1970-1993

Pantera

An Italian - American Icon

A De Tomaso - Ford Collaboration

1970

An Italian - American Icon

Historical Model
1970-1993

Pantera

De Tomaso's third and highest volume road-going production model was the iconic Pantera. In 1970 the Pantera debuted with a brand-new high-volume design concept, one which embodied the core pillars of De Tomaso which combined the muscle power of an American V8 with signature Italian styling whilst offering world-class performance at a fraction of the price of its competitors.

An Introduction

The De Tomaso - Ford Collaboration

1969-1974

Ford & De Tomaso

The Story

Alejandro de Tomaso’s relation with Ford first started in 1963, when he developed his first road-car, the Vallelunga. The Vallelunga was a mid-engined grand touring car that featured a four-cylinder Ford Cortina engine. After the Vallelunga, De Tomaso collaborated with Carroll Shelby and Ford to develop a replacement chassis for his 'King Cobras’ featuring an Italian body, however that project (the P70 Program) didn’t go as planned, as Shelby ended up leaving to work on the GT40 program.

De Tomaso’s efforts to-date had garnered the attention of famed Lee Iacocca, head of Ford North America, who instructed Ford’s product division to hold negotiations with De Tomaso. The vision was to have De Tomaso create a GT car that could be mass-produced and sold through Ford’s Lincoln-Mercury dealership network. Ford desired a car that would overshadow the Corvette and anything else General Motors could produce and Iacocca had a keen plan to leverage Alejandro de Tomaso's suave "Italian" image to promote the car.

The notion was to create a car featuring a steel unibody ‘monocoque’ body rather than the more exotic backbone chassis of the previous cars, and that was powered by a suitable Ford V8 engine mated to a production ZF transaxle. This was to be the Pantera (Italian for Panther). The design was by American Tom Tjaarda working for Ghia and its engineering was done by Gianpaolo Dallara, whom De Tomaso had lured away from Lamborghini.

The first initiative was the Pantera, the car most often associated with De Tomaso. In Italy the prototype-car was built under the code name "Tipo 874" but at Ford the project was named M.S.E for Mid-Ship-Engine. The Pantera was meant for the American market and Ford kept the rights to serve this market. Importation was handled by De Tomaso of America Inc. in Livonia, Michigan and sales and the Lincoln-Mercury Division in Dearborn looked after service. De Tomaso was allowed to sell the car in other areas of the world.

At this time, Ford was concerned from a corporate and public relations standpoint about how to best manage this new international relation and had just issued a press release proudly announcing the partnership between Ford and the De Tomaso - Ghia - Vignale holding group for “an exchange of technical services” including the “building of specialty sports cars.”

1970 | Ford Acquires Equity Stake in De Tomaso

In 1970, this led Ford to acquire an 80 percent interest in Ghia and Vignale from Rowan and Alejandro. Iacocca was appointed chairman of the newly combined entity and De Tomaso continued as head of his own firm, but ended up relinquishing his management positions at Ghia and Vignale after the deal was closed.

In March 1970, the Pantera made its North American debut, a few weeks after its Modena Premiere, at the New York Auto Show. Journalists were impressed and noted the Pantera’s design made the Corvette’s look tame in comparison, and predicted that they had seen the future of sports cars.

In 1971 approximately 300 Panteras were sold in Europe and when the initial cars arrived in the U.S., it was became apparent that further refinement was required, however an constant evolution and improvement process rectified these issues and the Pantera was a true bargain.

However, in 1973 a combination of the oil & gas crisis and the U.S. emissions requirements caused Ford to lose interest in the Pantera program and in shortly thereafter the parties separated in 1974.

Several 1975 prototypes and alternative were shown, but it was just the wrong time. It was unfortunate but importation stopped at the end of 1974. Lincoln-Mercury claimed that 6,091 Panteras had been brought to the U.S. by then.

The Pantera saw multiple variants over its twenty-three year production run.

Pantera | The Road Variants

1970-1993

A Twenty-Three Year Production Run

Pantera

Road Variants

Model Information
Pantera | The Race Variants

Pantera

1970

By the late 1960s, Ford was in need of a high-performance GT sports car to compete against other manufacturers such as Ferrari and Corvette. The GT40 racing programme had been successful, but the GT40 could not be turned into a road going mass production sports car. De Tomaso also had designs on developing a new GT that would appeal to the Americans; a mid-engined exotic-looking vehicle, but with a lower price tag that he could sell in higher numbers.

