Having established himself as a serious automobile manufacturer with the Mangusta Coupe, Alejandro De Tomaso commissioned Lamborghini designer Gianpaolo Dallara to produce the chassis for his new mid-engined supercar, the Pantera. Dallara opted for unitary construction for the steel chassis/body, abandoning the Mangusta's backbone frame.
Ford Motor Company was De Tomaso's partner at the time of the Pantera's introduction in 1971 and thus the Pantera, like the Mangusta, relied on Ford V8 power. The 5.8 litre Cleveland engine varied in output depending on the destination market, and in European trim came with 330bhp on tap, enabling the Pantera to complete the 0-60mph sprint in a little over five seconds and touch 160mph flat out. Styled by Tom Tjaarda at Ghia, the stunning coupé body was in fact built by Vignale, both companies being part of De Tomaso's empire in the early 1970s. De Tomaso's longstanding relationship with the Ford Motor Company led to an arrangement whereby the Pantera was distributed through select Lincoln-Mercury dealerships in the US, where a lower compression, 248bhp Cleveland motor was introduced for 1972. The 1974 energy crisis led to a parting of the ways between Ford and De Tomaso, who continued to sell the Pantera in Europe.
Mecum Auctions will be offering this example at their upcoming Monterey auction between the 16-19th August. For more information on this and other vehicles at the sale, click on the link below. Photos courtesy of Mecum Auctions.