Though to drive and to own some of its products were as unstable as the firm's financial affairs, to look at they were nearly always a pleasure. Consider the Giugiario-designed Vallelunga and Mangusta - both stunning, by the standards of their times - and even the later Deauville and Longchamp were not without their charms.
It was designed by Tom Tjaarda, then at Ghia, and the body surmounted a Dallara-designed monocoque that featured double wishbones and all-independent suspension. There was a five-speed ZF transaxle in there, too, and, mid-mounted, a 330hp all-iron 5.8-litre Ford Cleveland pushrod V8, similar to what you might have found in a tarted-up Mustang or a Torino. Think 0 to 60mph in 5.5 seconds, and 170mph flat out.
This is a relatively early 1974 example from the US, where Panteras were sold through Ford's Lincoln Mercury dealers, the American giant at that time owning a considerable stake in De Tomaso. Refurbished and refreshed, with a full service and a health check, you might think it worth a punt.
All this might be worth it, though, when the sun is high and the blood is bubbling and you find the right road snaking ahead of you - those that have driven Panteras certainly seem to like them. Be warned, though - Elvis had one, and he was so frustrated with his he shot it.
SPECIFICATION - DE TOMASO PANTERA
Engine: 5,752cc, V8
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 330@N/A rpm
Torque (lb ft): 325@N/A rpm
MPG: Good one
First registered: 1974
Price new: N/A
Price now: £109,900
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