Wrecked Exotic: 1972 De Tomaso Pantera

When a car comes along with accident damage as severe as we can see on this 1972 De Tomaso Pantera, it is hard to know what to think or say. This is a car that is going to require a lot more than a minor cosmetic restoration, and I have to say a big thanks to Barn Finder Rocco B for spotting the Pantera for us. It is located in Los Angeles, California, and is listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN price of $16,000 for the Pantera, although the option is available to make an offer.

The owner of the Pantera is not understating the situation when he says that the car was involved in a severe accident in 1978. I’ve been scouring the photos very carefully trying to firmly establish what color this car was when new, but I really can’t be sure on that. I also don’t know what this once beautiful car collided with, but whatever it was must have been pretty big. When you consider the sheer scale of the damage involved here, it wouldn’t be unkind to say that this Pantera will never grace our roads again, and the best that it can hope for is to be a donor car.

Once upon a time, the Pantera was blessed with an interior trimmed in black leather. While there is still some evidence of the black trim, there really isn’t much there. The distortion of the steering wheel would give you some idea of just how enormous the impact must have been for this car. It’s hard to even recognize it as a wheel. Initially, I thought that the seat frames may be able to be salvaged from the Pantera, but I can see that these are quite heavily twisted in a couple of other photos, so I doubt that there is anything in there that can be salvaged.

For 1972, the 351ci Cleveland engine in the Pantera ran with a lower compression ratio than it had in 1971. This was done in a bid to meet US emission laws, and resulted in power dropping from 330hp in 1971, to 266hp in 1972. The Cleveland engine is still present in the Pantera, but it doesn’t look like a lot of effort has been made to protect it from the elements since 1978. The 5-speed ZF transaxle is also present, but it looks like the transaxle case has sheered away at the bell-housing. This almost certainly means that the transaxle has physical damage beyond repair, or that it has been exposed to the elements for the last 41-years. That is a pretty sure-fire recipe for a transaxle that will now be destined for the scrap metal dealer.

I would be very tempted to trot out a whole heap of jokes about the state of this De Tomaso Pantera, but there is one single thing that is stopping me. If this Pantera really was damaged in a road accident, that means that there was at least one person in the car at the time. We can only hope that the person (or people) involved managed to escape from it. We can (and do) complain about the most minor things or trivial mistakes, but you look at a car like this, and you begin to realize how lucky each of us is every day. Maybe this car’s purpose is not to be restored, reborn, or to be a parts car. Maybe its purpose is to remind us to appreciate every minute of every day.


  1. Howard A Member

    Probably wrecked in a Hollywood movie, and the owner was well paid 40 years ago,,

    Like 13
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Not worth the scrap metal rate….

    Like 19
  3. don

    The motor (if it wasn’t damaged) should have been pulled in 1978 and the rest crushed ; I would imagine from that impact that the driver didn’t make it .

    Like 25
  4. slickb

    i don”t know what you guys are talking about ?!?!??!?!?! this is a screaming deal!!!!!!

    Like 14
  5. Clipper

    Really amazing that it hung around this long and wasn’t (further) crushed and recycled in 1979.

    Like 11
  6. Moparman Member

    I don’t see anything here that would be worth 16K! Even the wheel/(s) appears to be damaged. 41 years exposure to the elements have reduced this to scrap metal (IMO)!

    Like 22
    • Mark

      Looks like it went over a cliff or possibly hit by a train. Regardless, there is no value whatsoever in this heap outside of what a scrap yard would pay.

      Like 21
      • Ralph


        Like 13
      • glen

        I was thinking train. Hard to believe anybody survived this disaster, unless they were thrown clear and I don’t know how often people survive that, either.

        Like 12
      • George

        Maybe its Vince Neil’s old car

        Like 7
      • michael

        i think it flipped over a cliff

        Like 2
  7. Chris

    Seriously what are you paying 16K for nothing looks remotely salvageable on this p.o.s. Like others have already said should have been scrapped in 79.

    Like 17
  8. Shvelle

    Wow! Good challenge.
    Looks like it rolled down one of the hills outside LA and occupant’s body impacted and bent steering wheel.
    Also looks like it was orange – look above & to left of steering wheel on ‘firewall’ (in quotes because it’s rear engine). Can also see a little orange on the driver’s side rear.

    Like 5
  9. Jf85tr99

    This place always fascinates me. Ive seen them selling porsche carcasses for years now ,they had some very rare ones about 10-15 years ago. Its knda like watching a horror movie when they drag something out on a forklift. Here in the northeast rust prevents cars from becoming some grotesque preserved twisted relic sitting in a yard for 40 years. Glws nonetheless, sad to see a beautiful car like this.


    Like 11
    • kakerlak

      This place fascinates me, too. This is not the first car we’ve seen from them that was so badly wrecked that there would’ve been virtually nothing salvageable from day one. And it’s not the first car we’ve seen that was clearly wrecked decades ago. What was the vision of the person running this operation some forty years ago when socking away things like this and what’s been keeping the doors open all this time? Would love to get a backstory/interview on this business/owner.

