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 (0-96km/h) sprint in a little over 5 seconds and touch 160mph (257km/h) 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.
Exceptionally long-lived for a supercar, the Pantera was still around in the 1990s having undergone a series of upgrades. The first of these had appeared on the ‘L’ model of 1972, which featured ‘impact resistant’ bumpers and improved cooling and air conditioning systems. Flared wheelarches distinguished the GTS model of 1974, which in European trim came with a 350bhp engine, larger wheels/tyres and other performance enhancements.
Introduced at approximately the same time was the GT/4, a development of the Group 4 competition cars of 1972/73. The first major revision of the Pantera’s body style occurred in 1980 with the introduction of the GT5 which, with its deep front air dam and delta-wing rear spoiler, represented one of the earliest examples of these aerodynamic devices being applied to passenger car design. Introduced in 1985, the GTS5 incorporated further revisions to the bodywork while its interior was significantly upgraded, rivalling that of many a luxury limousine. In 1990 the Pantera was completely redesigned by Bertone’s Marcello Gandini, stylist of Lamborghini’s Miura and Countach, emerging as virtually a completely new model. Production of the world longest-running supercar finally ceased in 1993.
One of Just 400 GTS Pantera GTS produced. Subject to both Mechanical and Body restoration. Expert evidence by Doucy confirming its concours condition this wonderful GTS would grace any worldwide collection.