Following Ford's failed attempt to buy out Ferrari; and De Tomaso Automobili's purchase of Ghia's studios and coaching-building concern; a Ford-De Tomaso marriage seemed a natural fit. Work began to develop a brand-new design concept: a mass-produced exotic, combining the muscle power of the American V8 with Italian flair and styling.

Tom Tjaarda of Ghia styled the new prototype and Giam Paolo Dallara was engaged for the chassis and production design. The Pantera’s layout differed from the Mangusta in several ways. Firstly, it was conceived with a full monocoque chassis layout, making it less expensive to produce than the spine chassis design. Secondly, it was built using Ford’s new 5.8 litre ``Cleveland`` V-8. The new V-8 was in the same relative position, but was set higher in the car, in part due to the ZF fully synchronised 5-speed transmission having been rotated through 180 degrees.

It had race-inspired fully independent suspension with upper and lower A-Arms, coil-over shock absorbers, front and rear sway bars, four-wheel disc brakes, cast magnesium Campagnolo wheels and rack-and-pinion steering. The brake booster, master cylinder, battery and tool kit were housed in the front compartment and the rear compartment boasted a sizeable, removable luggage tray for easy access to the engine. The interior featured an aggressive cockpit design, full instrumentation, factory air conditioning and electric windows.

The Pantera debuted in Modena, March 1970 and was presented at the New York Motor Show a few weeks later. The first Panteras rolled off the production line in 1971 and by the end of 1972, demand was such that over 3000 vehicles had been sold.

Pantera L ``Lusso``

1971-1974

Early Pantera's are often referred to as 'Pre-L' meaning 'Pre-Lusso' ('Luxury') in Italian. The first 'pre-assembly line' cars featured hand-built Carrozzeria Vignale bodies and 'push button' door handles, a design feature which was replaced on later vehicles. The ``Lusso`` came about after various refinement issues were being identified and had to be addressed. At this point the number of improvements required combined with new American safety regulations introduced in 1972 led De Tomaso and Ford to make a strategic decision and release a new version, the 'Pantera L' ('1972½ model’.)

In August 1972 the luxury Pantera L (L for “Lusso” meaning Luxury) was introduced, instantly recognizable by its black rubber bumpers fitted front and rear for U.S. market cars. The goal of the new bumpers was two-fold: (1) to satisfy low-speed impact requirements and (2) to improve the front aerodynamic downforce reduce lift at speed. The new Pantera L ``Lusso`` improvements included: a revised dashboard and instrument cluster, seat belt warning system, enhanced cooling and air conditioning amongst others.

Achieving its original intention, the Pantera L ``Lusso`` fully resolved the quality and refinement issues that had plagued the early production cars. In fact, it became Road Test Magazine’s, Car of the Year in 1973; meaning it beat its competition which included Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche amongst others.

Pantera GTS

1973-1985

In 1973, De Tomaso introduced a new variant of the Pantera, the GTS. The GTS featured a high compression version of the Ford Cleveland V8 engine with solid lifters for non-US markets, improved brakes and a new steering system. The power output was 330bhp which allowed the GTS to reach a top speed of 160 mph (256 km/h).

From a design perspective the GTS was dressed a wider body that featured wheel arch extensions (riveted on) which provided a more aggressive stance to match its wider wheels and tires. The body was also adorned with GTS branding overlaid on its black trim.

As the Ford and De Tomaso relation dissolved by the end of 1974, only 150 GTS models were imported into to the US and only featured the cosmetic upgrades san any performance enhancing modifications.

Despite the Ford relation ending, Alejandro still retained world-wide rights for the cars outside the U.S. and continued to produce the Pantera and sourced his engines from Ford Australia who continued to make the engine up until 1982. These engines received additional performance tuning in Switzerland and were able to achieve power outputs go up to 355hp.

The GTS remained in production until 1985.

Pantera GT5

1980-1985

In 1980 the next variant of the now iconic Pantera was introduced, the GT5.

