Ever heard of a De Tomaso Pantera?

It was one of my dream cars growing up; I had a poster of this beauty on the wall alongside the Lamborghini Countach LP5000.

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I guess I liked the name De Tomaso and that it was one of the few truly exotic muscle cars, especially when it carried the GT5-S badge.

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This was a seriously aggressive looking supercar, which not only looked the part with its quad exhaust tips and massively wide 345/35 rubber down the back, but its V8 burble was loud enough to silence any other performance car of the day.

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Powered by a naturally aspirated 5.8 litre engine producing 224kW and 451Nm, the DeTomaso GT5-S could run 0-100km/h in 5.4 seconds and had a top speed of 265km/h. It also had as much if not more cachet as any Porsche, Ferrari or Maserati at the time.

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Alejandro De Tomaso was born in Buenos Aires in 1928 and arrived in Modena Italy, at age twenty-seven with the sole purpose of racing a Maserati. He also drove for the Italian constructor Officine Specializzate Costruzioni Automobili – Fratelli Maserati SpA or OSCA as it was known, for the following three seasons.

But bigger things were ahead of the young Argentinian, and in 1959 he formed De Tomaso Modena SpA in Alberato, a suburb of Modena and a stone’s throw away from Ferrari’s front gate.

Not only did De Tomaso continue to build his supercars for over thirty years, but in 1970 he built a Formula One car for Frank Williams, which not only failed to finish the first four races, but killed driver Piers Courage.

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Its worth noting that the gifted Australian race driver, Tim Schenken drove the De Tomaso 505 car, powered by a Cosworth V8 in four Formula One races during 1970, when he replaced another driver, Brian Redman.  It seems that no Formula One driver could do any good in the 505, as Tim went on to start in thirty-six F1 races, and scored a total of seven championship points.

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De Tomaso introduced the wide body GT5 in 1980 with much better brakes, huge tyres and a luxurious interior, which would rival or better any Maserati cockpit of that time.

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Also added, was a fibreglass body kit, which included an air dam, wheel flares, and running boards, which made the car look even better, if that was possible.

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The GT5-S was practically the same car as the GT5 but with one exception, the “S” in the GT5-S stood for steel and that meant single piece flared steel guards and front air dam.

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In good condition, the GTS-5 will fetch a tidy sum these days with just 183 GT5-S Panteras ever built.

Even rarer, is the Pantera 90 Si model introduced in 1990, with only 38 of these cars produced before it was phased out in 1993 to make way for the carbon fibre bodied Guara.

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That was a shame really, as the 90 Si was a Marcello Gandini designed facelift, which included a partial suspension and chassis redesign and looked superb.

Panteras had their day on the big screen too, when no less than four of these cars appeared in the Hollywood hit Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977) and a yellow GTS featured in the original film Gone in 60 seconds (1974).

Sadly, De Tomaso went into voluntary liquidation in 2004, after a deal with a Russian company to build off-road vehicles in Calabria, never quite got off the ground.

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Not to worry, the poster of the De Tomaso GT5-S is still hanging, albeit on a different wall.




  • KC

    I suppose its wrong to ignore the history and power of the car and stare at how comfy those white seats look.

  • Bavarian Missile (.)(.)

    Of course it was a tough car car it had a Cleveland in it ;)

  • http://caradvice Lexusboi

    SWEET!

  • swampdawg

    My boss had one, amongst about five other fast items, i think it was secretly his favorite as was NEVER in our way like some of the others we had to move, and then drive round the block etc.

  • Pious

    I can remember these from when I was a teenager. One of my dad’s mates had one, had it worked and immediately jumped a median strip and wrapped it around a pole (what a pillock!). Off the road for months, but what a beautiful car. I had been told they were made by Ford, but I take it that this was only the engine.

  • Bret

    It would also be wrong not ot give credit to who built the engines: FORD AUSTRALIA

  • Dlr1

    ahh yes Falcon GT muscle in a fine Italian suit.

  • Frontman

    What no photo’s of Leannne Ecclestons one with the leopard print seats????
    Mind you I always thought these were great

  • Bavarian Missile (.)(.)

    p leeeeeeeeeease Frontman ,Im trying to think of what to cook for tea here,youve just put me off food….blahhhh ;)

  • http://skyline The Salesman

    Before driving one you will need a three day growth cut in. Red t shirt white sports jacket and slacks. On the stereo is the sound track to Farris Bulers day off. Seriously though they were very futuristic for their time. I can see many design que’s still used today. Love the rolled out rear guards. I bet it still turns heads.

  • Frontman

    Whats more BM, Leannes was hot pink (by memory ;-))
    Salesman, in the originals, you couldn’t have Buelers Day off as that isn’t available on eight track, however Umamguma, Darkside of the Moon, Crime of the Century and The Song Remains the Same were extremely popular. As was Lygon Street :-)

  • Bavarian Missile (.)(.)

    Ok just for you Frontman………..how to wreck a perfectly good car……….

    http://www.geoffedelsten.com.a…..Leanne.jpg

  • http://skyline The Salesman- Gotta get back in time…….

