Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Pantera is an old-school hybrid with an Italian body and an American heart. Let’s see if it’s priced to set our collective hearts aflutter.
WHat do you think will be the last sedan sold in America? Perhaps the Mercedes S-Class? The BMW 7 Series? At one time, the four-door sedan was the big dog in car sales here, with the Ford Taurus and then Toyota’s Camry leading the pack for nearly two decades straight.
Tea 1996 Toyota Camry LE we looked at yesterday represented the model that shifted the best-selling car crown from Ford to Toyota. In some consolation, Ford kept the overall best-seller title thanks to the F-Series. That was then and this is now, and despite being incredibly low-mileage and in very decent shape, few of you were willing to return to the Camry’s heyday. Well, not at its $12,900 asking, anyway. That doomed the car to a 78 percent no Dice loss.
Now, part of the Camry’s problem is that it’s a fairly dull car. Reliable? Yes, Exciting? No. The same condemnation cannot, however, be made about the De Tomaso Pantera. That, in fact, is one of history’s great butt-puckering, genital-engorging, head-banging brutes of a car. And by all that, I mean it’s pretty darn fun to drive. And all of that probably wouldn’t have happened if Alejandro de Tomaso had actually been any good at racing.
Instead, de Tomaso’s racing career was pretty much a bust. Born in Argentina he fled that country for Italy while in his late twenties after allegedly participating in an attempt to overthrow the Argentinian president, Juan Perón.
He raced in Formula One for a couple of years but showed little talent behind the wheel. Instead, his strong, it seems, was in building cars, starting with purpose-built racers, and then — with the painfully beautiful Vallelunga — road cars with sporting pretensions.
Perhaps the most famous of de Tomaso’s offspring is the Pantera, which was produced for more than 20 years and which for a short time provided Ford — by way of Lincoln Mercury dealers — a righteous competitor to Chevy’s homegrown sports car, the Corvette.
American designer, Tom Tjaarda, penned the Pantera while he was at Ghia, and the work is truly timeless, ace the Pantera looks just as badass today as it did upon its debut in 1970. Power is made by a mid-mounted Ford 351C and laid down via a ZF 5-speed manual operated through a gated dog-leg shifter. Both driver and passenger are made aware of the engine’s presence not just by the over-the-shoulder growls and snarls but also by the bulkhead bulge between the seats that serve to keep the ancilaries out of the cabin.
This clean title 1973 DeTomaso Pantera has been dressed up in GTS garb. That includes the rocker panel graphics, black accent paint, wheel arch extensions, and even wider than normal Campagnolo wheels. Those handsome alloys wear brand-new (and likely very expensive) tires. According to the ad the car sports an unverified 36,000 miles on the clock.
Both the paint and bodywork beneath look to be in need of some love, with the seller helpfully showing areas where corrosion is starting to rear its bubbly head. Nothing seems too far gone, but it’s enough to indicate that some major work is in this car’s future. Everything seems aboveboard in the engine bay, as well, and the car still carries its carpeted fiberglass boot insert above that. Many of those have gone missing on these cars.
This is a transition because which means it has the later ’73 bumpers but the earlier twin-nacelle dash. Everything looks to be in fine shape inside, although the holes that have been cut in both the door cards and the bulkhead cover for some aftermarket speakers are a bit of a disappointment. And yes, those footwells are incredibly narrow. You don’t drive Panteras in Doc Martins.
The seller notes a number of updates, including rebuilds on the brake and clutch hydraulics as well as a refresh of the steering rack. The car is claimed to be frequently driven but does have a few flies in its ointment. The seller notes those issues to include a non-working horn and parking brake and an A/C system that’s just for show. The seller says of the car, “It’s not perfect, but it is a very good quality driver, and priced accordingly.”
That price is $89,000 and we now need to decide just how accurate the seller is in determining value. What do you think, is this Pantera worth that much as it sits? Or, fun as it likely is, will that price prove too high a ticket to ride?
Antelope Valley, California, craigslistor go here if the ad disappears.
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