Odd Orientation: 1974 DeTomaso Pantera GTS – Sold?
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November 27, 2023, Update – We confirmed the listing for this “ClassiFIND” expired, so with no replacement found, we’re assuming this ride is “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
The Malaise Era (1972 through 1974) wasn’t all bad. It did have its bright moments of great automotive design and high performance. Most notably, the mid-engine, high-performance supercar concept grew with enthusiasts. No country seemed to embrace the supercar market niche more than the Italians, as Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati each developed several high-performance supercars with futuristic styling that has endured the test of time nearly sixty years later.
A lesser-known boutique Italian supercar manufacturer was De Tomaso. Rather than trying to establish its own dealer network in the U.S., De To Maso sold the
Also based in Ferrari’s hometown of Modena, after launching the concept car in the spring of 1970, De Tomaso sold the sales and distribution rights to Ford. Powered by a 330 horsepower 351 cubic inch Ford V8 mated to a ZF-sourced five-speed transaxle, Ford elected to sell the mide-engine Pantera sports car through its more upscale Lincoln-Mercury dealer network. While Ford elected to end the partnership in 1975, De Tomaso continued producing Panteras through 1992.
De Tomaso offered several versions of the Pantera, with the GTS featuring higher performance over the base model. First offered only in Europe, the GTS model sparked interest in the United States, with several grey market cars being imported and many of the performance parts being offered. Consequently, in the first half of 1974, Ford offered a US version of the Pantera GTS. This model featured GTS badging, matte black sections, a special steering wheel, and an electric clock, but not its European counterpart’s higher compression engine, wheels, or other performance modifications.
This silver 1974 De Tomaso Pantera GTS, last seen for sale in October 2023 on Craigslist in York, Maine, appears to be a 27K original mile example. Unfortunately, the seller’s brief description and incorrectly-oriented pictures posted in the Craigslist ad have us asking more questions than it answers, but for convenience, we’ve reoriented the seller’s photographs for this features post.
Last offered for $129,000, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is above this guide’s five-year rolling results trend for Pantera GTS models. By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can get a sense of what comparable examples sold for recently:
As a second data point, the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 Very Good” estimate of $126,000 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $169,000.
While Italian automobile manufacturer De Tomaso built the mid-engine Pantera from 1971 through 1992, of the 7,260 built over that twenty-0ne production span, 5,500 were sold in the U.S. between 1971 and 1974. Specifically, a partnership with Ford Motor Company provided access to the automaker’s Lincoln Mercury dealer network. Since De Tomaso’s sports car relied on Ford-supplied V8 power, Lincoln Mercury mechanics could work on the cars with very little learning curve.
In the early 1970s, the automotive world was in the midst of a transition period. Muscle cars were on the decline, emissions regulations were tightening, and European sports cars were gaining popularity in the United States. Against this backdrop, the De Tomaso Pantera GTS emerged, captivating enthusiasts with its stunning design, potent powerplant, and an intriguing blend of Italian style and American muscle.
Designed by Tom Tjaarda, the De Tomaso Pantera GTS was a mid-engine sports car that combined the best of both worlds. De Tomaso, an Italian automaker known for producing exotic cars, teamed up with Ford, the American automotive giant, to create this unique supercar. The collaboration resulted in a vehicle that was, in many ways, ahead of its time.
One of the most striking features of the Pantera GTS was its design. Tjaarda’s design was an evolution of the earlier Pantera models, retaining the sleek and aggressive lines that made the car instantly recognizable. The low-slung body, wide fenders, and pop-up headlights exuded a sense of exotic allure. The body was constructed from a blend of steel and fiberglass, contributing to its lightweight nature and improved performance. It wasn’t just about looks, though; the design also incorporated functional elements such as air intakes and aerodynamic features that helped with cooling and stability.
Under the hood of the Pantera GTS lay a heart-pounding V8 engine that personified the American muscle car tradition. The 351-cubic-inch Cleveland V8 engine, producing around 310 horsepower, was a beast of an engine for its time. Mated to a 5-speed ZF manual transmission, this powerplant propelled the Pantera GTS from 0 to 60 mph in just over 5 seconds, which was an impressive feat in the early 1970s. The top speed of the GTS exceeded 160 mph, making it one of the fastest production cars of its era.
The mid-engine layout was another key feature contributing to the Pantera GTS’s exceptional performance. Placing the engine behind the driver improved weight distribution and enhanced handling and cornering capabilities. The chassis featured a tubular steel frame and fully independent suspension, which provided a balanced and engaging driving experience.
Inside the Pantera GTS, the focus was on the driver. The cockpit was well-appointed with leather and wood trim, exuding an air of luxury that complemented the car’s high-performance nature. The steering wheel, instrumentation, and switchgear were all thoughtfully designed and placed, enhancing the driver’s connection to the road.
One notable aspect of the Pantera GTS was its availability in the United States through Ford’s Lincoln-Mercury dealerships. This was a bold move that further underscored the car’s unique status as an Italian-American hybrid. The partnership with Ford also ensured a degree of reliability and serviceability, which was sometimes lacking in other European exotics of the era.
While the Pantera GTS had much going for it, it wasn’t without its challenges. The early 1970s were difficult for sports car manufacturers as they had to adapt to increasingly stringent emissions and safety regulations. As a result, the Pantera GTS had to contend with emissions controls that reduced its output compared to its predecessors. Additionally, the quality of construction varied, with some units showing signs of assembly issues.
Despite these challenges, the De Tomaso Pantera GTS remained an iconic car that held a special place in automotive history. It showcased the potential of international collaborations in the automotive world and demonstrated that a fusion of Italian style and American power could yield remarkable results. Today, the Pantera GTS is a sought-after classic car that is cherished by collectors and enthusiasts worldwide.
In conclusion, the 1974 De Tomaso Pantera GTS was a remarkable fusion of Italian design and American muscle, representing a unique chapter in automotive history. With its breathtaking looks, exhilarating performance, and the intriguing collaboration between De Tomaso and Ford, the Pantera GTS remains a timeless classic that continues to captivate automotive enthusiasts, reminding us of a bygone era when bold innovations and design ruled the road.
The Dean Laumbach YouTube Channel provides a nice point of view (“POV”) video of what its like to drive a stock 1974 De Tomaso Pantera at street legal speeds:
The seller’s brief description indicates they are only the second owner of this Sliver 1974 De Tomaso Pantera GTS for sale. With only 27,000 original miles, the car appears to be a nicely maintained, survivor-quality example. However, you’ll need to confirm with the seller that their Pantera still features its original paint and engine to validate the survivor-quality status.
If you are serious about buying this Pantera GTS, you can start the conversation by using the contact information provided by the seller in their Craigslist ad. When you connect, please mention that you saw their vintage De Tomaso super car for sale featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
Show or go: What would you do with this 1974 De Tomaso Pantera GTS for sale? Please comment below and let us know!