      Like 11
  10. Lane Anderson

    The only thing that my feeble imagination can come up with to explain this is a tornado. That thing was smacked from every possible direction, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was parked when it happened. I doubt that there is a single part worth bothering with.

    Like 12
    • Cruiser

      Tornado or possibly a flood, I have seen many cars beaten up this badly once the waters went down.

      Like 6
  11. AndyinMA

    Can’t even refer to this as a “car”

    Like 8
    • Jim Ford

      Buff it out ;-)

      Like 9
  12. Doyler

    Not even a parts car. I saw the title on an email in my inbox – “Wrecked Exotic”.

    This redefines wrecked.

    Like 5
  13. sisuman Member

    It’s not THAT bad…

    Like 5
    • mikestuff

      Yes, yes it is. It really is THAT bad :)

      Like 9
  14. Frank Fern

    The 1st post is correct in assuming it was a movie car. I’ve loved the Pantera since I was a child. I must have been 10 at the time, but I have a very clear memory of a Pantera being flung off a cliff in some terrible 70’s movie. Not sure if was a Race or Chase scene.

    Like 7
    • Ikey Heyman

      If you were going to send a car over a cliff in a movie scene, wouldn’t you remove the engine and tranny first, especially if it were an “exotic” car? Just sayin’.

      Like 12
  15. Dovi65

    I’m presuming that this is a joke listing. That’s a whole lotta coin for a useless VIN tag. You can’t do a VIN swap, as the VIN for this once car will be listed in any owners registry as “vehicle destroyed”

    Like 9
  16. Karl

    I see 5 lug nuts that may be salvaged other than the drag it on a flat bet and give it one last ride!

    Like 6
  17. Bill Shields

    I’m thinking rear ended by a semi?
    And by the badly bent wheel and it looks like the top was jaws of life chopped off I am with the author in thinking no jokes, this may have been someone’s literal last ride.

    Like 8
    • Ralph

      Well there probably was a coroners wagon and a hearse later too……

      Like 13
      • glen

        See, right or wrong, humour can be found anywhere! (I find myself biting my tongue quite a bit, and it hurts)

        Like 8
  18. Ralph

    From what angle? Vintage or current?

    Whatcha need?

    Like 3
  19. David Duivesteyn

    Maybe it was Tim Hortons 72 which he crashed in the winter of 1974? Can any Canuckleheads out there confirm this ?

    Like 9
    • Ralph

      I was trying to remember someone famous that was killed in a Pantera, that was it.

      Like 6
    • Ralph

      Your post made me look it up, Hortons car wasn’t as badly damaged as this car, thought it was destroyed too, it has more front damage.

      Hortons car was also a 1972, but it was white, and it has Goodyear Arrivas in the photos where this car still has Polyglass tires.

      Like 8
    • Nick G

      From Wikipedia: Horton was killed after losing control of his De Tomaso Pantera sports car on the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) in St. Catharines, Ontario, in the early morning of February 21, 1974.

      Like 3
  20. Jack M.

    Imagine how long you would be sleeping on the couch if after telling the wife you bought a new hobby car, this thing shows up on the driveway!

    Like 8
  21. ben

    Hey do you hear a train?.

    Like 4
  22. PaulG

    “I’m gonna need a deposit on that pallet…”

    Like 14
  23. rustyvet

    Do us all a favor and crush it, so no one will ever see it again.

    Like 6
  24. Rodney - GSM

    Pantera? Thought you said Panini…

    Like 15
  25. rustylink

    the Vince Neil Special….

    Like 9
  26. Bernie H.

    I think he’s got two to many zero’s in the price tag. Nothing salvageable since its been sitting this long. i’ll bet the driver didn’t survive.

    Like 4
  27. The Chucker

    “Stored since 1978. Needs work, but would be a good winter project.”

    Like 2
    • BG

      “Winter is Coming”

      Like 3
      • Mike

        …yes, 40 more winters.

        Like 6
  28. grant

    Someone likely died in this car. Besides the fact that it’s beyond repair, this thing needs to be crushed. Anything else is just morbid and disrespectful.

    Like 12
  29. TimM

    If you wrecked a historical home you would be brought up on charges!!! But you can destroy a beautiful car like this and it’s no big deal!!!

  30. Ralph

    Well, at least the roadster conversion part is halfway done…..

    Like 5
  31. Sal

    You should move this listing to right after the 68 Charger with the /6…. This makes that car look like a screaming deal!!

    Like 2
  32. Mike

    Call BHCC for a pick-up. They probably have a flatbed on its way as we speak.

    Like 7
  33. NovaTom

    “No warranty expressed or implied” ? Forget it – I’ll keep looking

    Like 2
  34. Billy1

    Not these jokers again!! Can anyone living near this dump of a business PLEASE petition your local city council to pull their license and send the bulldozers in there.

    This place is like a bad rash-it keeps coming back and listing these tetanus-inducing wrecks .

    Like 7
  35. RoughDiamond

    I’d be afraid the deceased previous owner would leave little clues that he had been hanging around and wanted his De Tomaso Pantera back.

