Stalled Restoration: 1972 De Tomaso Pantera

There are plenty of enthusiasts in the world who prefer the styling purity of the early De Tomaso Pantera over the later models. This 1972 Pantera is looking for just such a person, but they will need to be a patient person because there is some work ahead of them to return this car to its best. Located in Bremerton, Washington, you will find the Pantera listed for sale here on eBay. With bidding now at $23,100, the reserve hasn’t been met. The owner also does provide a BIN option, and this has been set at $27,500.

This Pantera looks like it is a stalled project, and the next owner is facing a mountain of work just to return the body and panels to a decent state. It isn’t clear what color the car was when it rolled out of the factory, but this is now covered with a coating of gray primer. Starting with the good news, and it doesn’t appear as though there are any major rust issues with the car. There is certainly a coating of surface corrosion in a few places, but these are not major. Now let’s look at the panels themselves, and there is plenty of scope for a good body man (or woman) to weave their magic upon this car. It looks like every vertical surface will need to come in for attention, as there are dents and dings galore. The owner says that the car is 95% complete, but we know that at least the rear glass is missing. It isn’t clear what might be missing in the way of external trim and badges.

The news does improve a bit when we delve under the hood. The original 351ci Cleveland V8 engine and 5-speed ZF transaxle are both still present. The Pantera is missing its original air cleaner, and while the owner doesn’t specifically make mention of it, the clean and fresh appearance of both the engine and transaxle suggests that these components might have received a refresh at some point. Even though the 1972 model year saw some major changes to the 351 engine to comply with tighter emission laws, the Pantera still had 310hp at its disposal. Performance by today’s standards is not in the league of current supercars, but a 0-60mph time of 4.9 seconds, a ¼ mile time of 13.5 seconds and a top speed of 162mph are all still impressive figures. The problem is that the Pantera is not a car that really enjoys being driven with any sort of spirit or enthusiasm, as the controls were generally regarded as being quite heavy. It really is a triumph of style over substance.

The next owner of this Pantera is going to need deep pockets when it comes to restoring the interior of the car because while the seats and door trims look like they might respond well to decent cleaning, it looks like new carpet and a new headliner will be needed. That’s just the tip of the iceberg though because the dash looks like it is cracked in a few places, and the gauge cluster is also missing. I went looking to see if I could locate complete replacement gauges but didn’t have a lot of luck. I did find replacement faces for them, but even those alone were nearly $500. I don’t really want to think about how much entire gauges would cost on that basis.

For this 1972 Pantera to be returned to its best, it is going to require a special sort of individual who is not afraid of outlaying some money to realize their dream. In its current state, I can’t help but think that the best way to do this car justice would be to undertake a full “nut and bolt” restoration. This is not going to be a cheap process, but at the end of the day, it would be the only way to return the car to a state where it would command a decent price if it were to be sold in the future. In the end, the sticking point with this car will be what it could ultimately be worth once restored. It is possible to buy a clean 1972 Pantera for under $70,000, but a pristine example can push up as high as $130,000. The reality is that there would ultimately be very little difference in the cost of returning the Pantera to an immaculate state than there would be to just making it nice. The difference in the ultimate value of the car would seem to make the extra effort worth it.

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Comments

  1. Bill

    I don’t think that would be an undoable project for the price. I have several on BF that are in far worse shape for $1000’s more.

    Like 2
  2. Steve R

    The seller is not the owner, it’s “being sold to benefit an estate”, it’s also “believed” to be 95% complete. Those are the magic word, it gets them out of trouble with eBay if more parts are missing, which I’d bet will be the case.

    Steve R

    Like 7
  3. Gaspumpchas

    yea Steve looks like plenty of stuff missing, especially in the engine compartment. This thing is beat so badly that even the coat of fresh primer isn’t hiding much. Also wonder if its a rattle can rebuild on the mill?? good luck to the new owner!
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 3
  4. Buckskin joe

    A very oddly presented car. It has 73-4 front bumper and the 71-72 rear bumpers. No one puts the ugly rubber bumpers on unless they are correct for the car. The seats may be correct but red piping? The rear window was likely broken when removed as I remember it’s safety glass and a new one could be cut. The exhaust is missing which isn’t a big deal but none the less it’s not there or shown. The under carriage shot does’t look too promising for the rest of the car. Also missing is the rear trunk liner (tub), finish panels above the engine, A/C condenser, cooling fan/ hoses, and brace between the rear aprons. I guess the trailer park did not have enough room to store all the pieces. I do see it was apparently hauled there due to the empty car trailer in the background.
    No accident damage? Why are the doors and right quarter panel so trashed?
    I’m glad he spent money on Boyd Coddington wheels since the correct wheels are already on it.
    The seller made a big point of the 4 bolt main 351 Cleveland. I am pretty sure Ford did not make 4 bolt main blocks. I had one which I stroked.
    The interior is quite complete actually. The pieces I see missing in the dash include the Speedo and Tach. The other gauges are there. The heater A/C controls are missing and the louvers for the A/C. The window switches are in the dash. Shift knob is missing. I wonder if the seller knew which parts were which when he picked up the car. I need better pictures to see what the deal is with the defroster ducts.
    I love that several of the pictures are upside down……..rrrrrrrrrrrrr. At least you get a new roll bar???

    • KKW

      Actually, Ford made several versions of a 4-bolt main Cleveland, one of which was the Boss 351. I’m not sure, but if I remember right, the Pantera was equipped with the 351 H.O., which was also a 4-bolt block.

  5. Bakyrdhero

    Admittedly I do not know these cars as much as I’d like to, but this sure looks like a money pit to me.

    Like 3
  6. Bmac Bmac Member

    Adam, deep pockets are an understatement. Interior parts alone make this another stalled project. Having just finished a 71 hang on to your wallet when it comes to the interior. Is it me or does it look like this one has been kissed in the rear?

    Like 2
  7. pwtiger

    That dent on the right 1/4 looks like it could have taken a hit in the rear or maybe someone walked around this poor girl with a baseball bat.

    Like 2
  8. TimM

    Any car in primer to me smells of bondo!! Although the dented door leads me to believe that it may have been painted for some other reason because why not take the dents out of the door before you put the primer on??? I’ve always wanted one of these but they will never be affordable to me!!

    Like 2
  9. KKW

    How does someone let one of these get in this condition in the first place. Simply amazing.

    Like 2
  10. bobhess bobhess Member

    In the early ’80s these cars were selling for almost nothing. One in this condition could be bought for a couple K. Cost of restoring almost not worth it to most folks.

    Like 3
  11. t-bone Bob

    too much

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