- Chassis # THPNMD04181
- Single Family Long Term Ownership Since 1973
- Believed Original Interior And One Glass Out Repaint
- An Honest And Well Kept Example
The De Tomaso Automobile group was founded in 1959 by Argentine-born Alejandro de Tomaso. They set up shop in Modena Italy where they would produce various prototypes and racing cars including a Formula One car, the 505/38, raced by Frank Williams Racing Cars during the 1970 season. De Tomaso’s first production road car, the Vallelunga, was introduced in 1963. The new car had many issues, ultimately leading to only 50 being produced before the newly redesigned Mangusta was introduced in 1967. The Mangusta, which was developed out of a failed can-am car project with Carroll Shelby, proved to be much more of a success for De Tomaso with around 401 cars being built from 1967 to 1971. It would be with the release of their new model in 1971 though, the Pantera, that De Tomaso would hit home and finally put out a car to sell in good numbers.
The Pantera (Italian for Panther) was designed by Tom Tjaarda of Ghia and debuted in Modena in March of 1970. About a year later the first production cars were sold and the new Pantera was being produced at approximately 3 units per day. Power for the car would come from the 5.8 liter Ford Cleveland V8 engine which was mated to a ZF transaxle. The chassis was a steel monocoque design and power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes, as well as rack and pinion steering, were standard equipment on all Pantera’s produced. As the Pantera was always meant to be delivered to the United States it also included many standard features that were rare in Europe such as electronic windows and air conditioning. The Pantera really took hold when in late 1971 Ford began importing the cars for the American market and sold them through its Lincoln-Mercury dealers. Ford continued to import Panteras through 1975, bringing approximately 5500 cars into the U.S. market before ending their importation. Although the halt on importation by Ford slowed De Tomaso down, the company would continue producing the Pantera for foreign markets all the way through 1992 with the release of the final edition Pantera Si, before the fabled model was replaced by the new, radical De Tomaso Guara in 1994. The Pantera would be the car that made the De Tomaso name famous and would remain in production for just over 20 years with approximately 7260 Panteras produced worldwide. To this day, the Pantera remains an excellent way to experience Italian design with the ease of maintenance that comes with an American built power-plant.
The example on offer here, chassis number THPNMD04181, is a 1973 Detomaso Pantera. It is believed to be a one, glass out, repaint car and maintains what we believe to be an original interior in great condition. Currently, the mileage reads as 35,157, however, the odometer currently is not working and we are unsure of how long it has been inoperable. This Pantera was purchased by its long term owner, in 1973 as a repo, shortly after the car was sold new locally here in Pennsylvania. The car remained with this owner for most of its life before the gentleman sadly passed away at which time the car was transferred to the gentleman’s brother, who is the current consignor. During his ownership, the car was maintained regularly at Royce Automotive in the Allentown, Pennsylvania area. Unfortunately, records for the car have gone missing, but going off the word of the shop, it appears that the last maintenance on the car was done approximately 5 years ago before the passing of the long term owner. We were told that during the long term ownership, the car had the engine out once for a rebuild around 20 years ago, as well as having the heads off for a resurface and seal a little over 5 years ago. Royce Automotive did a good deal of electrical work on the car, as that is their specialty, which included wiring in override switches for the cooling fans. As it sits today, this Pantera shows as a well kept and honest driver quality example. The engine fires right to life and makes good power. It remains in great cosmetic condition, with the bright red paint having an excellent finish to it and the interior appearing in fantastic original and well-kept condition. It is our understanding that the car did sit for a bit since the passing of its long term owner and due to this could use some regular general maintenance items addressed in order to bring it up to the level of an excellent driver quality example that it could easily be. This Pantera remains a great driver quality example and thanks to its long term single-family ownership is an honest and quality example that would make an excellent addition to any collection.
body and paint
It is believed that this Pantera has received one glass out repaint during its life and judging by the great overall condition of the car we would guess that it occurred sometime in the early 2000s. The red exterior paint remains smooth and consistent with excellent color and clarity. There are a few minor stone chips in the front area of the car as well as some cracking in the paint behind the rear bumper on the passenger side. The body is straight and smooth with respectable gaps and panel fitment all the way around.
glass and trim
The glass on the car appears to all be in good clean condition. The side windows are all branded “Sicursiv” and the front windshield is unbranded but clean and tidy. Chrome trim around the windows retains good shine but does show some minor swirling of the finish. Rubber trim components appear supple and with good color. The taillights all appear in nice solid condition with no cracking or clouding to speak of. It should be noted that during the testing of this vehicle the headlights would not pop up. The headlights are illuminating as they should but the motors are not allowing the lights to swing up into place. We have not diagnosed this problem further at the current time.