The GT5 was heavily influenced by the racing programmes supported by DeTomaso. The GT5's design featured a more aggressive look with ``ground effects`` body improvements which included a new front splitter with integrated driving lights. Underneath the skin, the GT5 incorporated new chassis improvements to improve the kinematics. A key feature of the design were its signature fiberglass wide-body wheel arches that accommodated its 15×10 inch front and 15×13 inch rear wheels and their 285/40 VR15 (front) and 345/35 VR15 (rear) tires and its prominent rear wing.

Key Features:

-Aerodynamics were improved at both the front and rear, with a new front splitter to improve the high speed stability.

-Flared fiberglass wheel arches with wider wheels and tires.

-Improved ventilated disc brakes.

-Improved interior.

-Engine power increased to 350bhp @ 6,000rpm with 333 lb/ft @ 4000rpm.

-Overall performance remained the same with standing to 60mph time of 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 160mph.

Production of the wide body GT5 (and similarly equipped narrow body GTS models) continued until 1985. At this time the GT5-S replaced the GT5 (GT5 was still offered for purchase under special order until 1988).

Pantera GT5-S

1984-1989

In 1984, the successor to the popular GT5 was introduced, the GT5-S.

The GT5-S was fitted with steel one-piece wide wheel arches and front air-dam and the ``S`` stood for steel. The GT5-S, with its new 'wide-body stance,' represented the first significant body redesign of the Pantera since its introduction. The new exterior design featured: integrated steel wide-body wheel arches, new side air-intakes, and a revised front fascia. The interior was also upgraded with improvements to the air conditioning, console layout, burlwood panelling and a more generous use of leather throughout the interior.

The cars were now virtually hand-built and offered on a customised, limited basis. The Pantera had made the transition from mass-produced exotic car to a true and quite exclusive luxury GT.

From a production number standpoint, a total of 252 GT5 Panteras were built and fewer than 183 GT5-S models. Production of the GT5-S ceased close to 1990 as the supply of the 351 cu. in. Cleveland V8 coming to a close, Alejandro began installing the Ford 351 Windsor engine going forward.

Pantera 90 (Si)

1990-1993

In 1990 the Pantera 90 (SI) was introduced and further developed from the GT5S. The vision for the car was to attain a more refined, mature and flowing design. To achieve this, Alejandro commissioned the noted Italian designer, Marcello Gandini (designer of the Lamborghini Muira).

For the new design from Gandini integrated the front splitter and rear spoiler with the lines of the car (similar to that of the Ferrari F40). As an evolutionary progression from the existing Pantera monocoque chassis architecture, the final version of the Pantera utilized a largely tubular framed structure, in order to create a lighter weight and more rigid chassis featuring an all-new suspension was also part of the design. Improvements beneath the skin also included an improved seating position with more room for taller drivers and new Brembo brakes with cross-drilled ventilated discs. The majority of cars still employed the ZF 5-speed transaxle, but two of them were fitted with a Getrag 6-speed unit. The latest 17`` cast alloy wheels and Michelin Z-rated tires were specified, as were large, ventilated Brembo disc brakes.

The 1991 cars also marked a significant change in the engine compartment. The new model employed a modified 5.0 litre Ford V-8, a unit that traced its roots back to the same engine used in the Mangusta. The new engine: the 302 cu. in. 5 liter (4,942 cc) produced 244hp and 300lb/ft torque (with catalyst) and 300hp with 333lb/ft torque (sans catalyst). With computer-controlled direct port fuel injection and the latest electronic engine management systems, as well as a fully catalysed exhaust system for cleaner exhaust emissions; the new until had still managed to maintain its deep-toned exhaust note. The goal was to have the Pantera 90 (SI) adhere to U.S. regulations, however they were ever exported to the states.

The interior was, in the main, unchanged from the styling developed for the GT5-S. Out of a total of 41 of these final-edition Panteras constructed, four were converted, under construction, to a 'targa' model featuring a removable top section.

In the end, only 41 Pantera 90-Si were produced (Chassis numbers 9601-9641). Of those 41, only 38 were sold to the public as two cars were subjected to crash testing and one was retained in the De Tomaso Factory Museum in Modena.

Four of the Pantera 90 Si were sent directly from the factory to coach-builder Carozzaria Pavesi of Milan to be converted to Targa roof. The targa roof is stored neatly in the rear boot lid and is easy to attach when needed. The Targa models needed to not only have the roof neatly cut but also to have the body/chassis strategically stiffened to compensate for the removal of the roof.