    Like 4
  36. John Gibson

    – and the best that it can hope for is to be a donor car

    16K for a gear stick does not sound like a great deal to me.

    Like 4
  37. Jerry

    It might buff out

    Like 2
  38. WEH

    It looks like it was pulled out of the rubble after an earthquake

    Like 5
  39. Ted

    Kelvinator wouldn’t take this to turn into a fridge, and that’s saying something.

    Like 1
  40. Derek Nathan Daniel

    Best wright up yet Adam ..kinda looks like James Deans Car.

    Like 2
  41. Ron

    You guys are such pessamists….a couple hundred pounds of bondo, a good vaccuming and it’s go to go……!

    Like 1
  42. RJ

    Back in the late 50’s when I was ‘officially’ learning to drive, a car like this would be parked somewhere near the Driver’s Training parking lot, as an example of what could happen if you drive over 35 mph.

    Like 7
    • David Ulrey

      I was basically thinking the same thing. Showcase for Drivers Ed or for Defense Driving class. I would really like to know the story behind this one. IF there was a person in it when this car was destroyed no question that they would have been destroyed too. Many realistic theories have been expressed here. Any of which are possible.

      Like 2
  43. Jack Quantrill

    This kind of damage shows it went off a high cliff. $16,000, he must be joking!

    Like 3
  44. RBatsch

    Could this be a case where the VIN is worth $16K?

    Like 2
    • moosie moosie

      My thoughts exactly !

      • Danno

        Mine as well. I guess if you wanted to build a really custom Pantera, and didn’t want to “ruin” a good one, this would be the place to start. Tubular chassis, modern drivetrain – basically a Pantera body over a contemporary technology.
        But is a Pantera VIN tag worth $16k?

        Like 1
  45. Steve H.

    The oil filler cap appears to be in good condition.

  46. lowbusman

    I have a 73 and by looking at the pictures I can say other than a few fittings and hard to find bits of hardware, there is nothing here that is worth the asking price.

    Like 2
  47. Rick Member

    They forgot to mention the patina.

    Like 2
    • ACZ

      Pantera patina

      Like 1
  48. bigdoc

    $16,000? The price of scrap metal has really gone crazy.

    Like 3
  49. Jim Fox

    It looks like it has already been through the crusher.

    Like 6
  50. moosie moosie

    This place that has this “car” looks like the same place that has those Porsches in equally dismal condition.

    Like 2
  51. Scott

    I know things are REALLY different in California but this just re-writes all of it. I honestly Do Not understand what the seller thinks they are selling !!! Parts for these are already exceedingly hard to come by, that being said I do not believe there are a handful of bolts to be gathered from this. I can only hope there is NOT anyone on THIS Planet crazy enough to purchase this pile of patina’d rubble.

    Like 3
  52. jack hammer


  53. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    The first thing I thought of when I saw the picture is that I hope it has some magical Christine powers.

    • Mike Tellez

      You don’t see it: The VIN, title, matching number block and possibly transmission is a clones dream come true

  54. Bern

    Is anyone thinking about the movie “CHRISTINE”?

  55. Bobby Roy

    Ran when parked, I mean ran when crashed.

  56. Gary

    Everything this guy lists is way overpriced. He specializes in Porsches and exotics. Most of it should be crushed.

    Like 2
    • moosie moosie

      Maybe he is waiting for the price of scrap iron to go up, meantime he is trying to snag some unsuspecting rich guy ?

      Like 1
  57. Ensign Pulver

    It looks just like the bacon sitting before me on my plate

    Like 1
    • moosie moosie

      Bacon, either under cooked or over cooked looks way better than this pile of manure.


    Is the seller crazy?

  59. Bodyman68

    Bf must be desperate to waste time on a writeup of this pos , this isn’t worth the time or effort. This car has been totalled and gutted for what ever was left in tact years ago! This place in La is only selling high end scrap for rediculous prices and has been for years . There were no survivors in this wreck and no one will buy it . Why would you praise anyone for finding this ? To remind us about life ? I’ve seen my share of wrecks in person, any fatal will make you appreciate life ! I hope the family of the loved one doesn’t see this , as it would only be a reminder of their loss .

    Like 4
    • michael

      Integrity has dies along with this car and it’s occupants. This site is all about turning nothing into a profit

      Like 2
    • George

      Perhaps, but given the number of comments, it’s doing its job.

  60. Rod Brace

    Looks like jaws of life was used on front door pillar on drivers side

    Like 1
  61. Ward William

    16 grand !?!?! I’d give a smelly fart for it and not a cent more.

  62. Jim Fox

    I’m tempted to make an offer of 99 cents but I’m afraid I might get stuck with it.


    Like 1
  63. Little_Cars Little Cars Member

    The theory that you could use this in front of a school teaching Drivers Education would only work if the car in question was RECOGNIZABLE by the current generation as a four-wheeled conveyance. Unfortunately, any lesson from this car sitting out front would be…a science experiment…”this is what happens when moisture meets mild steel and aluminum castings.” :)

  64. RITON

    Someone could buy this just to brag around and say he has a Pantera in his garage…

    Like 1
  65. t-BONE BOB


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