Silverstone Classic Sale 2018

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1972 De Tomaso Pantera 'Pre-L'

Lot No.: 506

Registration: JKH 613L
Chassis Number: THPNML04355
Engine Number: 03321
Number of cylinders: 8
CC: 5766cc
Year of Manufacture: 1972
RHD/LHD: Left Hand Drive
Estimate (£): 56,000 - 66,000
(+buyer's premium of 15% including VAT @ 20%)

A classic mix of Italian style and American muscle restored to a very high standard...

  • Built in 1972, one of the final pre-Federal bumper Panteras, known as the 'Pre-L'
  • Imported into New Zealand from California and restored between 1995 and 2013
  • Acid-dipped shell resprayed in original Grabber Blue and refurbished Campagnolo wheels
  • The Ford 5.8ltr V8 Cleveland engine, gearbox and the ZF transaxle were rebuilt
  • The car featured on the front page of a New Zealand Classic Car Magazine in 2016
  • Presented to auction with a UK V5C, 82,000 miles on the odometer, and an MOT until October 2018

De Tomaso's replacement for their successful Mangusta in 1971 was the avant-garde and stylish Pantera. Retaining the best of the ingredients from the Mangusta, including the mid-mounted 300 horsepower Ford 351 cubic inch V8 Cleveland engine, five-speed ZF transaxle and dramatic styling, the Pantera also added monocoque construction into the mix.

The cars sold well, with production running from 1971 through to the early 90s with various derivatives emerging from the factory, although it is the early cars that have that certain purity of line ensuring that they remain the most attractive and collectable.

Stricter regulations introduced in the United States relating to crash-impact bumpers saw hideously large rubber bumpers being bolted on to all imported European cars, in almost all cases ruining the lines. Happily, this left-hand drive Pantera was built before the regulations were enforced and looks all the better for it.

Found in California in a sorry state in the mid-1990s by classic car collector Chris Wilson of New Zealand, the car was gradually restored to an impressive standard for most of the ensuing decade. After an extensive search for the best metal-shop, Matama Panelworks were contracted to carefully disassemble the car and acid-dip the shell. After some minor correction to the metal work, the car was re-sprayed in its original colour of Grabber Blue. The engine was stripped, the cylinders were honed, a 650 Cfm dual-feed Holley carburettor was fitted along with custom Hall big-bore exhaust headers, and the engine was balanced to ensure smooth running at peak revs, before finally being mated to the rebuilt manual five-speed gearbox.

The ZF transaxle was stripped and found to be in great order, requiring only gaskets and seals before reassembly. The suspension was fitted with new bushes and QA1 adjustable shock absorbers. The original dashboard and instruments were cleaned and polished and re-fitted. The vinyl seat coverings were replaced with leather, as were the door cards. Refurbished, period-correct, Campagnolo alloys were finally fitted, and the car presents today in absolutely superb order. To this consignor's eye, a Pantera purist may wish to re-attach the chrome bumper strips but the lines remain very clean without them. The car featured on the front cover, and in a multi-page write-up, in Issue 278 of New Zealand Classic Car Magazine in 2016, and the link below details the car's story and the photographs show the incredible depth of this superb restoration.

Presented to auction with an odometer reading of 82,000 miles, largely immaterial in such a well-restored example, the car has a UK V5C under registration number JKH 613L and an MOT valid until October 2019. With the Pantera's contemporaries, the Countach and Ferrari 365 BB currently achieving huge sums, this car offers exotic Italian styling with true American grunt at a fraction of the price. The car is available for pre-sale viewing in Northampton.

The Pantera is offered with an extensive list of original and new parts that include a rear boot tub, front and rear bumpers, four new Toyo Tires (front and rear), and some fifteen boxes containing other parts. A full list is available.

To read the car's restoration story as featured in New Zeland Classic Car Magazine in 2016, please click on this link: http://www.themotorhood.com/themotorhood/2016/3/23/blue-panther

A special thank you and photocredit to Motorhood/New Zeland Classic Car Magazine.