Pantera

Race Variants

Model Information
Pantera | The Original Brochure

Pantera Gruppo 3

1972-1984

The Group 3 Pantera race car was the first of the two race versions developed. The Group 3 race car was made available from the factory on special order from 1972 through 1984.

Beginning with a GTS as a foundation, the Group 3 employed a plexiglass rear window allowing rear suspension supports to pass through holes in the glass along with a roll-bar in the passenger compartment. The Gr. 3 featured an upgraded braking system, heavy duty rear axles, racing seats, racing suspension with Koni shock absorbers and adjustable anti-sway bars, tail pipes with modified ``straight through`` mufflers, a high capacity intake manifold, carburetion system and oil pan.

While the Group 4 Pantera was a dedicated, purpose-built race car that used Pantera architecture but a unique chassis and suspension; the FIA Group 3 rules were far more restrictive, as the FIA intended for this class to consist solely of essentially stock, unmodified production sports cars.

Pantera Gruppo 4

1972

The Group 4 Pantera was a dedicated, purpose-built race car. It used a base Pantera architecture, but featured a unique chassis and suspension. Weight saving measures included the chassis, aluminum door and bonnet panels amongst others.

Unlike the Group 3 Pantera, the Group 4 was never intended to be a new model offered to the public from the factory as it was a one time run of race cars designed for the 1972 and 1973 seasons of the World Endurance Racing Series. A fixed number (eight in total) of Group 4 Panteras were built in April through December of 1972; the chassis numbers consist of: 2858, 2859, 2860, 2861, 2862, 2872, 2873 and 2874. Of these chassis numbers, seven were customer race cars and there was one sole factory works car, chassis no. 2873.

Pantera Gruppo 5 + C

1976-1981

While the deTomaso factory initially built (14) lightweight Group 4 and GT4 cars in 1971-72, very few ``Group 5`` or IMSA GTX Panteras were ever built and campaigned. The majority of those cars were converted from Group 4 or Group 3 Panteras. The competition includes the likes of the Porsche 935 and BMW M1.

Privateer Efforts:

There were two Group 5 Panteras that underwent significant modifications and development programs to improve its competitiveness in this top-tier GT class. The first was built in Italy by Sala and Marverti and was constructed from a new chassis and designated no. 001.

The second car was chassis #1603 built and first raced as a Gr4 car in the USA and later converted into a full Group 5 racer in 1976.

It is important to note that both no. 001 and no. 1603 were privateer efforts, for which reinforces the fact that De Tomaso has always been a true grassroots marque with a depth of passionate enthusiasts and collectors that is unrivaled. Both of these cars continued development throughout the end of the Group 5 and IMSA GTX eras. Following this era, the two cars evolved and raced as Group C and GTP cars respectively.

In 1977 there was Group 5 Pantera built that was later converted to a Group C car in 1981 and then raced.

Pantera

Original Brochures

Pantera | The Gallery

Pantera

Overview

Quick Facts

•Debuted in 1970

•Designed by Tom Tjaarda

•Estimated 7280 produced

•5.8-litre Ford Cleveland V8 engine

•Transmission 5-speed manual

•Original MSRP: $9,800

Engine
  • Type: Ford 5.8 Cleveland V8 engine (5,763 cc)
  • Layout: Mid-engined, longitudinally mounted
  • Aspiration: Naturally Aspirated
  • Fuel system: Two valves per cylinder w/ Four Barrel Carburettors
  • Power Output: 296 bhp 6000 rpm / Redline 6,000 rpm
  • Power Ratio: 51 bhp / litre
Dimensions
  • Weight: 1420 kg / 3131 lb
  • Length / Width / Height: 4,270 mm (168.11 in) / 2,000 mm (78.74 in) / 1,100 mm (43.31 in)
  • Wheelbase / Track: 2,499 mm (98.4 in) / 1,448 mm (57 in) / 1,473 mm (58 in)
  • Fuel capacity:85 litre (22.5 gallons)
  • Tyres:(fr/r) 285/40 R15 / 345/35 R15
Drivetrain
  • Body: Fibre-glass
  • Chassis: Steel full monocoque chassis layout
  • Suspension: Independent suspension with unequal length A-arms, coilovers and stabilizer bars
  • Steering: Rack-and-pinion
  • Gearbox: 5 speed Manual
  • Brakes: Disc (fr/r)
  • Drive: Rear-wheel drive
Performance
  • Power to weight: 0.21 bhp / kg
  • Top Speed: 260 km/h (162 mph)
  • 0-60 mph: 5.5 s
  • 0-100 mph: 13.3 s