    Sorry Frontman. In 1985 i was 7. I have no idea who those bands are, except dark side of the moon. So i took a guess.

  • Frontman

    Plaese note I suffer old timers, it’s actually Edelsten for all the youngters

  • Reckless1

    5.8 litre engine producing 224kW and 451Nm…….

    Just to compare with today’s machinery, you get that from 2.0l, admittedly with a turbo..

    But I remember these, always lusted after one like any enthusiast, but couldn’t afford one of course.

  • Wheelnut

    I’d have a DeTomaso Pantera over the Ferrari 288 GTO..

    It looks like a slightly smaller Lamborghini Countach – which IMHO is a better looking than the Fezza

    • David

      No way. The 288 GTO is in a different league. But I still love the Pantera.

  • http://pirelli topdog

    My mate use to have one of these and it was awsome car and the best thing about it because it was powered by ford it was cheap and ezzy to work on the motor, no need for specical work shop with huge mark up on price to work on the motor at least

  • Rob

    They were a great looking car, remembered fondly from my younger days. I especially remember Rusty French racing his black one at sandown, awesome looking and sounding car. From memory the last panteras actually had Australian built clevelands in them, Ford were using aussie built clevelands in auto XB GT’s, my father had one!

  • Road Warrior

    How come the reviewer makes no mention of the Pantera’s Aussie made powerplant?

  • Rob

    actually, i may be wrong about the Pantera using the aussie built engine, it may have been the later Mangusta that used this engine.

  • Rob

    actually, i was right the first time, they used aussie built engines during the 80′s until ford ran out in 87, the yanks had pulled out of the deal with De Tomaso. apparently the aussie engines were a stronger block than the u.s. built units and were used by a number of nascar teams

  • Bavarian Missile (.)(.)

    Rob, Clevelands were used in XWs XYs and XAs they were 4Vs in the GTs from memory the XB GTs were 2Vs………

    Also the Pantera did used a Cleveland not sure if it was ex Australia or US though……….

  • Bavarian Missile (.)(.)

    In 1972 they went over to 4 bolt blocks so Im guessing they probably came from here………….seeing the yanks stopped making Cleveland in 74 ………..

  • Rob

    Bavarian, yeah i am aware of clevelands being in all those GT’s, i come from the era of the ho’s. Vivid memories of a bunch of ho’s thundering down sandowns main straight, echoing through the grandstand, there has never been a better sound!!!! My old man traded his XY GT on an XB, the XB was a lot more comfortable but lacked the hard edge of the XY. i checked out about the aussie built engines, apparently the blocks had thicker main webbing, which is what made them popular with the nascar guys.

  • Bavarian Missile (.)(.)

    Yeah me too Rob I was about 6 when the XY came out {god that gave my age away}.My XA GT Coupe had a nascar 4 bolt block with chrome molly sleeves ,not from factory of course but when he went from normally aspirated to blown . Cost wise they are worth 4 times the value of the standard Cleveland block………

    Agree about the XYs though,my ex husband had a few Ive stuck with the XAs, although did have a XB GT 4 door for a while ……..

    Wonder where the castings for those blocks are now ??

  • http://www.pantera.ch Th. Moser

    Great Website from Switzerland of De Tomaso Pantera (2500 Pictures) ;-))!

    Best Regards

  • http://www.pantera.ch Th. Moser

    Great Website from Switzerland of De Tomaso Pantera (2500 Pictures) :-)!!

    Best Regards

  • Mark C

    Great story and photos. I especially like the last one of the white 1983 Pantera GT5 since it is one of my photos. It looks even better in colour. It isn’t my Pantera (it’s a friend’s), although I have one as well and they are fantastic cars for the money. Awesome looks, performance, sound and handling. Cheap to maintain and repair and the owner community is just about the best out there.

    Mark

  • http://www.jointhe100.com/ Supercar Club

    Top pictures. Can’t beat old school supercars!

  • Sam-R

    When I was a mechanic I had the priveledge of working on 2 of these beasts (not the GT5 version). I say beasts because of the raw grunt they have. Totally old school, no power assist in anything. Nothing I’ve driven came close to the bone jarring power these put out, (Ferrari’s, Porsche’s, Masserati’s) I’m not saying they are more powerful or faster than todays cars just that you felt everything. Its the only car that I genuinley felt like vomitting after driving it hard. Its hard to describe the acceleration other than saying the speedo followed the accelerator pedal and be careful not to back off the throttle too quickly because the engine braking slows the car almost as quickly as hitting the brakes. A truly classic car to drive and I love em! Spewing I didn’t have $20K back in 1982 when I saw one sitting in a car yard!!!

  • http://www.caradvice.com Macs for me

    It was & still is a great looking car, I remember reading somewhere many many years ago & they claimed in this article that the Pantera was actually going to be the Mach 2 Mustang, however Ford got cold feet, thinking the design was too radical at the time for a Mustang.

    I dont know if this is true or not, but makes for a good story. I also seem to remember that at one stage they also used an Australian made BW tranny.