I try to stroll by Kennie’s MOPAR Service at least once a week just to see what he might have lined up outside his garage. Typically there’s several of Highland Park’s finest – and last week was no different, with a very nice AAR ‘Cuda waiting for its turn inside. But there was something else even more rare parked behind it.
I was a little shocked to see this very attractive bright yellow early ‘70s Pantera – every time I’ve stopped by Kennie’s over the past five years he’s had only MOPARs parked outside. Perhaps he’s broadening the business or maybe doing a friend a favor.
It has to be at least 40 years since I’ve last seen a Pantera in the flesh. Two things immediately struck me; 1) I had forgotten how low these were – this is a low car; Lotus Europa-low…and 2) It seemed small – my recollection was that these were larger cars, about the same size as a Corvette. But checking the specs, a 1973 Corvette is 185 inches in length, and an early 70’s Pantera is over a foot and a half shorter.
This one is in excellent condition – and given the black front “safety” bumpers, is a 1973 or later model. I’m guessing it was restored as it would be next to impossible to keep one in this shape for over 40 years – if I remember correctly, they didn’t have the best reputation for build quality. I couldn’t get an interior pic because of the reflection, but it was as nice as the outside. No tags or Japan Compulsory Insurance (JCI) sticker, so maybe this is a new arrival to Japan and the owner is getting it ready to be registered.
I’m sure CC readers are familiar with the Pantera’s backstory – developed in 1970 by Argentinean Alejandro de Tomaso, and styled at design house Carrozzeria Ghia in Italy by Tom Tjaarda. De Tomaso partnered with Ford and the Pantera was sold in the US thorough Lincoln-Mercury dealerships starting in 1971. Never a good fit with L-M, Ford ended the agreement in 1975 and De Tomaso went on building various versions, each with larger scoops, wheel wells, and rear wings, through 1992. Pantera’s came with Ford’s 351 cu in “Cleveland” V8 behind the seats, sourced from Dearborn until 1974, and then from Ford of Australia until 1982 (though enough were on hand to last until 1988). Total production over the 20-year run was only 7,260 cars.
For more on the Pantera, and Alejandro de Tomaso’s other cars, check out Tatra87’s superb post here.
I’m sure that Cleveland makes a nice sound – hopefully I’ll hear it cruising through the neighborhood…it will certainly stand out from the ubiquitous three-cylinder thrum from the sea of “kei” cars…
Nice kitty. Always loved these cars since they came out,at the same time they always occupied a “second row” status in my mind…”oh yeah those are cool too”. But this morning looking at it after not thinking about it for a little while I am struck by how damn good looking that car is(Rubber bumper not withstanding) . It’s nearly all straight edges but doesn’t look like A giugaro creation. I could imagine. A couple of other tail light solutions but that’s it. Sharp interior great wheels And what more is there to be said about the powertrain? I haven’t read contemporary reviews in a long time but if memory serves the car was considered to be a good drivers car? Only seen one in the wild about 20 years ago and tailed it for about 20miles on 95 in NH and MA in my 84 crown Vic at about 85 +\-. The CV had the stock 302 And I had it floored most of the time and I had it floored most of the time.. I would’ve done a little better a year later when I had the mustang GT motor in it but maybe that’ll be a COAL story sometime
I was a Ford-loving adolescent when these came out and I was wild about them. And, I’m not sure that I ever actually saw one. I had thought these had more Ford DNA than just the powertrain and the sales channel than they actually than was the case, and I don’t thing Ford’s advertising did much to quell that misunderstanding.
Is that the tail of a beige 62 Plymouth in front of the Cuda?
It is JP – been there about nine months – doesn’t appear to be running.
Sweet Plymouth, call me crazy but I’d take that over the Pantera.
had more coffee looked up a bit…I gather not quite wonderful in handling and ergonomics…but still cool!!!
*sigh* Whenever I see a Pantera of this vintage, the first thought that crosses my mind is “Rest in peace, Tim Horton.”
Until I saw the included ad, I’d forgotten that these were “Imported for Lincoln-Mercury” – just like the Capri!
And just like the Capri, I can’t imagine the salesman, in a plaid sport jacket and white shoes, climbing into a Pantera for a test drive, right after he finished the deal on a Continental.
They were not entirely uncommon in Southern California, back in the day. But then, quite a few unusual things are often not entirely uncommon around here.