Pantera

Overview

Quick Facts

•Designed by Tom Tjaarda

•5.8-litre Ford Cleveland V8 engine

•Transmission 5-speed manual

Engine
  • Type: Ford 5.8 litre Cleveland V8 engine (5,763 cc)
  • Layout: Mid-engined, longitudinally mounted
  • Aspiration: Naturally Aspirated
  • Fuel system: Two valves per cylinder w/ Four Barrel Carburettors
  • Power Output: 296 bhp 6000 rpm / Redline 6,000 rpm
  • Power Ratio: 51 bhp / litre
Dimensions
  • Weight: 1420 kg / 3131 lb
  • Length / Width / Height: 4,270 mm (168.11 in) / 2,000 mm (78.74 in) / 1,100 mm (43.31 in)
  • Wheelbase / Track: 2,499 mm (98.4 in) / 1,448 mm (57 in) / 1,473 mm (58 in)
  • Fuel capacity:85 litre (22.5 gallons)
  • Tyres:(fr/r) 285/40 R15 / 345/35 R15
Drivetrain
  • Body: Fibre-glass
  • Chassis: Steel full monocoque chassis layout
  • Suspension: Independent suspension with unequal length A-arms, coilovers and stabilizer bars
  • Steering: Rack-and-pinion
  • Gearbox: 5 speed Manual
  • Brakes: Disc (fr/r)
  • Drive: Rear-wheel drive
Performance
  • Power to weight: 0.21 bhp / kg
  • Top Speed: 260 km/h (162 mph)
  • 0-60 mph: 5.5 s
  • 0-100 mph: 13.3 s

Pantera

Overview

Quick Facts

•Designed by Tom Tjaarda

•5.8-litre Ford Cleveland V8 engine

•Transmission 5-speed manual

Engine
  • Type: Ford 5.8 litre Cleveland V8 engine (5,763 cc)
  • Layout: Mid-engined, longitudinally mounted
  • Aspiration: Naturally Aspirated
  • Fuel system: Two valves per cylinder w/ Four Barrel Carburettors
  • Power Output: 330 bhp 6000 rpm / Redline 6,000 rpm
  • Power Ratio: 56.9 bhp / litre
Dimensions
  • Weight: 1490 kg / 3280 lb
  • Length / Width / Height: 4,270 mm (168.11 in) / 2,000 mm (78.74 in) / 1,127.7 mm (44.4 in)
  • Wheelbase / Track: 2,499 mm (98.4 in) / 1,448 mm (57 in) / 1,473 mm (58 in)
  • Fuel capacity:85 litre (22.5 gallons)
  • Tyres:(fr/r) 285/40 R15 / 345/35 R15
Drivetrain
  • Body: Fibre-glass
  • Chassis: Steel full monocoque chassis layout
  • Suspension: Independent suspension with unequal length A-arms, coilovers and stabilizer bars
  • Steering: Rack-and-pinion
  • Gearbox: 5 speed Manual
  • Brakes: Disc (fr/r)
  • Drive: Rear-wheel drive
Performance
  • Power to weight: 0.23 bhp / kg
  • Top Speed: 280 km/h (174 mph)
  • 0-60 mph: 5.5 s
  • 0-100 mph: 13.3 s

