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Pick of the Week: 1973 De Tomaso Pantera

The De Tomaso Pantera is described as a rare low-mileage, all-original car

The De Tomaso Pantera is described as a rare low-mileage, all-original car

This 1973 De Tomaso Pantera is an Italian/American exotic that the seller describes as a low-mileage survivor put back on the road after many years on blocks in climate-controlled storage.

With just less than 49,000 miles on its odometer, the Pantera is in all-original condition and is a “very solid car that looks great and drives great,” the seller states.

Built in collaboration between Ford and the De Tomaso car company of Italy, the Pantera (Italian for “panther”) combines dramatic styling by Italian designers at Ghia with a mid-engine layout and a powerful Ford 351-cid V8 engine. Unveiled at the New York Auto Show in 1970, the Pantera was presented as a bargain exotic compared with Ferrari or Lamborghini and promised easy maintenance from its straightforward, domesticated engine.

The 351-cid Ford V8 is located behind the seats

The 351-cid Ford V8 is located behind the seats

But the initial Panteras, sold by Lincoln-Mercury dealers, were plagued by reliability issues, in particular involving build quality and electrical systems. By 1973, the Pantera had been pretty well dialed in by Ford to be less problematic, but the damage to its reputation had been done.

Ford would sell the Pantera for just one more model year, ending the retail relationship with De Tomaso after 1974 in the face of slipping sales, the 1973-74 gas crisis that dampened enthusiasm for thirsty high-performance cars and looming U.S. safety rules that would have required a major redesign.

De Tomaso continued building Panteras in Modena through 1991, always powered by Ford engines though eventually switched from the big-block 351 Cleveland to a high-performance version of the 302-cid V8.

This Pantera wears its original orange paint with a black interior, and it appears to be factory fresh in the photos. The interior looks like new.

The black rubber impact bumpers mandated by U.S. regulations in 1973 don’t do the styling any favors, but at least they are well-integrated into the design.

The sports coupe is equipped with four-speed stickshift, air conditioning, power disc brakes all around and rack-and-pinion steering.

Note that Pantera interiors are fairly tight with driving pedals that are offset to the right, so anyone contemplating buying one should try it on for size beforehand.

Posted in: Features

About the Author:

Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

2 Comments on "Pick of the Week: 1973 De Tomaso Pantera"

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  1. Oreste romeo says:

    It should be a five speed ZF/2 for the year represented. Fantastic car from every angle, Tjiarda’s masterpiece design with Giampaolo Dallara’s cassis, great car to drive and enjoy!!!

  2. Oreste says:

    I also would like to point out the fantastic owner’s community in the USA and worldwide and extensively worked out issues with 100% ++ availability of parts making it great for restoration and maintenance. Truly a gem of a car!!

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