Reader Submissions: This De Tomaso Pantera Makes Anywhere Better

This De Tomaso Pantera Makes Anywhere Better

By Petrolicious Productions
May 21, 2014

Owner: Jeff Connelly

Year, Make, and Model: 1972 De Tomaso Pantera

Location: Ventura, California

Photographer: Jeff Law

The Pantera is nothing if not flamboyant. It’s rock-and-roll on wheels! And it was born the same year and month I was. Handling…ok. Brakes…well, barely. However, it’s got both torque and animal magnetism to spare, enough for a fleet of 308s.

After looking for years in the usual places, an ad for this car turned up on an enthusiast site on a Friday afternoon. A brief conversation with the owner was enough for me to take a red eye to Detroit, rent a Lincoln (I’m not some barbarian), drive to Traverse City (only one speeding ticket), view the car, buy the car, race back to Detroit to catch the evening flight. I was home in time for breakfast, owner of a new Pantera. The car was off the internet within eight hours of being posted. Of course I brought a dispassionate inspector with me, someone who has no problem walking away from a car (I think he likes it actually). But even he was excited.

Ultimately, I bought this particular Pantera because of its originality, long term ownership and obvious care the car received. I’m the third owner. I bought it from a retired Ford engineer crucial in the 351 Cleveland project who himself purchased the car in 1973. I’m told the original owner was Edsel Ford Jr.

Mechanically the car is interesting, unique and original, all at once. The Ford engineer (second owner) was using the car as somewhat of a test mule for Ford performance parts. The engine actually uses Boss heads and a custom intake built by Ford that never went into production.

Overall, the car is very original including paint and interior. It required the normal Pantera things when I bought it; steering rack bushings, tie rod ends and ball joints, rear wheel bearings, a rear main seal (Clevelands are notorious for leaks due to the large main seal diameter), clutch, etc. While we had the car apart, we removed the dash and had it re-glued (not re-covered). The suspension bushings were changed on all corners and the brakes rebuilt as well. Finally, I had the AC converted to R134 the right way with evaporator, compressor, condenser and hoses for R134. I realize the AC compromises originality a bit but the cars are unbearably hot otherwise.

While I don’t come from a car crazy family, I was obsessed with wheeled transport from my earliest memory. Not being a mechanic myself, it helps that I work with enthusiasts who know good cars from bad and how to get things done.

Unfortunately, my demanding work schedule doesn’t allow time for the trips I would otherwise make, but let me tell you, driving the car anywhere makes anywhere a hell of a lot better!

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Arvind KumarAnkitSainimilena glenJohn RothPatrick Meyer Recent comment authors
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Arvind Kumar

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This is very fantastic I am very happy to see it

milena glen
milena glen

The cockpit in this type of car becomes especially warm during the daytime, as the huge sloping windscreen allows the sunlight to penetrate freely into the entire body of the passenger, as well as serve as a giant hot plate. Just beware.
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Patrick Meyer
Patrick Meyer

Arguably the most beautiful rear 3/4 view of any car.

Stephen Fitzgerald

What I really love, besides the gorgeous car, is the tiny head popping out of the passenger seat in the big pic. That is one lucky kid. I took a shot of my car a while back and later noticed that my kid was also photo bombing the shot from the back seat.

John Roth
John Roth

I’ll say lucky kid. At 10, he’s driven in a Pantera, a Lamborghini and a Ferrari. Next time we see a kid admiring our cars, encourage him (her). They are the future of the hobby.


One of the only things that make me proud about Argentina

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle

I got to see a Pantera up close at the hershey car show and i was amazed at just how low to the ground this cars really were. I’m not a big guy by any measure as well so when i seen how low it was i was blown away. The great thing about the Pantera was you got exotic Italian looks and style but with a cheap reliable easy to maintain Ford v8. The Pantera also had a decent price tag as well you know a run of the mill vette was about 6 grand and a super exotic… Read more »