One of my favorite cars from the 1970’s. Such a graceful, almost delicate design. It seemed to resist the outrageous prices that affected other cars, but only for awhile. I saw one last Summer, near my house. I think that a guy up the hill from me has one, I’ve seen it a couple of times.
This is my favorite form of Pantera, right down to the color. I’m probably in the minority but I like the black safety bumpers on these better than the small chromed bumpers, they make the nose look even sleeker, but I also think the front faux wing bumper on early grey market Countaches look cool as well.
The Cuda isn’t a real AAR, it’s got the 72-74 round taillights and grille, also seems to be missing its side marker lights that were probably smoothed over since the 72-74 ones aren’t recessed like the 70 versions.
Call me whatever you think, but I’d rather go for a De Tomaso Longchamp. Seen and heared one as a teen – unforgetable!
This is northeastern Illinois decades ago: My brother had one, and I got to keep it and drive it for a year. Simply put, I not only could not drive it without attracting a great deal of attention, I could not even have it parked in the garage (with the door open) without receiving much unwanted attention. There was another one in town (located about five miles south), so I thought that it should not have been quite the attention getter it was — but it was. Believe me. The biggest contingent were all the local Corvette owners who’d parade by my home seeking to get a look at it. Once, when I was sixty miles from home, I was headed north, and a southbound LEO immediately made a U-turn to come racing after me. Well, it was IL, and cars needed a front plate, which my brother’s Pantera did not have, so I was expecting a ticket, but instead got, “What is that?” Perhaps I should have expected that since when my brother first registered it the IL Sec. of State’s office ordered him to provide a photo of it before they’d register the title and send him his plates. Anyplace I took one of my kids to (little league, party, school) the Pantera drew many admirers, and it was as if no other car (regardless of what was present) mattered (there was only one Ferrari in town, and next to nobody ever saw that ever let alone at the same time as the Pantera). I took it to a grain elevator to weigh it, and with me in it its weight was 3030 pounds. My brother had had the engine modified and the car stripped of extra weight, so it was a very fast car for that period, and it was also very loud — so loud that I wore ear plugs to drive it. I keep thinking that if I ever have the chance to get a good one, I may do so if only for old times sake.
Your comment about the grain elevator is interesting. What are the options for getting a vehicle weighed? Can you do it at one of those truck scales?
One of my top ten favorite cars from my birth year and no atrocious wing. It’s a win win! This shade of yellow is quite nice and I forgot how sweet those wheels are too. A well known tattoo artist in a town I lived in had an earlier model with chrome bumpers and a wing. What I liked about him is he drove and parked it every day (except winter) in front of his tattoo parlor. Daily driving an exotic in Minnesota simply does not happen. Ever! I finally ran into him at the local hardware store, complimented his ride and asked for basic specs so as not to take his time. He said everything was stock except the engine. It was on its third major upgrade and hit the dyno at around 625 horsepower. After ten years he stopped driving it. That was a good fifteen years before Pantera values skyrocketed.
I loved this car in that bright yellow. Quality Lincoln-Mercury in Bloomington, MN had a 1974 Silver one. I tried to swing a deal for it, they weren’t interested in my Cougar that I had bought from them 2 years earlier. IIRC they were asking around 11,000 for it. It was the closest thing to a GT40 that I could get. Oh well.
Damn, Jim! That’s a find and a half. By which I mean that Cuda also looks quite appealing.
But the yellow Pantera is the star, for sure. Looks wonderful. Pity about the black bumpers on the nose, but it actually looks passable even with those. What really killed the Pantera, just like the Countach, was the proliferation of aerodynamic appendages that were grafted on year after year. The original shape is the best, and this is about as original as these get.
Brophy-sensei, a remarkable catch.
The yellow Pantera you have featured is a 74 model; the last year of Ford’s involvement with their partner, Detomaso. Detomaso went on to produce the Pantera for another 19 years, with the vast majority of their cars being sold in countries other than the U.S.
I’ve been privileged to own my 1973 Pantera for 36 years now. It has been a dream to own and has only required minimal maintenance; quite a feat for an Italian Supercar.
Here’s a photo of the engine and transaxle in mine for those who’d like to see what propels these wonderful cars. The yellow fan at the back is for the Air Conditioner condenser. All Panteras came equipped with A/C and power windows as standard equipment.
I’ve owned 3 Pantera’s in my life. I was pretty obsessed in 1980’s. Definitely my favorite of all the truly modifiable exotics. I highly recommend 3/8 stroker with twin super chargers. Nothing like it !