Argentine native Alejandro DeTomaso left his home country in the early 1950’s to pursue a career as a racing driver. He enjoyed moderate success behind the wheel, but his legacy as a car manufacturer is how he will best be remembered. In the late 1950’s, DeTomaso’s began his car building career with small bore open wheel racers. In 1963 he graduated to road going sports cars with the Vallelunga. The Vallelunga was small, delicate and gorgeous, utilizing a feisty mid-mounted Ford Cortina engine in a backbone chassis. The beautiful but flawed Mangusta came next, a big leap forward in power and speed. The Mangusta continued the trend of Ford power, this time with a 289 Small Block Ford V8 mounted behind the driver’s head. The Mangusta was undoubtedly fast and certainly beautiful, but it quickly gained a reputation for its rather unpredictable handling at speed.
After a brief but unsuccessful foray into Formula 1, DeTomaso unveiled its best sorted and well-built car to date. The Pantera was yet another mid-engined, Ford-powered supercar, this time using the big, thumping 351 Cleveland V8 and a robust ZF transaxle. The attractive body was penned by Tom Tjaarda at Carrozzeria Ghia and Alejandro DeTomaso struck a deal with Ford to sell his exotic machines through select Lincoln-Mercury dealers in the US. Over 6,000 units were built in Modena, 5,000 of which were sold in the USA until the oil crisis and internal politics at Ford ended the relationship in 1975.
Thankfully for car enthusiasts, Alejandro DeTomaso was a stubborn and driven man. After the Ford partnership dissolved, he purchased the ailing Maserati in 1976 and also continued to build Panteras in limited numbers. Over the years, the Pantera received several updates. From 1980, the Pantera GT5 was added to the lineup and featured bolted on fender flares and an aggressive body kit, imparting a road-racer look. Subsequent upgrades included bonded and fully integrated flares for a sleek and modern look. But the biggest changes were made after 1985 when the GT5-S received full steel flared fenders, mechanical upgrades such as larger brakes and wheels, and a beautifully luxurious interior. Essentially built to order, only 187 of these GT5-S Pantera’s were produced. Out of that total number, fewer than 50 found their way to American shores. Very few original GT5-S were officially imported by Amerisport. Amerisport cars were built in Italy, and shipped to the US where they received fully EPA approved 351 Cleveland engines. According to experts, only these cars can be considered true USA-spec Pantera GT5-S.
This 1988 Pantera GT5-S, S/N 111033, is one of those precious few Amerisport US market examples and is number 153 of 187 built. This is a highly original, two-owner example that has covered approximately 25,000 miles since new. This particular car was most recently owned by of one of the most respected experts in the DeTomaso world. He has a vast knowledge of these cars which he acquired via his years running MD Engineering, a Pantera specialist garage which he opened in the 1970’s. He has used Panteras for club racing, to set records at Bonneville and even to win the Cannonball Run. He was the second owner of #1110333, having purchased it from a good friend and client. He became acquainted with the car from very early on, having serviced it for the original owner on a regular basis before finally purchasing it from him in the 1990’s.
It is surely one of the best GT5-S Pantera’s available today. The pearlescent white paintwork is in lovely condition, showing few flaws and a fine depth of quality. Some minor paint work has been done, but to a very high level. Scarring on the tops of the quarter panels, a typical Pantera trouble spot, is nonexistent, showing this is a tight and solid example. Being a GT5-S, the dramatically flared wheel arches are all formed from steel, making the body stable and free from cracking and distortion.
The original 351 Cleveland and ZF Transaxle are still fitted and in excellent order. We are aware of an odometer discrepancy, as the incorrect speedometer drive was fitted at some point in the car’s life, causing it to read approximately 45% too quickly. While the odometer reads 46,000 miles, the car’s actual mileage is approximately half of that. A statement of the car’s true mileage will be included in the sale. Mechanically, it is in outstanding order. The suspension was refinished with urethane paint to protect it from corrosion and restore the factory finishes. Performance from the four-bolt main 351 Ford is outstanding – this car is good for 180 miles per hour, but thanks to the tall .705 ratio 5th gear, it will return 18 mpg when cruising at more legal speeds.
Another fine aspect of the GT5-S was the opulent interior. DeTomaso trimmed the cabins to a very high standard in fine grade leather and wood. The cabin was far superior to the early cars and certainly more comfortable than a contemporary Lamborghini. Quality wood trim provides a luxurious addition to the dash and door panels. The original instruments are in great order, as is the factory air conditioning and a period correct high end Kenwood stereo.
With its flared bodywork, big wing, dual exhaust and massive Technomagnesio magnesium alloy wheels, the Pantera is far from subtle, thankfully the performance lives up to the looks. This is a great alternative to the finicky and sometimes questionably built supercars from the same period. It offers exotic Ghia styling and excellent heritage paired with a reliable and easily serviced Ford powerplant. This is among the rarest and most desirable of all Panteras, with magnificent performance in a comfortable and quality package.
If you would like to own a De Tomaso Pantera, contact us today about our Consignment Program. Our experienced car specialists are here to help.