels and flares do not cut it for me, i clicked on sellers other items, 911 items came up and it looks like all vehicles!!

    Like 9
  3. FrankD Member

    Its a nice one! It’s definitely a 6 figure car. I looked the VIN up in the Detomaso Registry and the car is not listed.

  4. Greg Gustafson

    The fender and wheel treatments are gauche. Why anybody would do that to a Pantera (or most any car) is beyond me.

    Like 10
  5. Big C

    The boy racer body mods are straight out of the 80’s. But, the interior and performance enhancements are spot on.

    Like 3
    • Frank Sumatra

      So are mullets and Loverboy cassettes. No thanks.

      Like 2
  6. DUCTRUCK

    Pretty dang cool I’ll bet it’s like a rocket sled on a rail I like the interior as well but why is there a CD player in there do you actually think you could hear that?? I think not happy sales

  7. Auric

    The added bulges and pseudo Countach look don’t work for me. A ’71 or ’72 Pantera should be kept as original as possible…with the exception of original wiring and mechanical parts that simply didn’t get the job done. When you start customizing dramatically a valuable classic, you diminish its appeal by reducing the number of people who will like it, and fork out lots of money for your personal vision of what a cool machine should be.

    Like 3
  8. Ike Onick

    Where is the air valve to pump up the fenders?

    Like 2
  9. Barry A Presly

    the bids have reached 90 thousand how bad can it be

    • Greg Gustafson

      A fool and his money are soon partying.

  10. Mitchell

    Cool thing. The bargain Ferrari. A good balanced package
    except the red painted interior parts. Digital gauges? Sorry
    not. But it looks cool.

  11. jwaltb

    Gauche is the proper word.

    Like 1
  12. RacinRob4

    Adam you hit the nail on the head as to finally selling price. Shows $130,000 on the eBay listing today 8/8/2022

  13. Wric

    Picked mine up for $10K….but also traded in my 1965 K9 Code HIPO GT Fastback. Mines a Stage 3 ‘71!!! Love this car!!!!! Yes I miss my Stang. 289 dyno’d at 410hp at rear wheels!!!!

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