Curbside Outtake: Early ‘70’s De Tomaso Pantera – Likely New Arrival in Tokyo

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.

Example from Web


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…