Ford Motor Company, Shelby and De Tomaso of Italy worked together in the sixties on Ford-powered mid-engine performance cars. The result of this engineering cooperation was the highly competitive Mangusta. In 1970, a refined and much improved version of this car made its debut at the New York Coliseum Auto Show, April 4, 1970 as the Pantera.
The car was very fast, being powered by a greatly-modified Ford 351 Cubic Inch, 4 barrel V-8 linked to a ZF 5 speed transmission. The 0-60 m.p.h. was under 5 seconds. Depending on the gearing, the top end was over 165 m.p.h. One of the early test drivers of this car stated, "You can drive around ants on the freeway at 80 m.p.h." regarding the superior handling characteristics. Another reporter wrote that "This car would leave most American muscle car owners with their necks wound up like rubber band airplane motors," after driving the Pantera.
The Pantera was a bargain basement Ferrari and Lamborghini killer and remains so even today. The original Pantera was priced at $9,000.00 while the Ferrari and Lamborghini were priced at over $25,000.
The car was sold in the U.S. through the Ford Dealer Network from 1970 to 1974. The safety and emission regulations introduced after 1974 signaled the end of the U.S. sales, but continued in Europe. According to the records, only 5629 Panteras were built between 1970 and 1974 with only some of these coming to the U.S.
The cars are rare today and are very much in demand by both the car enthusiasts who want exceptional performance as well as the experienced investors. The cars are very much under priced, with good cars costing just under $35,000.00. The investors expect these cars to double in value over the next few years. Top-notch from-the-ground-up, body off restored cars have already sold in the $55,000.00 to $60,000.00 range.
The Pantera is clearly one of the best investments as well as one of the fastest cars available today regardless of the price or vintage.