DeTomaso Pantera

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DeTomaso Pantera Series 1

1970 - 1990
V8 Mid Engined
5763 cc
247 - 350 bhp
5 spd. man
Top Speed:
149 mph (GT5)
Number Built:
3 star
The De Tomaso Pantera cannot be described as an engineering masterpiece, nor a technology milestone. The most unique characteristic of this car was the fact that it was the first affordable supercar to be built.

Powered by a Ford "Cleveland" 351 (5.7 liter) V8, this Italian-built exotic was able to offer supercar performance at a bargain price. Dubbed "The Poor Man's Lamborghini", the close relationship between Ford and De Tomaso saw Ford fully back the Pantera project in order to boost its image.

The radical thinking that went into the previous DeTomaso model, the Mangusta, was all but forgotten when designing the Pantera. Using a unitary steel chassis - intended to be cheap for production - and a Detroit built pushrod V8, this was to be a mass produced supercar.

The Pantera was not without its good points however, which included the strong and torquey engine, a slick ZF transaxle, sharp steering, taut handling and decent brakes. In fact, the main drawbacks were te cramped cabin and bad driving position.

Generous equipment levels were included to help the car appeal to the American market, however a lack of crash-protection and emission concerns accompanied with oil crisis eventually led to the withdrawal from the United States in 1974.

The Pantera continued production in Europe. Most modifications were made to cope with newer emission regulations.

The most powerful version, the GTS, appeared in the mid 70s. The GTS had a 350 bhp V8, but was replaced by the 300 hp GT5, which was surrounded by a handsome body kit including spoiler and skirts to create "ground effect".

In 1983, the aerodynamic accessories were discarded in the GT5 S, but power rose to 330hp. Strict emission controls dramatically dropped the output to 247hp. Obviously, the Cleveland V8 could no longer survive in the environmental-conscious era, therefore in the 1991 revision (called Series II), it was replaced by Mustang's electronic fuel-injected 302 cid V8.

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Also see:

Lost Marques: DeTomaso
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