- 1 of 75 Hand-Built by Vignale in Turin, Italy
- Replete w/ Telltale Early Pantera Features
- Just of 35k Documented Miles from New
- 310hp, 351ci “Cleveland” High-Performance V8 Engine
- ZF 5-Speed Manual Rear Transaxle
- Recently Restored w/ Guidance of Pantera Specialists
- Ford Motor Company’s Italian Exotic Import
As Ford Motor Company’s bold early-1970s move to sell a Ford-powered, Italian-built mid-engine exotic car through Lincoln-Mercury dealerships, the DeTomaso Pantera needs little, if any, further introduction. Unknown to many sports car enthusiasts, the first 75 Panteras are known commonly as “Pushbutton” cars with their molded in-door handles and pushbutton type door openers. These cars were hand-built by Vignale craftsmen in Turin, Italy, while all subsequent units were produced at the new DeTomaso plant in Modena. According to the exceptionally knowledgeable seller of this early-production Pantera, other defining differences of these early examples include very cool single slot Campagnolo wheels, Brass window frames, clear glass, a specific transmission bell housing, aluminum fuel tank, and unique sheet metal arrangement inside the engine bay.
Carrying serial number #1313, this 1971 Pantera is stated by the seller to have been the 27th car imported by Ford to the US. A no-expense-spared restoration was completed during the late 2000s by the seller and they report less than 100 miles have been traveled since, with the odometer currently reading just over 35k miles that are documented to be true. History is known from new and includes a restoration initiated in the 1980s but not completed until the seller purchased it from a noted racing driver’s estate in 2007. The powerful Ford 351ci “Cleveland” V8 engine was disassembled, inspected, and resealed, needing nothing more due it its low mileage. Crucially, it retains the factory 4.00-inch cylinder bores with no lip at the upper cylinder walls, consistent with the car’s rather low indicated mileage. High-compression, closed chamber high-performance cylinder heads sport the “D0AE” code, standard issue on 1971-model Panteras. The seller also advises the ZF 5-speed rear transaxle is unrestored and operates well. Another selling point is the involvement of Pantera specialist Steve Wilkinson’s Panteras by Wilkinson firm, which provided the knowledge and resources to ensure this spectacular early example’s restoration was completed correctly.
Since introduction, the Pantera has stood as an excellent and very fast alternative to contemporary Ferrari and Lamborghini models, delivering beautifully styled coachbuilt Italian bodies with a sophisticated competition-type chassis and all-out mid-engine design. The Pantera’s angular, knife edge styling by Tom Tjaarda has aged extremely well and its reliable and powerful Ford V8 engine is renowned for responsiveness and ease of servicing. According to Hagerty, values for 1971 cars generally top out at $117k for a #1 concours-worthy example. Toss that out of the window. Considering this car’s hand-built, “1 of 75” status from the first Pantera run at Vignale’s workshops and its unique features emblematic of the earliest cars, our subject Pantera is worth considerably more, compelling us to rank this one as ‘Worth the Premium’ without hesitation. Still, it represents a bargain compared to other exotic cars of the fruitful early supercar era.