The Pantera (Italian for “Panther”) was a mid-engined sports car produced by the De Tomaso car company of Italy from 1971 to 1991, the last one being delivered to a customer in 1992. It was the automaker’s most popular model, with over 7,000 units produced during its 20-year run.
The car was designed by American designer Tom Tjaarda and replaced the De Tomaso The car made its public debut in Modena in March 1970 and was presented at the 1970 New York Motor Show a few weeks later. Approximately a year later the first that production Panteras were sold, and production had been increased to three per day. The first 1971 Panteras were powered by a Ford 351 cu in (5.8 L) V8 engine that produced a severely underrated 330 hp (335 PS). Stock dynos over the years proved that power was more along the lines of about 380 hp (385 PS). The high torque provided by the Ford engine reduced the need for excessive gear changing at low speeds: this made the car much less demanding to drive in urban conditions than many of the locally built competitor products.
Several modifications were made for the 1972 model year Panteras. A new 4 Bolt Main Cleveland Engine, also 351 cu in, was used with lower compression ratio (from 11:1 to 8.6:1, chiefly to meet US emissions standards and run on lower octane standard fuel) but with more aggressive camshaft timing (in an effort to reclaim some of the power lost through the reduction in compression). Many other engine changes were made, including the use of a factory exhaust header.
The “Lusso” (luxury) Pantera L was also introduced, in August 1972 as a 1972½ model. It featured a large black single front bumper for the US market, rather than the separate bumperettes still used abroad, as well as a 248 hp (185 kW) Cleveland engine. During 1973 the dash was changed, going from two separate pods for the gauges to a unified unit with the dials angled towards the driver.
Offered with Belgian registration, this wonderful example is very nicely presented with brand new Hall Pantera wheels, and has been upgraded to more powerful and reliable fuel injection and improved cooling. These muscle cars of the 1970s are particularly sought after now and this example really turns heads with the sound from its mighty V8 engine!