Lot Number
132

1973 De Tomaso Pantera L by Ghia

Sold For $145,600

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - NEW YORK - ICONS 2017


Chassis No.
THPNNR05756
  • Italian-American supercar—boldly marketed by the Ford Motor Company
  • Factory test car originally delivered to a Ford executive
  • Fewer than 13,000 actual miles; largely original
  • Exceptional, detailed preservation throughout
  • Offered with its original tires, tools, and luggage tray

No student of automotive history can deny Ford Motor Company president Lee Iacocca (the “father of the Mustang”) got things done the way that he wanted. He was a man who fostered bold new ideas and had the clout to turn them into reality. Among his wildest notions was that of a mid-engine supercar that could be sold by a Ford dealer, cooked into being with his great friend and former Argentinean racing driver Alejandro de Tomaso, in a storied collaboration with noted sports car designer Tom Tjaarda on behalf of respected Italian coachbuilder Ghia.

The resulting De Tomaso Pantera was built in Italy but sold largely through Lincoln-Mercury dealers in the United States with a full factory warranty. It combined the dead-reliable 351 Cleveland V-8 and American-style comforts—including power windows and air conditioning—with such European performance features as a ZF transaxle, power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes, and rack-and-pinion steering. Simply put, it was the best of all possible sports car worlds and it cost considerably less than a comparable Ferrari or Lamborghini.

Several different variations of the Pantera were produced over the years. The one that Americans instantly recognize is the second-generation Pantera L, or Lusso (“Luxury”), which incorporated several detail changes for the U.S. market. Most notably, the Pantera L was significantly better built than earlier examples, a fact recognized and lauded by the automotive press of the time.

Today, the Pantera is widely heralded as the improbable idea that both Detroit and Turin got right and as one of the definitive and instantly recognizable supercars of the decade that birthed the category.

THE EXECUTIVE’S PANTERA

According to its knowledgeable expert owner, the Pantera L offered here was a Ford Motor Company test car that was subsequently sold to an executive “out the back door.” It later spent many years with two collectors, the last of whom used it very sparingly and only in the summer, before it joined the consignor’s collection.

The car was found to be remarkably and impressively original, including its Pantera Orange finish, the factory interior down to the carpets (protected since new by sisal mats), and even the four original Goodyear Arriva tires. As one of the former owners had scuffed the front end and installed a GTS emblem where it did not belong, the decision was made to selectively repaint the nose and front lid; however, such was the fine condition of the original paint that the new finish blends seamlessly. Similarly, a former owner still had the perfect set of original Campagnolo wheels that had come on the car still in his garage; a deal was made and they were refitted to the car, virtually new.

The consignor sorted the car mechanically, including re-sleeving the original brake master cylinder and rebuilding the brake calipers and clutch cylinders, while choosing to leave in place the Edelbrock intake and Holley carburetor installed by the original Ford executive owner. Ron Davis Radiators produced a new aluminum radiator, a faithful duplicate to replace the original, along with a new aluminum water pump to ensure cool running, plus fresh hoses and belts for turnkey reliability. Period Ziebart undercoating and winter storage from new had protected the undercarriage, although the current owner elected to remove the Ziebart application and duplicate its original factory-style satin black finish in the refreshed engine bay.

Accompanying the car are its set of original Arriva tires, a factory tool kit, original books and manuals, spare tire, air canister, and luggage tray.

Still with fewer than 13,000 actual miles, this car perfectly balances superb, well-maintained originality with the subtle late-model improvements knowledgeable Pantera owners expect and respect. It can confidently lay claim as one of the most original of its kind and one of the few that will allow a new owner to experience that same magic conjured by the revolutionary new idea available at your local Lincoln-Mercury dealer in 1973.



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