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1972 DeTomaso Pantera L : Classic Cars

One of the more prominent American-Italian hybrids is the Detomaso Pantera. With a mix of Italian styling a cast-iron American V8, the car had appeal on both sides of the pond. It was unlikely result of Lee Iacocca and Alessandro de Tomaso coming together to produce a version of the AMX/3 that would put Ford back in the exotic car market.

The design that de Tomaso envisioned was worked out by Dallara with a possible production of 5000 cars a year. The car included all the right ingredients including a double wishbone suspension, disc brakes, rack & pinion steering and most importantly a 351 Cleveland V8.

Body Designer Tom Tjaarda describes his choice for the car's lines: “When I was working on this car, I wanted to make sure that when you saw the design, you were certain where the engine was placed and where the power was coming from. That's why I gave it a powerful haunch look, an animal with strong shoulders.” Inside he increased overall space over the Mangusta: “with a much larger seating position, the roof was raised and the windshield given a less steep angle.”

Once the design was finalized, production of the bodies actually commenced from at Vignale and when completed they were shipped to de Tomaso in Modena for installation of the suspension and drive line.

The first cars were presented to the press in March of 1970 and the car was available from Lincoln-Mercury dealers in the states in May of 1971. Not long afterward, a recall was issued for strengthened rear sub frames, updated air conditioning and fiberglass fuel tanks. In 1971 Road and Track described the car as “Exciting-but not a finished product.” De Tomaso himself argued that an exotic car couldn't be delivered to corporate engineering standards, at least not for $10,000 USD a unit.

In 1973 the model was replaced the Pantera L which had less power and larger rubber bumpers.

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Sources : 1972 DeTomaso Pantera L Photo | 1972 DeTomaso Pantera L Article


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