Pantera

Overview

Quick Facts

•Designed by Tom Tjaarda

•5.8-litre Ford Cleveland V8 engine

•Transmission 5-speed manual

Engine
  • Type: Ford 5.8 litre Cleveland V8 engine (5,763 cc)
  • Layout: Mid-engined, longitudinally mounted
  • Aspiration: Naturally Aspirated
  • Fuel system: Two valves per cylinder w/ Four Barrel Carburettors
  • Power Output: 300 bhp @ 6000 rpm / 355 bhp @ 6000 rpm (market dependent)
  • Power Ratio: 61.2 bhp / litre
Dimensions
  • Weight: 1420 kg / 3131 lb
  • Length / Width / Height: 4,270 mm (168.11 in) / 2,000 mm (78.74 in) / 1,100 mm (43.31 in)
  • Wheelbase / Track: 2,499 mm (98.4 in) / 1,448 mm (57 in) / 1,473 mm (58 in)
  • Fuel capacity:85 litre (22.5 gallons)
  • Tyres:(fr/r) 285/40 R15 / 345/35 R15
Drivetrain
  • Body: Fibre-glass
  • Chassis: Steel full monocoque chassis layout
  • Suspension: Independent suspension with unequal length A-arms, coilovers and stabilizer bars
  • Steering: Rack-and-pinion
  • Gearbox: 5 speed Manual
  • Brakes: Disc (fr/r)
  • Drive: Rear-wheel drive
Performance
  • Power to weight: 0.21 bhp / kg
  • Top Speed: 280 km/h (174 mph)
  • 0-60 mph: 5.2 s
  • 0-100 mph: 13.3 s

Pantera

Overview

Quick Facts

•Designed by Tom Tjaarda

•5.8-litre Ford Cleveland V8 engine

•Transmission 5-speed manual

Engine
  • Type: Ford 5.8 litre Cleveland V8 engine (5,763 cc)
  • Layout: Mid-engined, longitudinally mounted
  • Aspiration: Naturally Aspirated
  • Fuel system: Two valves per cylinder w/ Four Barrel Carburettors
  • Power Output: 300 bhp @ 6000 rpm / 355 bhp @ 6000 rpm (market dependent)
  • Power Ratio: 51 bhp / litre
Dimensions
  • Weight: 1420 kg / 3131 lb
  • Length / Width / Height: 4,270 mm (168.11 in) / 2,000 mm (78.74 in) / 1,100 mm (43.31 in)
  • Wheelbase / Track: 2,499 mm (98.4 in) / 1,448 mm (57 in) / 1,473 mm (58 in)
  • Fuel capacity:85 litre (22.5 gallons)
  • Tyres:(fr/r) 285/40 R15 / 345/35 R15
Drivetrain
  • Body: Fibre-glass
  • Chassis: Steel full monocoque chassis layout
  • Suspension: Independent suspension with unequal length A-arms, coilovers and stabilizer bars
  • Steering: Rack-and-pinion
  • Gearbox: 5 speed Manual
  • Brakes: Disc (fr/r)
  • Drive: Rear-wheel drive
Performance
  • Power to weight: 0.21 bhp / kg
  • Top Speed: 280 km/h (174 mph)
  • 0-60 mph: 5.5 s
  • 0-100 mph: 13.3 s

Pantera

Overview

Quick Facts

•Designed by Marcello Gandini

•41 Produced (38 sold to public)

•5 litre Ford Windsor V8 engine

•Transmission 5-speed manual

Engine
  • Type: Ford 5 litre Windsor V8 engine (4,962 cc)
  • Layout: Mid-engined, longitudinally mounted
  • Aspiration: Naturally Aspirated
  • Fuel system: Two valves per cylinder w/ Four Barrel Carburettors
  • Power Output: 305 bhp 6000 rpm / Redline 6,000 rpm
  • Power Ratio: 62 bhp / litre
Dimensions
  • Weight: 1480 kg / 3,256 lb
  • Length / Width / Height: 4,270 mm (168.11 in) / 2,000 mm (78.74 in) / 1,100 mm (43.31 in)
  • Wheelbase / Track: 2,499 mm (98.4 in) / 1,448 mm (57 in) / 1,473 mm (58 in)
  • Fuel capacity:85 litre (22.5 gallons)
  • Tyres:(fr/r) 285/40 R15 / 345/35 R15
Drivetrain
  • Body: Fibre-glass
  • Chassis: Steel full monocoque chassis layout
  • Suspension: Independent suspension with unequal length A-arms, coilovers and stabilizer bars
  • Steering: Rack-and-pinion
  • Gearbox: 5 speed Manual
  • Brakes: Disc (fr/r)
  • Drive: Rear-wheel drive
Performance
  • Power to weight: 0.21 bhp / kg
  • Top Speed: 271 km/h (162 mph)
  • 0-60 mph: 5.5 s
  • 0-100 mph: 13.3 s