The DeTomaso Pantera story is a long one, but we'll give you the condensed version. Argentina-born Alejandro DeTomaso ventured to Italy to work on Maserati race cars and quickly found himself in the driver seat. That's where he got the inspiration to found his own company called DeTomaso Automobili in 1959.
He loved American V-8s and Italian mid-engine sports cars. This would prove to be a brilliant recipe. He went to GM and Ford to see if they had any interest in working with him on a car. Ford bit, so they went straight to work on the Pantera project, which went from design to production in eleven months, a time frame unheard of. DeTomaso ended up feeling like more of an employee than a partner, so he decided to sell his share to Ford in 1973. Through Ford's '74 downsizing, they sold the entire company to DeTomaso and he regained control.
The funny thing about the Pantera is that its history is very hard to trace. The numbering system was often misleading, making it really challenging for collectors to know exactly what they were getting. The upside of this was that all original cars weren't any more valuable than cleanly modified cars. This helped Gary Walker, owner of this '71 Pantera, to go ahead and let loose and modify without guilt. The car seemed to have been modified by Hall Pantera back in the '70s with a widened stance. This company would have been to Pantera as Yenko is to Camaro.
Gary didn't want this to be a simple buff-and-tune restoration. He stripped the car down and had it soda blasted. Unfortunately, this process didn't remove enough of the rust for Gary's taste, so he spent the next three months going over the car with a hobby-sized sand blaster.
The style of this car has a huge impact on its appeal, but so does the big American V-8 power under the back glass. He had Tim Meyer of Fairmount, Maryland, build him a de-stroked 351M. He has put a few 460s in, but their long dimensions forced the axles to be at a less-than-desirable angle.
Even with all the meticulous details and bare metal bodywork, this was meant to be a race car. Gary has been working on the project for three years now and is about to put the paint on and start assembly.
By The Numbers
1971 Ford Pantera
Gary Walker * Elberfeld, IN
494 hp and 534 lb-ft of torque
|Type: ||Ford 351M |
|Rotating assembly: ||Keith Black |
| ||zero-deck 38cc pistons |
|Cylinder heads: ||CHI 3V aluminum heads |
| ||for 10.5:1 compression |
|Camshaft: ||Crane hydraulic roller |
| ||216/224 degrees duration |
| ||at 0.050-inch lift |
|Induction: ||CHI aluminum intake, |
| ||750-cfm Demon carb |
|Ignition: ||MSD 6AL |
|Cooling: ||Lay down aluminum radiator |
| ||from Pantera International Motorsports |
|Body: ||fender flares |
|Transmission/shifter: ||ZF-2 transaxle |
|Brakes: ||Wilwood |
|Wheels: ||Campy original 15-inch |
| ||Group 4 racing wheels |