The Campagnolo branded wheels appear to possibly retain their original finish as the painted surface shows knicks and scrapes from normal use. There is curbing present on all the wheels but it appears to just be cosmetic blemishes. The De Tomaso branded center caps show some fading but retain fair color still.
There are some minor chips in the paint from normal use, a bit of cracking around the passenger side of the rear bumper and the wheels could stand to be refinished as they show some curbing and scratches. The headlights illuminate but would not pop up and we have not diagnosed the cause further at this time.
seats and surfaces
The interior is believed to be original to the car and remains in nice tidy condition while showing slight amounts of patina throughout the interior in a manner you would expect to see. The seats themselves are nice and tight with no tears, creasing or bunching to speak of. The leather-covered dash retains good color and fitment with only some very minor bunching around the corners and near the air vent located on the passenger side. The door cards remain in great condition with tight fitment and no sag. The door sills show some scuffed and cracked paint but no real issues with the metal underneath. The shifter knob shows some separating material and a missing top logo trim piece but is still functional. The headliner remains tight and clean. The carpets show some aging in the form of discoloration but retain respectable fitment all around. Chrome trim throughout the interior retains good shine but does show some very minor pitting signs of age in some areas.
functionality and accessories
The doors open and close as they should, with solid fitment. The windows move up and down albeit at a slightly tired and slow pace. The gauges all appear clean and easily readable with good color. The tachometer functions as it should, however the speedometer cluster (including the odometer) does not currently appear to function. The windshield wipers function but the motors appear to be a little slow. There is an aftermarket radio located in the center console that does not currently function. The hazard flashers function as they should along with the turn signals. The HVAC fans turn on although we have not tested the functioning of the heating or cooling systems. The emergency brake could use an adjustment to properly hold the car in place.
The speedometer cluster, including the odometer, is not currently working and we are unsure of how long this problem has persisted.
engine bay and trunk
The engine bay area remains in respectable driver quality condition. It shows a bit of age but appears to be well looked after with no issues presenting themselves upon visual inspection. Factory number tags and information placards appear to all still be affixed in their correct locations. Currently, there is a Holly carburetor in place with an aftermarket chrome circular style air cleaner. Tubing, hoses, and wiring all appear well kept and looked after.
The front trunk is covered in black carpeting that appears in original condition, showing some fading and signs of use but with good fitment. There is an aftermarket amplifier mounted on the passenger side. Mechanical components in this area appear well looked after and show no visual signs of any issues.
The underside reflects a careful and fastidious ownership, showing clean metal and suspension components. Painted surfaces remain tidy and smooth and overall the underside appears dry and free of any real issues.
The 351 cubic inch Ford V8 fires easily to life with a quick turn of the key. As it gains temperature it settles into a healthy-sounding idle. On the road, it produces good power although during our testing there was a slight stumble in power during acceleration around 2800 RPMs. It appears that the car holds good temperature as well as oil pressure.
The clutch take-up is slightly heavy as one would expect from a car such as this. Engagement is solid and provides good feedback. The clutch holds power throughout the rpm range and the transmission itself appears to rev freely throughout the rpm range as well. The shifter moves easily through its gated plate, engaging each gear as it should.
brakes and suspension
The brakes bring the car to a smooth stop with no noises or shuttering to speak of, however they do feel a bit on the soft side. The emergency brake needs adjustment as it currently does not hold the car in place. The suspension feels solid and compliant with no odd noises or road manners to speak of.
The tires are Cooper brand on all four corners and have plenty of tread life left with solid side walls. According the date codes it appears as if they were put on in 2014.
As you climb into the driver's seat and place your feet on the pedals the first thing you notice is the stereotypically Italian offset pedal box. The driving position is low but comfortable with good forward visibility. The cabin feels very European, but these notions are thrown into the wind as you turn the key and the iconic American V8 growl begins to emanate from the sweeping rear exhaust. The Pantera is a bit of a curious beast in that visually everything screams Italian design but the driving experience itself is very American. Power builds in a nice linear manner from the 351 cubic inch V8 but the front end is still light, providing quick turn-in and good road feedback, thanks to the engine being mounted in the middle of the car. While not blisteringly fast, the Pantera provides ample speed as well as serenading the driver with a cacophony of mechanical noise from the engine located inches behind your head. This particular De Tomaso Pantera was under the careful custodianship of one owner since essentially new and remains a good honest example that is mechanically sound. With a bit of attention, this Pantera could be a fantastic driver example with its fresh-looking red paint turning heads wherever it goes.