Solid Starting Point: 1972 De Tomaso Pantera

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It turns out there are smarter ways to buy a project car than I do, which tends to focus on “cheap” and “impossible to find parts for”, rather than starting with a good foundation on a car that’s appreciating quickly, like this De Tomaso Pantera. The seller seems to think it presents betters than it actually is, as he notes the presence of rust in the rockers, lower door sills, and edges of the front and rear valences. Still, there’s a lot of new parts and it is said to run great. You’ll find it here on eBay with a $52,000 Buy-It-Now.

As we all know by now, I tend to find cars like this junkyard find Mercedes 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth and this 1986 Isuzu Trooper two-door in a Georgia field. Yes, they cost far less than $52,000, but God only knows how many thousands of dollars in labor they will need just to run. This Pantera is a running, driving car with a fantastic interior and lots of new parts, including a radiator, starter, cooling fans, brake lines, water pump, fuel pump, battery, and more. Yes, the body will need some work, but a lot of the hard stuff is already done.

More impressive to me is how well the body still shows despite the supposedly rusty edges – which I can barely see in the photos. The seller notes the paint job isn’t great, and it covered up the likely-spectacular original shade of yellow this Pantera wore when it left the factory. Despite the repaint, the seller can see no evidence of major body damage or prior accidents, so it’s a real bummer that the last person to repaint this car didn’t stick with the original yellow finish. The engine bay looks impressively clean.

Again, if there are rusty areas on this car, they are well hidden by the undercoating. The Pantera looks sharp and likely goes even better, but the seller notes the only work he’s done is to “….have ring and pinion rebuilt and installed daytime running lights.” That’s an odd list of priorities, but perhaps the Pantera otherwise runs so well there was nothing else to do. Whatever the story is, this looks like a far smarter buy in terms of a starting point, provided the hard-to-spot rust isn’t worst than the seller describes.

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  1. TimM

    I would love to own one of these cars but 52,000 is a little steep for me!! Car looks good though!!

    Like 6
  2. Angel

    Out of my reach too. Nice car. A running driving Pantera for 52k sounds cheap to me. Would have liked for the seller to show pics of the rusted areas. Surface rust or rotted through? Perhaps the 52k b.i.n. is enough to assume the latter. Pics and script dont tell the whole story. Leaves interested parties having to ask for more. Very interesting find nonetheless.

    Like 2
  3. Jack Hammer

    I recently bought a Jeep for $35k. If I’d seen this and managed to find 17k……….hhmmmm? Which is more fun?

    Like 3
  4. Socaljoe

    The landscaping is pretty lush for Chandler Az

    Like 1
    • GTiDave

      Pictures were taken in Michigan.

      Like 1
  5. Maestro1

    I think silver is much better than yellow, original or not. I also think it’s too much money for the car even though it has strong upside potential. These cars are hard to work on and this one needs a really excellent body man and who knows what else.
    It’s a buy at a lower acquisition cost.

    Like 2
  6. Buckskin

    I had a few Panteras about 40 years ago. They had accident damage which I repaired. I was on good terms with my local Ford parts department so much that the Parts Manager gave me the parts book as I was his only customer.
    I can assume the rust is in the rockers and the floor supports. The Italians could style a beautiful car but they weren’t quite with it when it came to metallurgy and panel prep. I put new outer rockers in because of rust. When I removed the outer rocker panel I found bare metal on the rest of the internal parts which had to be repaired. Besides, all joins are finished with lead, so it’s very likely any panel preservatives were heat treated with the lead application.
    My theory s that ALL Panteras have some rust. If they came across the ocean in salty air, they were exposed to some level of rust. Some live in better climates which helps preserve them but it’s still lurking.

    Like 6
  7. Steve

    Always loved the body style and it has held up well. Are all the mechanicals Ford, or just the engine?

    Like 0
    • bobk

      Engine – Ford 351 Cleveland
      Transaxle – ZF

      Like 0

    … still sexy after all these years.

    At this point in the stratosphere, 52 rocks looks like an alright price for a good Pantera.

    Like 0
  9. Mark Evans

    Trivia-Famous Hockey Player Tim Horton (MOST OF YOU THOUGHT HE ONLY MADE DONUTS) died in one of these driving from Oakville Ontario at astronomical speed on his way to play a game in Buffalo for the Sabres.

    Like 0
  10. t-BONE BOB


    Like 0

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