The Pantera was built by Automobili Detomaso of Modena in Italy. It combined fantastic styling and exhilarating performance with high specification V8 engines from Ford in the US.
The original design was undertaken in the late 1960’s but the cars were manufactured between 1971 and 1995. Over that long period a number of styling and model changes occurred but the longevity proves the soundness of the original design concept. Less than 200 are believed to exist in Australia.
The engine was a 351 Cleveland 4V, with the Cobra Jet version of this familiar unit. Interestingly when Ford stopped producing Cleveland engine blocks in the US in the early 1970’s, Ford Australia became the source of these castings for Detomaso. So some of the more recent Panteras have engines that were made in Australia. A small number were delivered to Australia without engines and the complete power unit was fitted locally by the importer.
The engine is mid mounted to give a near ideal weight distribution, with a ZF transaxle in the rear. Strictly a 2 seat car, but with room in the luggage compartment (the front bonnet) for a couple of soft overnight bags
A number of other Detomaso models exist in Australia, all of which are very rare. These include the mid engined Mangusta, the Longchamp and the Deauville (both front engined). A very small number of RHD soft top Longchamps were made by the factory, but there are less than 10 in Australia.