Having established himself as a serious automobile manufacturer with the Mangusta coupé, Alejandro De Tomaso commissioned Lamborghini designer Gianpaolo Dallara to produce the chassis for his new mid-engined supercar, the Pantera. Dallara opted for unitary construction for the steel chassis/body – abandoning the Mangusta’s backbone frame – and competition-specification double wishbone/coil-spring suspension all round. The Ford Motor Company was De Tomaso’s partner at the time of the Pantera’s introduction in 1971 and thus the Pantera, like the Mangusta, relied on Ford V8 power.
Mated to a ZF all-synchro five-speed transaxle, the 351ci (5.8-litre) Cleveland engine varied in output depending on the destination market, and in European trim came with 330bhp on tap, enabling the Pantera to complete the 0-60mph sprint in a little over 5 seconds and touch 160mph flat out. Styled by Tom Tjaarda at Carrozzeria Ghia, the stunning coupé body was in fact built by Vignale, both companies being part of De Tomaso’s empire in the early 1970s.
De Tomaso’s longstanding relationship with the Ford Motor Company led to an arrangement whereby the Pantera was distributed through select Lincoln-Mercury dealerships in the USA, where a lower compression, 248bhp Cleveland motor (meeting stricter emissions regulations) was introduced for 1972. The 1974 energy crisis led to a parting of the ways between Ford and De Tomaso, who continued to sell the Pantera in Europe.
This is a superb example of a low-mileage, matching-numbers and accident-free Pantera that has had just one owner in the US and one owner in Germany. Originally ordered by J.C. Lewis, a Ford and Mercury dealer, this De Tomaso arrived in Savannah, Georgia in December 1974. The car remained in Mr. Lewis’ possession for the next 40 years, but was never road registered as it was only driven occasionally on trade plates. It was first registered in February 2012 as it had spent its entire life on an MSO (Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin).
Later in 2012, and now with 20,000 recorded miles, the Pantera had work done to the brakes, with new shocks, new carbs and intake, plus a refurbished distributor and water pump along with many more items, all of which accounts for the $4,973 invoice in the car’s history file.
The current owner purchased the Pantera in 2014 from Mr. Lewis and subsequently imported it to Germany. With c.24,000 recorded miles, the car was recently carefully resprayed in its original colour of yellow, meticulously detailed and registered in Germany with a new TÜV to 2018. Described as running faultlessly and presented in excellent overall condition, this Pantera is on the button and ready for driving by its next lucky owner.